FAQ

Get simple tips to make Simply Homemade® Pretzel Creations™ and Simply Homemade® Bread even better!

Pretzels

Can pretzels be stored and reheated?

Yes. While pretzels are at their best when eaten fresh from the oven, we realize there are sometimes leftovers! For best results, wrap cooled pretzels in foil and store 1 to 2 days. Reheat in 400°F oven for 2 to 3 minutes.

Why is baking soda used in the water for boiling the pretzels?

The soda provides the distinct pretzel flavor and gives a brown shiny crust.

How much baking soda is included in the mix?

1/4 cup.

Does it really matter what size pan I use for boiling the pretzels?

We recommend a deep saucepan that is big enough in diameter to maneuver the pretzels in and out easily, but small enough to allow for the water to be at least 2 to 3 inches deep.

How is pretzel salt different than regular table salt?

Pretzel salt is a larger crystal which gives the characteristic look and crunch on the pretzel surface. It is not iodized.

I’m watching my sodium intake. Do I have to use the salt?

Feel free to use less of the salt provided or none at all.

Can I make the pretzel dough ahead?

Pretzel dough can be made and shaped, then covered and refrigerated until ready to boil and bake.

What other pretzel shapes can I make?

Your imagination is the limit! Try making letters, numbers, or any other shape you like!

Kid Friendly Pretzel Directions:

When making pretzels with children, you may want to use a cool solution of water and baking soda for safety. Here's how: Begin by combining 6 cups water with the packet of baking soda in a large deep saucepan. (Note: Baking soda can be corrosive to certain materials. We do not recommend using saucepans that have hard anodized finishes). Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature while making the pretzels.

Make the dough, let rise and form the pretzels according to the package directions. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, dip one pretzel at a time into the water/baking soda solution for 30 seconds. Remove and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle pretzels with pretzel salt. Bake as directed.

Cornbread

How can I make a larger batch?

Mix 2 boxes together to make a double batch to fill one 13 x 9-inch pan.

Can I use an electric mixer to mix the bread?

We recommend using a spoon instead of a mixer. Just stir enough to combine the ingredients. If the dough is beaten or over mixed, the cornbread will be tough.

Can I mix the corn bread batter ahead of time for later baking?

For best results, mix the dough just before baking. To make ahead for serving later, make and bake the cornbread, then cover and re-heat at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes.

What are the little black specks occasionally found in the mix?

Occasionally, dark specks of the skin of the corn (pericarp) may appear in the mix. These are natural and harmless. Because this is an agricultural product, it varies by the crop and the year. You may have also have noticed this in other products such as tortilla chips, corn meal, etc.

Can an egg substitute be used in place of the egg?

Using an egg substitute is fine, although the bread may be a bit drier.

Can I substitute almond milk or soy milk for the milk called for on the directions?

Yes, you can use either. Plain almond milk (unsweetened) is closest in flavor to using cow's milk. Using vanilla soy or almond milk works fine but does provide slightly sweeter bread.

Can I substitute oil in place of the butter called for on the directions?

Yes. While we recommend butter for the best flavor, corn oil is a good substitute.

Bread Machine Directions

Can I use Simply Homemade® with my bread machine?

Yes! The only difference is you do not need to add sugar when you use your bread machine. Just add the remaining ingredients to the bread machine pan in the following order (or as suggested by the manufacturer): water, bread mix, yeast. Then set the machine for a 1 1/2-lb loaf; medium/normal crust color; and a basic, rapid or delayed cycle.

Missing Items?

Help! I lost my yeast and sugar packets!

Simply use 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 envelope (2-1/4 teaspoons) of Fleischmann’s® RapidRise yeast.

Mixing the Dough

What does “warm or hot tap water” mean?

This is the hot water that comes from your faucet after running it for a minute or two. It will be warm to the touch. Most faucets get the water warm enough to activate the yeast, but not hot enough to kill it. If you want to check it with a thermometer, the ideal water temperature for the yeast in this mix is between 105° and 115°F.

Why do I need sugar in my bread? Can I omit it?

Sugar provides immediate food for the yeast. The yeast will also feed on the carbohydrates in the flour, but the small amount (1 teaspoon) of sugar provided with the mix gets the yeast growing more quickly. If you need to reduce the sugar, you can use 1/2 the packet (1/2 teaspoon), but for best results, we don’t recommend leaving out the sugar. You can also substitute the sugar with an equal amount of honey, pure maple syrup or agave nectar.

How do I know if the yeast is working?

When the yeast has been exposed to the warm water and sugar for about a minute and a half, you should see the yeast begin to “bloom.” Look closely at the surface of the water, and you should see the yeast actually burst as it rehydrates and grows. This tells you the yeast is alive and ready to expand.

Help! My dough is too sticky!

