Baking with a Twist: Homemade Pretzels and How Baking Can Help Your Mental Health

Written By: Clare Duffus 


  • 2 cups milk 
  • 2 packets active dry yeast 
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 4 tablespoons of melted butter 
  • 4 ½ cups flour 
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt 
  • 5 tablespoons baking soda 
  • 3 cups warm water 
  • Coarse salt 
  •  8 tablespoons of melted butter 


  1. Warm up the milk in the microwave (or on the stove) for about a minute and a half. It should be about 110 ° F —you should be able to comfortably keep your finger in it 
  1. Stir in the yeast and let it sit for 3 minutes 
  1. Add the butter and sugar and mix until combined 
  1. Add the flour about 1 cup at a time, folding to incorporate  
  1. Add the fine salt 
  1. Once mixture is combined, kneed for about 10 minutes with dough hook or by hand.  
  1. Put it in a greased bowl and cover with greased cling wrap. Let rise for 1 hour in a moist, warm place until doubled in size 
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 ° F 
  1. Punch down dough and divide into 12 lumps  
  1. Roll them all out as thin as you can 
  1. Form the dough into pretzel shapes 
  1. Combine the warm water and baking soda in a wide bowl, then dip the dough into the baking soda water 
  1.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with coarse salt. 
  1.  Bake for about 7-11 minutes or until browned 
  1. Dip each in the melted butter while hot 
  1. Eat right away or freeze 
  1. Heat from frozen: bake at 350 ° F for 5-7 minutes  

This pandemic has forced us into a circumstance of uncertainty, boredom, and stress. What better way to cope with all these things than to bake? A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, suggests that people who often participate in creative projects, such as baking, report feeling more relaxed and happier in their everyday lives. Baking is a great way to focus on small meticulous tasks. It is almost like a form of meditation. During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are feeling a loss of control in their lives. Baking allows the baker to feel in control. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed over what feels like eternal quarantine, take a crack at baking. Allow yourself to take a break, get creative, and reward yourself with a tasty treat!  

Lewis, D. (2016, November 29). Feeling Down? Scientists Say Cooking and Baking Could Help You Feel Better. Retrieved from 

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