by Millie Bentley
Greetings. What a weekend of basketball throughout the delta. I hope everyone enjoyed cheering for their teams and got home safely. Here’s a treat that you can make for your ball players. This recipe is delicious and loved by kids and adults alike. Nancy Grant of Chickadee B&B fame in Anchorage shared this recipe with us back in 1998 and you can make them in your own kitchen. It’s not the same as the ones you get at the tournament concessions, but they are just as good!
Nancy’s Soft Pretzels
2 packages yeast
¼ cup warm water
1 quart milk
¾ cup soft shortening
½ cup sugar
12 cups flour (yes, 12)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ tablespoons table salt
2 tablespoons household lye, optional
2 quarts water, optional
3 tablespoons coarse salt
Pam or paraffin
Soften yeast in water. Scald milk; stir in sugar and shortening until shortening is melted. Pour milk mixture into a very large bowl and cool to lukewarm. Add softened yeast with 6 cups of the flour and stir until smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm place until light and bubbly (about 30 minutes). Sift remaining 6 cups flour with baking powder and table salt. Stir down risen dough and gradually beat in remaining flour mixture until dough is blended. Knead. Fold over and let rise in greased bowl until doubled in bulk, about 1 ½ hours.
Punch dough down; divide into 6 equal pieces and let rest 10 minutes. Now divide each piece into 10 equal pieces. Using greased palms of hands, roll each into a strand ½ inches in diameter and 18 inches long. Twist into a pretzel shape, tucking ends in. Cover shaped pretzels lightly with waxed paper. When all pretzels (60) are shaped, the first ones will have risen.
Optional procedure: Put 2 quarts water into a non-aluminum pot; add lye and stir with wooden spoon. Heat to steaming, not boiling. Place pretzels, one at a time, on a slotted spatula (non-aluminum); lower pretzel completely into water for 1 or 2 seconds. Remove and drain in same spatula; place right side up on greased cookie sheet. When sheet is full, sprinkle pretzels with coarse salt and bake 15 minutes in a preheated 400˚F oven.
Continue until all pretzels are done. If pretzels are to be frozen, do not add salt before baking. Instead, when ready to use, place on a greased cookie sheet, brush tops with beaten egg, sprinkle with salt and place in 350˚F oven until pretzels are warm. Yum!
I guarantee you’ll love these and others will never taste as good. Thanks, Nancy. Until next week amigos, vaya con Dios.