My friend Dayna makes amazing pretzels. My sister and brother-in-law love pretzels. So when they welcomed their new baby, Oliver, to the family a few weeks ago, Dayna dreamed up the perfect celebratory treat: the words "hello ollie" written in swooping, cursive pretzel. (As you can see in the phone shot below, my nephew Max turns out to be a big pretzel fan too.)
The pretzel-writing process turns out to be surprisingly uncomplicated and so, for our second video, Dayna and I decided to shoot a little how-to that'll help you get your pretzel-writing on! In just two minutes, you'll see Dayna walk you through the whole process, from prepping the ingredients to devouring the final results (I, meanwhile, am behind the camera, recording the action and sampling a pretzel or two). Hope you enjoy it!
Now, if you want a bit more instruction, here are the key steps:
- Prep a big batch of soft pretzel dough, making it a little more moist than called for (it should be a bit sticky to the touch).
- After the dough has risen once, punch it down and divide it into smaller balls. Roll each ball into a super-skinny pretzel rope (you'll see in the video!). Cut the ropes as necessary, so they aren't falling off of your counter or table.
- Now it's time to write! Drop a piece of parchment paper on your baking sheet and either freehand it or follow a printed template that you've slipped under the parchment.
- Pretzels get their soft, golden crust from a baking soda and water solution (your recipe should give you ratios). If you want to fully submerge your pretzels in the solution, as we did, spell using a number of smaller, easy-to-handle pieces of dough and reassemble the word as you go. If you're simply brushing the solution onto the pretzels with a pastry brush, no need to cut – you can spell from a single, uncut rope.
- Sprinkle with salt, remove the template (if you used one), and bake as directed.
- As soon as the pretzels are out of the oven, brush them with a bit of melted butter. Eat as soon as they're cool enough to handle.
- Keep creating words (or classic pretzels) until all of your dough has disappeared.