Homemade Soft Pretzels

Homemade Soft Pretzels


Soft pretzels are always made with yeast dough and are in fact very similar to bagels in both composition and construction.

Although there is such a thing as salt-less pretzels, called “baldies,” I would suggest that they’re really not pretzels at all, but rather cruel jokes perpetrated by bitter bakers.

If you don’t have pretzel salt, coarse sea salt will do.

HOMEMADE SOFT PRETZELS

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees F)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter (melted)
  • Vegetable oil (for the bowl and pan)
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk (beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
  • Pretzel salt
  1. Combine the 1 1/2 cups warm water, the sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside for 5 minutes, or until the mixture foams.
  2. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl, then oil it well. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with oil. Set aside.
  5. Bring the 10 cups water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a 12-inch straight-sided saute pan or a roasting pan (something wide and shallow is best).
  6. Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, and, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place on a half sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
  7. One by one, place the pretzels in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return them to the sheet pans, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture, and sprinkle with pretzel salt.
  8. Bake until dark golden brown in color, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

If you don’t have pretzel salt, coarse sea salt will do.

154 Comments

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  1. 1
    Dawn

    I had this on my quarantine to-bake list for a while and I finally found yeast at the store! It turned out great! We used half the amount of baking soda, as recommended by other reviews, and there was no bitterness at all. I also didn’t have regular butter and didn’t want to risk a trip to the store, so I substituted my “Vegan Pantry Cookbook” Butter (by Miyoko) and it still turned out great! We were so proud of ourselves!

  2. 2
    Joe L

    My entire family loves these, it’s been a great project/treat for kids stuck at home. You said that these are very similar to bagels. do you have a bagel recipe that you can share as well? if not, could you tell us what needs to change to make bagels instead?

  3. 7
    Tim

    For Bob & Norma: Not just hamburger pretzel buns but Hotdog or Brat buns as well, just elongate them a bit and score down the top with a sharp knife before baking. Beer Brats on soft pretzel buns and good home brew !

  4. 8
    Pat

    SOURDOUGH Version: I have a Sourdough Starter and I wanted to incorporate some of it. Althought I love the recipe, Does anyone know how I can adjust the recipe to incorporate the starter? Can I replace a cup of flour with a cup of starter and lower the water to 1 – 1.25 cups?

  5. 9
    Jesse Le-Seibert

    YUMMY Deliciousness 🙂
    My belly is quite happy now, I have been craving soft pretzels and this recipe did not fail me.
    Thank you, Alton!

  6. 10
    Bob

    Norma, I appreciate the response. Do you freeze the raw dough, do you boil it and then freeze it or do you boil it and bake it and then freeze it?

  7. 11
    Norma

    This is for Bob. I have frozen these pretzel rolls with great success! I froze them flat in a freezer bag and defrosted them on a rack, out of the bag, whenever we wanted a few. I have been using this recipe for years and my family loves it!

  8. 12
    Bob

    I made them yesterday (April 12) while looking for something to do. The dough was one of the easiest I have ever made and while waiting for it to rise, I took my wife for a short ride to get out of the house and still stay away from everyone. We got back at the end of the hour rise time, so I started making the pretzels. My wife decided we didn’t need 8 pretzels and asked if I could do anything else with the dough. I made 8 pretzel bites and 2 pretzel rolls. The rolls were fantastic as hamburger rolls and my wife suggested we may never buy rolls again. My problem is they were too large ( making they smaller, I could probably get 12 rolls) but it is just the 2 of us, how can we store them for later use?

  9. 13
    Meryn

    Omg I love all the covid comments at the bottom of this recipe! ME TOO Y’ALL! Today: sandwich bread, pizza dough, and these pretzels. Haha. Sending love to everyone playing in the kitchen because of shelter in place. -Meryn from Michigan

  10. 14
    Kathryn Gushue

    With a few easy tweaks, i was able to veganize this recipe . The pretzels were not only beautiful, but they tasted fantastic too. . I didn’t have pretzel salt or coarse sea salt (under quarantine here in CA ) but had some Trader Joe’s “Everything but the Bagel” spice which I used and they couldn’t have been better.

  11. 15
    FaithC

    The dough is rising now….can’t wait! Also a first-timer here keeping busy AT HOME due to COVID. Stay safe and enjoy your homemade pretzels!

  12. 16
    OzarkChris

    Made these up a couple of hours ago (think there’s only one left ;)). These are extremely good! I’ve seen a couple of comments stating they are bitter so I only build for 20 seconds – they didn’t brown as well, but still very tasty. There was one comment stating this was too much trouble so he’d just run to Annies – my guess: spoken like a true millennial. All total including the hour rise and 12 min cook time I think it took less than 2 hrs before I was munching down on fresh warm soft pretzels! This was a “spur of the moment” pretzel bake (during our imposed self isolation- covid-19) so I didn’t have pretzel salt. I ended up using pink (Himalayan) salt – of course not to be confused with pink (nitrate) salt, but that’s a different show!

    Overall, great recipe!

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