Flour your hands if the dough is sticky. You can also sprinkle a little extra flour on the dough, if needed. But, do so sparingly – too much flour will result in a dry loaf of bread!

Does it matter what kind of flour I use?

Most any flour will work well, such as all-purpose, whole wheat, bread flour or even cake flour. The only type we don’t recommend is self-rising flour.

How do I know when my bread dough is well mixed? Should the dough be lumpy? Smooth?

Of course, it is important to fully mix in the flour. However, bread dough will not have a smooth appearance. Expect it to look, well, kind of lumpy! When the dough forms a nice big ball, you are ready to move to the next step.

Any suggestions on warm, draft-free places to let the bread rise?

Any warm place in your house that is free from drafts from an open window, fan or vent will work. You may want to let the bread rise on top of your stove, in an unheated oven (remove the loaf before preheating!) or in any warm corner of your kitchen. Our favorite method is to heat a pan of water to boiling. Turn off the heat. Place the baking sheet with the bread loaf over the pan (baking sheet should not touch the water). Cover loaf and let rise. The hot water keeps the dough warm!

Should I make slashes/cuts on the bread before or after rising?

Make the slashes with a very sharp knife (about 1/4-inch deep) after the bread rises. By the way, these cuts are optional – they result in a more decorative loaf.

If I do one of the suggested stir-ins, is there anything I should know?

These are super easy ways to add variety to the basic mixes. Feel free to come up with your own stir-in ideas! Some stir-ins may need about 5 to 10 minutes of additional baking time for the bread to test done.

What changes do I need to make for high altitude baking (5000 ft or higher)?

Follow directions but use 2 tablespoons less water. Let loaf rise 18 minutes (it will not double in size). Bake at 425°F.

Baking

Can I bake my bread in a bread pan?

Yes! Use either an 8 x 4-1/2 OR 9 x 5-inch bread pan. Don’t forget to grease the bottom and sides of the pan! In addition, you can also bake this bread in a greased round or oval 1-1/2-quart casserole dish.

I forgot to preheat my oven. Does it really matter?

Yes! All baking times are based on using a preheated oven. But, more importantly, a preheated oven provides the best baking environment. Bread baked in an oven that is not preheated may be uneven in color, may have an uneven top or may collapse. If you have forgotten to preheat the oven, simply let the bread dough “wait” on the counter for the oven to heat. Then pop it in the oven once the oven has reached the baking temperature.

How do I know if my oven is really at the correct temperature?

If you are unsure about the accuracy of your oven, you may want to test it with an oven thermometer. These are easily obtained at large grocery stores and most discount stores. Simply place one in the oven, heat to the desired temperature, then check to see if the temperature on the thermometer agrees with the temperature on your oven readout or dial. (If it is different, you may need to add or subtract when setting your oven temperature. For example, if you set your oven at 400˚F, but the oven thermometer reads 425˚F, then you’ll need to set your oven at 375˚F for your oven to actually bake at 400˚F.)

What should I use to grease my baking sheet?

You can use cooking spray, oil or shortening. For easy cleanup, you can skip any of these and simply place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Can I bake my bread at the same time that I bake cookies?

For best results, we recommend you bake this bread alone. If you do bake the bread with something else, you may need to allow additional time.

What if I get interrupted and can't bake the bread after it has risen for 25 minutes?

Can it rise longer?Yes. The bread can rise at room temperature for up to 2 hours.

How do I tell if the bread is done?

Bread is done when it reaches an internal temperature of between 190˚F to 200˚F. If you have a kitchen thermometer, you can easily insert the probe in the center of the loaf to determine doneness. If you don’t have a thermometer, use the time range as a guide. The bread’s surface should be golden brown.

Storing Baked Bread

How can I store my bread? Can bread be frozen?

Freshly baked homemade bread is best when served the day it is baked. For use the next day, you may prefer toasting the bread. To store bread, wrap in plastic wrap or foil and store at room temperature. Do not refrigerate, as this causes the bread to dry out (stale) more quickly. Use in 2 to 3 days. For longer storage, store tightly wrapped bread in the freezer for up to 2 months. (Thaw at room temperature.)

GMO

ACH Food Companies, Inc. recognizes the concerns that some consumers may have regarding genetically-modified (GM) ingredients. Among food regulatory bodies that have approved GM ingredients there is agreement that they are safe. This includes the US Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada, and the US Department of Agriculture.

The World Health Organization has stated that “the development of GM organisms (GMOs) offers the potential for increased agricultural productivity or improved nutritional value that can contribute directly to enhancing human health and development.”

ACH offers ingredients and foods that contain GMOs and also ingredients that are organic and non-GMO. We are committed to selling our consumers safe ingredients and foods and believe that biotechnology can help in that effort.

For further information about biotechnology, visit www.factsaboutgmos.org.