Monday, May 7, 2012

How To Use Whole Wheat in Kid Friendly Recipes

Hi,  This is Heather, I write the blog Cooking With My Food Storage.  Sueann asked me if I would share one of my favorite whole wheat recipe with you today.  I’m a busy stay at home mom and one of the things that is important to me is to provide my kids with lots of experiences with healthy foods.  My kids are pretty normal, they would be happy to eat Cheetos and fruit snacks all the time, but that is not the diet I want for them.

One of the ways that I have helped my kids eat healthier foods is by choosing kid friendly foods that I make with whole wheat. When I started using whole wheat it was pretty easy to get them excited to each homemade whole wheat pretzels.

As I have introduced my kids to more whole wheat recipes I have found that it is really helpful to start with kid friendly recipes.

This Kid Friendly Whole Wheat Pretzels is everything my kids want in a recipe: 

  • Dough they can play with.  I always give them a little dough to shape, they love it.  My 1st grader is getting old enough that he can help me shape the pretzels.
  • Sprinkles, when making this for the kids I always let them choose the toppings.  They always choose sprinkles.  If you are a kid everything tastes better with sprinkles.
  • Finger Food, there is something about being able to pick food up in their little hands that really speaks to my children.  
  • Dip, when we eat soft pretzels we always dip them in something.  Try peanut butter, cream cheese, apple sauce, or caramel sauce.
  • Start with recipes that are half whole wheat and half white four.  My little kids tummies are pretty sensitive to any change and for us it has been best to make the change gradually.

How to Shape Homemade Pretzels
Step 1:  Roll section of dough into a long “snake”  Place in an upside down “U”Step 2:  Cross the the ends over each other. 

Step 3:   Cross the ends over each other a second time.

Step 4:  Bring both of the ends straight up and afix to the loop.  Press Firmly into place.

Step 5:   Adjust so that each of the holes are nicely shaped.

Whole Wheat Pretzels With Sprinkles
from: Cooking With My Food Storage
Adapted from:  White Wheat Pretzels from King Arthur Flour


The Pretzels
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups room-temperature water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast OR 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
2 1/2 to 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon salt
3 cups White Whole Wheat Flour or Traditional Whole Wheat Flour

The Water Bath
6 cups water
2 tablespoons baking soda (optional, I usually make it without)

The Glaze
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt
Sprinkles (I like the crystal sugar kind), or Kosher sale  or seeds to sprinkle on top of the pretzels
Dissolve the sugar in the water and add the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and let sit for about 10 minutes to get your yeast going. Add the salt, and the white whole wheat flour. Stir well, then add the balance of the all-purpose flour, a cup at a time.

Knead dough, either in your mixer or by hand, adding more flour as necessary, until the dough has formed a smooth dough. It should be a little tacky and slack, but not sticky. Put the dough in a bowl and drizzle a little oil on it to prevent the formation of a skin due to air exposure. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease two baking sheets or line them with parchment paper. Start heating the water up to boil.

Punch the dough down and knead it briefly to expel any air bubbles. Let the dough rest minutes.  Roll the dough into a thick log.  Divide the dough in half and keep dividing the halves into halves until you have 16 more-or-less equal-sized pieces.

Roll each piece into a rope about 1/2-inch in diameter. The best way to do this is to roll each piece halfway out, and then let it sit to relax. Go back to the first piece and finish rolling it out. The important thing here is to avoid tearing the dough.

Take each rope and make a loop with fairly short ends. Fold the loop over the ends to form the traditional pretzel shape.

By the time that all of the pretzels are formed, the water should be boiling. Turn it down to a simmer and add the baking soda (if you are using). Carefully pick up the pretzels and add them to the water. Cook about four at a time, making sure that there is plenty of room. The pretzels will expand quickly and dramatically. Cook for about 1 minute. Use a spatula or a slotted spoon to transfer the pretzels to the prepared baking sheets.

When all of the pretzels are done, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sprinkles or kosher salt. Bake the pretzels for 12 to 15 minutes until well browned. Yield: 16 pretzels.        

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