Everything You Need to Make Your Own Pretzels
October is many things—the beginning of fall, the time of Halloween—but did you know it's also National Pretzel Month? The popular, salty snack has a history that dates back at least 1500 years, and, according to legend, was invented by a European monk who seemed to think it was funny to give students twisted breads that resembled crossed arms.
That's probably not true, but what is true is that you, yes you, can make delicious pretzels of your own. Food & Wine has plenty of tips and recipes on how to do it, so here's everything you'll need to twist up the snack of the month.
Active Dry Yeast
To get the right rise, you'll need the right kind of yeast. Instead of from instant/quick-rise, stick with active dry yeast, and it'll be worth the wait.
Bioreal Organic Active Dry Yeast, $7 on Amazon.com
Stand Mixer with Dough Hook
To really get that dough mixed in your pretzel batch, get some machinery involved. Just make sure to use the dough hook.
KitchenAid Stand Mixer with Dough Hook, $260 on Amazon.com
What's a pretzel without those salt flakes? If you're feeling really adventurous, Jacobsen also makes some colorful flavored salt options.
Jacobsen Salt Co. Pure Flake Finishing Salt, $55 on Amazon.com
A critical part of the pretzel process is to soak the dough in a lye solution, which will help it form a crust, and a slotted spoon is perfect for the job of fishing them out.
OXO Good Grips Brushed Stainless Steel Slotted Spoon, $10 on Amazon.com
For further mixing needs, or to hold your lye solution, get some quality mixing bowls, with lids to cover up the potentially harmful lye.
Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls with Lids, $25 on Amazon.com
Use these baking sheets both to let your pretzel dough rise and to bake them post-coating.
Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Half Sheet, $13 on Amazon.com
Sodium Hydroxide Lye
Take note: while food grade lye will give you a crust, it's one of the most dangerous materials you can bake with, so make sure to wear latex gloves, long sleeves, and safety goggles, and follow instructions like those in this recipe from expert Hans Röckenwagner exactly.
Food Grade Sodium Hydroxide Lye Micro Beads, $12 on Amazon.com
While salt is obviously the go-to pretzel topping, why not switch it up by using sesame seeds every once in a while?
JFC Roasted Sesame Seeds, $3 on Amazon.com
Once you've made your pretzels, it's time for some dipping sauce. Whether mustard or cheese, these dipping bowls are the perfect way to serve them, especially if your National Pretzel Month celebration involves multiple people!
Lifver Dipping Bowls, 8-Pack, $17 on Amazon.com
And finally, if you want to ease into the admittedly intense pretzel making process, you could always start with Auntie Anne's kit, which includes dough mix, salt, and the rest of the ingredients you'll need for your first pretzel-making adventure.
Auntie Anne's At-Home Baking Kit, $26 on Amazon.com