HANDLE THE HEAT'S MONTHLY BAKING CHALLENGE

JANUARY

JANUARY

For the month of JANUARY we’re making:

PRETZELS

One recipe every month. Bake it. Share it. Savor it. 

Melt Hearts and win Prizes.

How it Works

1) Make Pretzels

For January, we’re making PRETZELS! Choose between my Classic Pretzels, Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels, and/or Garlic Parmesan Pretzels.

OPTIONAL: You can also make more than one pretzel recipe for BONUS ENTRIES!

2) Snap a photo(s)

Take a photo(s) of your recipe using your phone, camera, iPad, or other device.

3) Submit your entry/entries

DON’T FORGET YOUR BONUS ENTRIES

• Receive 5 bonus entry points per each additional pretzel photo submitted using the same name and email address.

• Leave a star recipe review and comment on any of the recipe post(s) using the same name and email address.

• Receive an automatic bonus entry if you’ve participated in any previous baking challenge before using the widget. You must be logged into the widget to receive this bonus.

SUBMIT BEFORE JANUARY 31ST 11:59PM MST

January's Prizes

Two Amazon.com $75 gift cards

4 ) Win Prizes!

Winners are picked randomly by our picker generator.

Giving Back

Here at Handle the Heat, we believe in spreading joy in all the ways we can, and making the world a better place one day at a time.

For each valid entry, Handle the Heat will donate $1 to the American Red Cross to support those affected by the natural disasters.

Community Entries

Your photos may be put on display to share with my entire audience – that’s hundreds of thousands of people! 

Tessa Icon

Recipe Tips for
Perfect Chemistry

Tip 1: The key to perfect pretzels? Lye!

Using a lye bath gives pretzels that distinct, slightly alkaline pretzel flavor and a chewier texture.

Lye has a pH of around 13 whereas baking soda has a pH of around 8. This extra alkalinity accelerates the Maillard reaction, allowing that caramelization to develop on the exterior of the pretzels. That ultra deep color and slightly crispy, crunchy exterior crust is only made possible with lye. Lye is what professional bakers use, and it’s what’s authentic in a traditional Bavarian pretzel! Check out the pink tip box in this post for my tips for safely preparing a lye bath for pretzels.

Tip 2: How to Shape Pretzels

Shape the log into a letter U. Cross the arms placing one over the other, then twist them around each other once. Bring the ends down to the bottom of the U and gently press to stick. 

Tip 3: How to Freeze Pretzels

Store baked pretzels in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. The longer they’re frozen, the more the pretzel salt or seasonings will dissolve into the pretzels, but they’ll still taste great.

Defrost by letting them sit on the counter for about an hour. Or, simply microwave for about 30 seconds. If desired for a crispier texture, once defrosted, refresh in the toaster for about 5 minutes.

Can't get enough?

More Baking Articles

More Baking Articles

My Favorite Tools for this Challenge:

Customization Ideas

Choose your own pretzel adventure!

Lye Bath vs. Baking Soda Bath

Using a lye bath will result in more traditional Bavarian-style pretzel with a deeply browned exterior and chewy texture. 

Using a baking soda bath yields a more American-ized pretzel that’s lighter in color and fluffier in texture. A pretzel reminiscent of those frozen pretzels many of us grew up eating or even the shopping mall pretzels.

If you prefer the latter, use a baking soda bath instead of lye. You can also allow the shaped pretzels to rise for about 30 minutes before dipping in baking soda and baking. This will create a fluffier texture (but also less distinct pretzel shapes). Check out this post for the baking soda bath instructions.

Serve with Beer Cheese Dip!

You only need 10 minutes to make my simple Beer Cheese Dip recipe! GET THE RECIPE

Pretzel-Bagel Situation

You can also slice pretzels open, toast them, and smear them with cream cheese for a pretzel-bagel situation. This is my boyfriend Joe’s favorite way to enjoy pretzels!

homemade pretzel being dunked into beer cheese dip

Get your Free Beginner's Quick Guide to Bread!

Frequently Asked Questions

Winners are selected at random using a name picker generator from among all eligible entries received.

Winner will be notified and must reply with an Amazon account email address. If there’s no response within 2 business days, a new winner will be chosen. We personally contact each winner to confirm their win, so it sometimes take a few days if we don’t receive a response.

We recommend clearing your web browser cache if you are having issues submitting your photo, a challenge page for a previous month is displaying, etc.

Control (PC) / Command (Mac) + Shift + Delete on your keyboard will clear the cache on most browsers. If you need any help with this, please email support@handletheheat.com and we’ll get you taken care of.

No! This isn’t a beauty contest. A photo snapped on your phone is perfectly fine to submit. Take a photo of your recipe with whatever technology is available to you.

The prize is available to anyone in the world who can shop with Amazon. We will buy your gift card from your country’s Amazon website in the current market value equivalent to U.S. dollars.

Question Not Listed?

Past Challenge Winners

February

Want to see the next challenge first?

January (This Month)

PRETZELS

Prize: TWO $75 Amazon Gift Cards

December

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Lisa W.

Deanna V.

Jen M.

November

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Lenny S.

Sydney S.

October

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Sarah S.

Madeline R.

September

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Mike G.

Jessica D.

August

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Ally C.

Peggy N.

July

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Kiersten K.

Ginger A.

June

Lemon Pound Cake Loaf Challenge

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Didi B.

Kimberly Y.

May

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Nikki B.

Caroline M.

April

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Carlee

Debbie E.

March

Ultimate Muffins Challenge

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Debby K.

Judy H.

February

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Kasey S.

Rachel C.

January

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Jennifer G.

Nicole S.

Olivia I.

Past Challenge Winners

February

Want to see the challenge first?

January (This Month)

PRETZELS

Prize: TWO $75 Amazon Gift Cards

December

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Lisa W.

Deanna V.

Jen M.

November

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Lenny S.

Sydney S.

October

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Sarah S.

Madeline R.

September

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Mike G.

Jessica D.

August

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Ally C.

Peggy N.

July

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Kiersten K.

Ginger A.

June

Lemon Pound Cake Loaf Challenge

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Didi B.

Kimberly Y.

May

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Nikki B.

Caroline M.

April

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Carlee

Debbie E.

March

Ultimate Muffins Challenge

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Debby K.

Judy H.

February

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Kasey S.

Rachel C.

January

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards

WINNERS

Jennifer G.

Nicole S.

Olivia I.

Want to Become the Best Baker?

Join the Handle the Heat Membership to get EARLY access to the monthly baking challenge recipe pick, as well as an exclusive printable challenge cheatsheet containing the full recipe, tips from Tessa, customization ideas, recommended products and MORE!

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