Soft Pretzels

Homemade soft pretzels are awesome.

Do you remember that I originally shared this recipe for soft pretzels back in 2014? I love them so much that I’m sharing them again. Yes, they are really worth highlighting again. Plus, I get to share the latest and greatest photos with you because my photography style has definitely changed in six years. However, this recipe has not changed because it’s still as great as it was back then.

I want to give a big thank you to my husband because he made these pretzels. He’ll be the first to admit that these pretzels are kind of a pain to make. They are not difficult to make, but there are a lot of steps and it takes a bit of time. Plus, you have to practice to get that fun pretzel shape. He’s tried making nugget shapes, thinking it would be easier. However, the little nugget shapes are actually more annoying to make because it takes longer since this recipe makes so many of them.

When all is said and done, we absolutely think that it’s worth all of the effort to make these pretzels because they are seriously so delicious. They are soft and chewy on the inside and have a crunchy exterior. I think they taste better than anything we could buy from a store, mall, or festival. They also look gorgeous too. We’ve been enjoying this batch with a cheese beer dip, but they also taste great with mustard or even by themselves.

This recipes makes an even dozen of them so it’s great for entertaining. We even like this much for just the two of us because they freeze and reheat beautifully.

Soft Pretzels Recipe
(Makes 12 pretzels)

Ingredients for Dough:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast (equivalent to 1 packet)
  • 5 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (equivalent to 22 ounces or 1 pound and 6 ounces)
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted

Ingredients for Preparation:

  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • (optional) pretzel salt

Directions for Dough:

  1. Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature it will allow and then turn it off.  If that temperature is above about 100 F leave it open for a while to cool down again.  You do NOT want to dry out or cook the dough.  The perfect temperature for dough to rise in barely feels warm at all.  Your goal is a draft free warm place to put the dough.
  2. Add warm water, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. Sprinkle the yeast on top.
  4. Let the yeast sit on the water for about 5 minutes.
  5. While you are waiting, melt the butter in the microwave.
  6. Turn the mixer on low.  (I used speed 2 on my Kitchen Aide.)
  7. Add the first 3 cups of flour.  (Carefully!  Stop the mixer to prevent covering your kitchen with flour if you need to.)
  8. Drizzle the melted butter into the mixer.
  9. Add the remaining 2 and 1/4 cups of flour.
  10. Let the dough come together on low speed and once it has turn the mixer up a couple speeds.  (I used speed 4 on my Kitchen Aide.)
  11. Let the mixer knead the dough for about 5 minutes.
  12. Oil a bowl large enough for the dough to double in size.
  13. Transfer the dough to the newly oiled bowl.
  14. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  15. Place the bowl in your slightly warmed oven for about 45 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.

Directions for Preparation:

  1. Once the dough has risen, knead it to get the air bubbles out of it.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  3. Fill a large sauce pan with 10 cups of water.
  4. Add the baking soda and turn on the heat.
  5. While your water is coming to a boil, divide your dough into 12 equal parts. I actually use a scale for this process because I like them to be pretty close to exactly the same size. It makes them bake more evenly.
  6. Prepare a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper and spray it with cooking spray.
  7. Shape each string into a pretzel shape:
    • Roll out the dough ball until you have a long and skinny rope of dough that is 20-22 inches long.
    • Shape the dough into an upside down U where the curve is away from you.
    • Cross the ends of the U over each other to make something that looks like a Breast Cancer Ribbon.
    • Cross the ends over each other again. The point where they crossed before should now look like it’s twisted.
    • Fold the twisted part up over what was originally the bend in the U and press the ends into the curve.
  8. Move the pretzels as you finish shaping them to the prepared cookie sheet. (Stop when you have 6 on the cookie sheet.)
  9. By this time, your baking soda water should be boiling and making everything within about 12″ of the pot a messy shade of speckled white.
  10. One at a time, lower the pretzels into the boiling water and let them stay there for 30 seconds.
  11. Fish them out with a large spatula and put them back onto the prepared cookie sheet. It’s okay if you have a little bit of water on the parchment paper as you finish this process for each pretzel.
  12. Once all 6 pretzels have been boiled it’s time to top them.
  13. Prepare an egg wash with 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water.
  14. Brush each pretzel with the egg wash.
  15. Sprinkle pretzel salt (like regular salt only bigger fluffier bits) onto each pretzel.
  16. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes.
  17. Remove them from the pan immediately to a wire cooling rack with tongs and let them cool for at least 5 minutes.
  18. Repeat the process with the remaining 6 pretzels.

Based on:  Alton Brown

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