It was pretty easy overall. The kit included pretzel mix, pretzel salt and yeast. After melting butter and combining it with water, I added the yeast and stirred until dissolved. Then I added the pretzel mix and combined it.
Next came the fun part - kneading the dough! The instructions suggested lightly oiling your hands.
"What kind of oil?" I wondered. "Olive Oil? Sure!"
So after oiling up my hands, I kneaded the dough for three minutes. Then I set it in a bowl and covered it with a towel, and left it for a half hour to rise.
In retrospect, I think they wanted me to use a more airtight cover. Oops - that probably explains why the dough didn't rise very much!
Not much bigger.
After a half hour, I pre-heated the oven to 450 and set about rolling out the pretzels. I divided the dough into five sections and rolled it into 24-inch long sections. This. Took. Awhile. The ropes of dough kept falling apart, and it took forever to get them long enough. I have a newfound respect for the pretzel-makers at Auntie Anne's!
Anyway, eventually I ended up with four conventional pretzels and one twisty-log-pretzel. I used a "baking soda bath" to make them extra dark - basically I boiled a pot of water and baking soda and dipped each pretzel in it for 30 seconds.
splish-splash pretzel's taking a bath...
Then I brushed each pretzel with egg yolk...
...and sprinkled them with salt.
Then it was time to bake!
bon voyage, little pretzels!
After 12 minutes, the pretzels were a nice golden brown. And boy, were they delicious! Really soft and not too salty. I ate them plain and they were plenty flavorful!
Next time, I think I'd like to try making these from scratch and experiment with other flavors - like cinnamon sugar and jalapeno. Hmm maybe I need to create a baking "to-do" list....