Growing up, we would make New Year’s Pretzels and give them to friends and neighbors to celebrate the new year. The dough is straight forward and easy to make. The fun comes when rolling the dough and making a pretzel. We had one of our nephews helping to make them this year. Its a great activity for the family as everyone can make their pretzel a little different.
New Years Pretzel Dough
1 package (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 deg F)
2/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup melter butter
1 cup lukewarm mashed potatoes
7 to 7/12 cups flour
1 cup confection sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
To start, zap the water for about a minute in the microwave so that it is warm to the touch, about 110 degrees F. Add in the yeast and whisk slightly to dissolve the yeast. Add the water/yeast mixture to your mixing bowl and add the next 5 ingredients mixing as you go. Using mashed potatoes helps to make the dough firm and moist. Then, add in about 5 cups of flour. Switch to a dough hook and add the remaining flour and knead with the dough hook or by hand for about 5 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover tightly and refrigerate for 4 to 12 hours.
When you are ready to make the pretzels, cut the dough into 4 to 6 pieces depending on how big you want each pretzel. I did 6 for this one and was able to make each about 12″ in diameter. You will need a wide space to start rolling out the dough. You need only a little flour as too much flour will cause the dough to slide on your work surface and it will be hard to roll.
Roll one piece until it is 36″ to 48″ long and abut 3/4 to 1″ in diameter.
I’ve discovered you always have to make it longer than you think and don’t forget the dough will increase in diameter by 2 to 3 times, so if it looks thin, that’s OK.
Place the center portion on a greased tray
and then flip the two ends once twice and then attach the ends on the sides of the big loop.
Next we have to let the pretzel rise in a warm space with lots of humidity. I like to warm the oven slightly (around 100 deg F) and place a jelly roll pan in the bottom with a cup or two of boiling water to keep the humidity nice and high in the oven. Perfect! Let the pretzels rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You can see in the photo above how much the diameter increased. Then bake at 400 degrees (375 convection) for 9 to 11 minutes, just until the crust is a golden brown.
Cool on wire racks.
Mix up the icing so that it is firm and not too runny. I like to use a pastry bag or zip lock bag with a corner cut off, to decorate the pretzel with the year and what ever else you want to write – this is your pretzel! The ones you get in the stores typically coat the entire top with icing, if you like icing, that’s a good way to go. Me- I like to eat them with a little butter. Ymmm…
There is nothing like some tasty New Year Pretzel to start the new year.
Beats the cold outside every time.