Caleb loves “kretzels”! Kretzels sound a lot like pretzels, no? He’s been calling pretzels, kretzels for as long as I can remember. We’ve corrected him once or twice, but it’s just so darn cute when he says “Momma, can you get me a kretzel? I really love kretzels!”
At Caleb’s childcare in Berkeley, a local bakery, The Bread Workshop, leaves soon to be day-old baked goods at the school’s doorstep several afternoons a week. The school lets the bakery park their vans in the lot, so in-turn; they leave behind wonderful breads like challah, baguettes, rustic loaves, focaccia rounds, gruyere rolls, and the highly coveted pretzels!
At the end of the day, when the children are leaving the childcare walking hand in hand with a parent, inevitably the parent is dragged over to the bag of baked goodness from the Workshop. Most of the kids have one objective in mind – to snatch one of the few (and delightful) handmade pretzels at the bottom of the large bags. These pretzels are a hot commodity and the mad dash to the bread bags is a sight to see. Suddenly, they are all competitors in a pretzel grabbing contest, elbowing their way to a bag filled with limited supply. Once Caleb snatches up his pretzel with an…”in your face, you unworthy competition!” look in his face, it’s time to hit the road.
If there are enough pretzels to go around, we typically give a whole one to Caleb for his ride home, half to Sadie, and the other half gets devoured by the two big kids in the front seat. When we occasionally miss our opportunity to grab a coveted pretzel, we’ll settle for a loaf of challah to break and pass around in the car. Not a bad settlement and especially perfect if it’s Friday evening and we’re shy a loaf.
Clearly, Caleb is not hurting for “kretzels”, but I still thought it would be a fun idea to teach him how they are made and really, to teach myself too. I found a fun New York Pretzel recipe on Epicurious and scheduled a baking date with him on Saturday morning. What I love about this pretzel recipe is that it can be done in stages, which is perfect for cooking with a kiddo. They’re also meant to be devoured fresh out of the oven, which is a challenge Caleb and I are willing to take on!
On Saturday morning, Caleb and I began working through the steps of pretzel making. I was so excited to make kretzels with my Caleb, except he was being such a gargantuan pill! Usually, we have a pretty pleasant time cooking together, Momma and Caleb baking something special together in the kitchen as the sun streams in through the window. However, on this day, I wanted to fling a giant pretzel at my son’s head. I was good. I resisted, and for the most part, we both got through the pretzel baking unscathed.
Caleb helped me combine all of the ingredients, and then had the most fun arranging the long ropes of dough into pretzel shapes. After we let the pretzels stand for a little while, we placed them three at a time into boiling water. After we basted them with the egg mixture and sprinkled with salt, into the oven they went. Out of the oven, came a pan full of the most beautiful and bodacious, light golden brown pretzels. I was so proud of our good work, and no “kretzels” were used as ‘weapons-of-mass-annoyance’.
Once the pretzels cooled down a bit, we all jumped at the chance to sample them. Man were they good! Warm, salty, and just the perfect combination of chewy and soft.
Our pretzels were delicious and now, all is right in the world!