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German Bretzels - A kid friendly recipe

Looking for a fun and tasty cooking project to do with the kids? Well look no further! This Bretzel recipe is easy to make and will keep the kids busy (both making and eating).
German Bretzels - makes 12
600 g of bread flour or 00 flour (it needs to have a protein level of 11%- 13%, this information can be found on the nutritional panel on the pack)
9 g dry yeast
15 g malt extract - this can be substituted with treacle or brown sugar
240 g water
100 g milk
13 g salt
30 g soft butter
Coarse salt, for sprinkling ( sea salt flakes will do)
For the water bath
2 l water
80 g bicarb

Mix the flour and salt in either a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer bowl. Form a "well" in the middle of the flour.
Dissolve the yeast in 100 g water, add the malt syrup and pour into the flour well.
Cover with a little flour from the side of the well and let sit for about 15- 20 minutes until the yeast reacts and little cracks in the flour appear.
Add all the other ingredients and knead for about 10 minutes by hand and then 5-6 minutes with the stand mixer.
Let the dough rest in an oiled bowl covered with cling wrap or tea towel until it has doubled its size.
When ready, knock back the dough (knocking back the dough is how you remove air bubbles from the dough after its first rise to create an even texture in the bread. When it rises it will be full of air - you lightly punch the middle of the risen dough to remove the air. Then you gently pull, stretch and roll the dough a few times in the bowl to completely remove any remaining air). Now portion the dough into 12 equal pieces about 80 - 85 g each.
Form the portioned pieces into logs, cover with a tea towel and rest for another 15 minutes.
In the meantime preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line two baking trays with baking paper.
Working with one piece at a time, roll your log of dough into a 45- 50 cm rope of about 1 cm thickness with the middle bulged 5-6 cm which is about 3 cm thick.
Rolling bretzel
To form the Bretzel, take the two ends, keeping the bulge centre on the surface, cross one end over the other, twist and bring back to the main body.
Shaping bretzel Shaping bretzels
Repeat with the rest of the dough and let rest for about 25 minutes to rise.
While the Bretzels are resting grab a 24 cm diameter pot or deep frying pan - put in the water and the bicarb - bring to boil, stirring a couple of times until the bicarb is fully dissolved. 
When the Bretzels are rested and risen they need to be blanched (This step involves boiling water so it's best done by an adult). Drop one or two at a time into the boiling water & bicarb solution for about 30 seconds. Take them out with a slotted spoon or skimmer - let them drip & then place on the baking paper and sprinkle with coarse salt on top.
Blanching bretzels
When they are all blanched, lightly slash the thick part of the Bretzel with a sharp knife and bake in the preheated oven for about 15- 18 minutes until brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Once cooled eat and enjoy!

Cooking bretzels Cooking bretzels