Soft Pretzels

I am in love with these.  I want to marry them and buy a house on the beach with them, and grow old with them.  They are soft, buttery, salty, chewy…completely conducive to and encouraging of addictive behaviors.  Don’t even try to be well-behaved and take just “one bite” of these.  I made the mistake of delivering these to some low-carb dieters and let’s just say they weren’t very happy with me. 
But, I make no apologies for these.  They are quite possibly my favorite recipe on the entire blog.  I think I’ll make some more tomorrow just to test them out again.

I don’t really have the pretzel-shape down pat yet.  I just kind of twisted them around until they looked good.  But then I laid them on an unfloured pastry mat before I boiled them, and they stuck and completely ruined what little shape I did have.  Next time, I’ll know better. If you want a quick tutorial on shaping pretzels, try (this link).  This is not the same recipe I used, but there are some step-by-step pictures.

This is really one of the easiest dough recipes ever.  All of the ingredients go into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, and 10 minutes later you have dough.  Easy.  They only have to rise for about an hour, then you shape them and boil them for 30 seconds.  Then, into the oven for 15 minutes and they’re done! 

I used a big stock pot to boil them in.  I didn’t flip them over, but I did splash the water over the top of them so the whole pretzel was submersed in water.  You do want to be sure that you don’t over-boil them, you’ll lose the chewy pretzel texture if they’re in there much more than 30 seconds.  Make sure you have everything you need laid out and ready to go so you aren’t running frantically around while you have boiling pretzels or proofing dough.

The egg wash gives them the gorgeous color, and the post-oven butter and salt give them a lot of good flavor.  My mother-in-law gave me some flaked finishing salt as a gift once and it made the perfect topping.  Otherwise, just use a coarse sea or kosher salt.  Don’t use table salt!

As far as dipping sauces go, the sky is the limit.  I made honey mustard this time (click here for recipe), but nacho cheese, ranch dressing, cream cheese, even a spicy mustard would be great with these.  You could even omit the salt and sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar for a sweet treat.

I hope you’ll try these!  They’re awesome!  If you have any questions (since I didn’t take pictures of the shaping or boiling process) leave them in the comments section below and I’ll get right back to you.


Pretzel Ingredients:
1 packet rapid-rise yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
4 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Cooking spray (to grease bowl)
2/3 cup baking soda
~10 cups water
1 egg yolk with 1 Tablespoon water
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Flaked Sea Salt, Pretzel Salt or Kosher Salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, sugar, salt and water.  Stir until yeast is dissolved.  Using the dough hook attachment, add melted butter and flour and knead/mix until the dough comes together and pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.  If dough continues to stick, add flour 1 teaspoon at a time until dough becomes smooth.  Once dough is smooth, knead with dough hook on medium-low speed for about 5 minutes.  Form dough into a ball and place in a large bowl sprayed with cooking spray.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Line two cooking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mat and set aside (near stovetop…this is where you’ll place the pretzels immediately after boiling.  Bring 10 cups of water to a boil in a large stock pan, and add 2/3 cups of baking soda.  Reduce heat to maintain a low simmering boil.

Flour a working surface, then separate dough into eight equal sized balls.  Roll each ball into 22-inch long strips.  Form each strip into a pretzel shape.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Working one at a time, drop pretzels carefully into boiling water.  Allow to boil for 30 seconds.  Remove from water using a large slotted spoon and place onto parchment covered cooking sheet.  Repeat with remaining pretzels.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg yolk and 1 Tablespoon of water.  Use a pastry brush to brush boiled pretzels with the egg wash.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until dark golden brown.  Remove from oven and move pretzels to a wire rack. 

Melt 4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter and liberally brush each pretzel with butter, then sprinkle with salt.

Source:  Annie’s Eats and Alton Brown/The Food Network

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  • Tina @flourtrader

    Oooh-I can’t pass these up at the concession stands which means making these at home would be starting a pretzel addiction. No doubt these are delicious. I have a solution though, I will give this to a friend of mine and she can share a few with me after she bakes them. Yum!

  • Taylor

    I’ve been looking for a good soft pretzel recipe…I am definitely saving this one to try!!

  • Roxanne

    How much yeast is in the packet?

    • lemonsugar

      2 and 1/4 teaspoons

  • Melody

    No stand mixer means I won’t be able to make these. Good thing, as I’m trying to lose weight! But I am salivating nonetheless.

  • Patricia Zipsie

    I love fresh hot pretzels and so does my daughter and husband. These sound easy enough so I will most definitely be making these pretzels this weekend!!

  • Marty

    2/3 CUP of baking soda??

    • lemonsugar

      Yep! This goes in the boiling water though, not the pretzels. :) It’s what helps them have that chewy, pretzel texture! Lately I’ve been using a little less, more like 1/2 a cup and it still works just fine. I buy those little tiny boxes of baking soda and store them away just for pretzels.

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