Maker Monday: Kids can make easy soft pretzels (and practice math along the way)
This week’s Maker Monday project — making homemade soft pretzels — involves large and small muscle skills, a bit of creativity and using some basic math skills for measuring. And when the learning and creating is all finished, kids are left with a delicious homemade treat to share with family members.
As with all Maker Monday projects, kids can do this with items you may have around the house or can pick up at a dollar store or grocery store. Just follow the step-by-step instructions below. A note to kid makers: Please work with a parent or caregiver on this Maker Monday project, because a grownup is needed for supervising and handling the hot stuff. But kids can do the rest with adult supervision.
Maker Monday materials:
- 1 package dry yeast
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 4-5 cups flour
- coarse kosher salt
- baking soda
Maker Monday instructions:
Step 1: In a large bowl, mix the yeast with 1/8 cup of hot — but not boiling — water until dissolved. Then stir in the brown sugar and 1 and 1/3 cups warm water. Next, slowly add the flour, one cup at a time, to the mixture. As it begins to thicken, keep mixing by hand, working all the ingredients in. Kids love this part!
Step 2: Keep mixing until the dough is smooth and it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
Step 3: Take the dough out of the bowl and put it on a floured surface. Knead the dough with your hands. (Depending on how many kids are involved, break the dough up so everybody has a piece to work. Keep pounding and turning it until the dough is stretchy and smooth.
Step 4: Break the dough into about 20 pieces to be worked and formed into individual pretzels. They can be twisted in the classic pretzel shape or kids can form them into letters or other shapes, or bite-size pretzel balls. Get creative!
Step 5: Once the pretzels are formed, grease two cookie sheets and sprinkle the sheets with a bit of the coarse kosher salt. Also, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Then heat a large pan of water, mixing in 1 tablespoon of baking soda for each cup of water.
Step 6: Once the water begins to gently boil, lower each pretzel into the boiling water with a slotted spoon or spatula. Let the pretzels cook for 30 seconds each, then remove each one and place it on the greased, salted cookie sheet. You will need to boil multiple batches to include all the pretzels.
Step 7: Once all of the boiled pretzels are on the cookie sheets, sprinkle the tops of the pretzels with more salt.
Step 8: Bake in your preheated oven at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.