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Soft pretzels

February 1, 2010

Soft Pretzels

I made pretzels!  Woohoo!

I baked these delicious pretzels along with two wonderful ladies ~ Ingrid from 3 B’s and Monica from Lick the Bowl Good.  I got to choose our first recipe, and I chose a recipe I’ve had bookmarked for a while now.  Soft pretzels!  Yeast recipes haven’t ever worked out terribly well for me, but I’ve had success.  Pretzels have been made!!  And devoured!!  In fact, if it’s possible to eat your weight in pretzels, then that may be what I’ve done.

This is a pretty easy recipe with a great tutorial.  Being a novice, I don’t think the dough rolled out perfectly for me, and most of my pretzels fell apart during the boiling process.  No big deal though – they are very easy to reshape once they’re on the cookie sheet.  After making a few pretzel twists, I decided to just cut some into small pretzel bites.  So much faster and easier, and every bit as delicious as their bigger counterparts.  Maybe a little too convenient though.  I swear, once you start popping these in your mouth, you’re really wishing for a bottomless bowl of them.  The pretzel bites were definitely my Sam’s favorites, and I’ve promised him that we’ll make them again soon.

The only place I deviated from the original recipe was by using melted butter instead of the egg wash to coat the pretzels before baking them.  I recommend doing that for the subtle butter flavor and the gorgeous golden color.   I did a couple with the egg wash too, so I could compare the two.  Butter wins, for sure.

It’s hard to beat a homemade pretzel straight from the oven, I’ll tell ya.   When you combine that wonderful aroma with the yeasty goodness, there’s no way you could go wrong with this snack.  We’ll definitely be making them again and again.

Recipe:  Soft Pretzels

(an Alton Brown recipe first seen at Macheesmo)

1 1/2 c. warm water (110-115 degrees, and warm to the touch)

1 Tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 package active dry yeast

4 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted  (Plus an additional 2-4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, for later.)

vegetable oil, for pan  (I used canola oil.)

10 c. water

2/3 c. baking soda

1 egg + 1 Tbsp. water for egg wash  (I melted that extra butter and preferred that over the egg wash.)

sea salt for sprinkling

Combine the warm water, sugar, and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes so mixture can begin to foam.  Add the flour and melted butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until combined.  (Macheesmo has tips on kneading this dough by hand too.) Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 4-5 minutes.  Place ball of dough in a clean bowl that has been coated well with oil.  Turn dough to coat, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and sit in a warm place for 55-60 minutes.  The dough will double in size.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush with vegetable oil.  Set aside.

Bring 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil.  Turn the pretzel dough out onto your work surface and divide into 8 even sections.  Roll each piece into a 24″ rope.  Make a U-shape with the rope, cross the ends over each other, and press onto the bottom to make a pretzel shape.  (Again, Macheesmo comes through with great tips.) Place the pretzels, one at a time, in the boiling water for 30 seconds on each side.  Remove each from water with one or two large spatulas, and place on baking sheet.  Reshape as necessary.  Brush pretzels with egg wash (or that extra melted butter!!), sprinkle with sea salt, and bake until golden brown, approximately 12-14 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack.

(If you want pretzel bites, just roll your 24″ piece of dough and snip it into bite-size pieces.  You can place one batch at a time into the boiling water, then continue as you would making regular pretzels.)


26 Comments leave one →
  1. grandy permalink
    February 1, 2010 3:07 am

    They look so good! I love soft pretzels…so does Poppy..

  2. February 1, 2010 8:18 am

    Yay, I’m so happy for us! We did it! And it was so much easier that we thought! The three of us rock!

    Your pretzel and pretzel bites look fantastic. My cinnamon sugar one looks like it’s on steriods. :(

    Coating them in butter was a brillant idea and thanks for the reshaping tip. I included it in my printable recipe page.

    Thanks for baking with me Michelle. I’m looking for to this month’s challenge!

  3. February 1, 2010 8:23 am

    Ha! I love that we posted the same thing and not a common recipe! Love yours too:)

  4. February 1, 2010 8:36 am

    Your pretzels look perfect! And now I wish I had a never ending bowl of pretzel bites. I will definitely make these again, great choice Michelle. Next time I will trythem bite size like your Sam likes.

  5. February 1, 2010 11:42 am

    YES! I have been dying to make pretzels – I think I’ll use some dried unions in the place of sea salt as I am on a low sodium diet. Cannot wait to dip theses into some delicious mustard. Wowee, I’m literally drooling just thinking about it!

  6. Jacqueline permalink
    February 1, 2010 12:42 pm

    What a coincidence that I myself made pretzels today too! That is just so exciting. I hope yours came out delicious (they certainly look like they did!) I couldn’t resist leaving a little message when I saw on tastespotting how someone else was one the same page as me today!

    Have a lovely day!


  7. February 1, 2010 2:47 pm

    Awwww, I’m so jealous!! I wish I could have participated with you three hahaha. That’s so cute! Your pretzels look amazing. I like the idea of using butter instead of an egg wash. You also don’t have to waste eggs haha.

  8. February 1, 2010 5:28 pm

    These look so good! I really want to try to make pretzels! And now all I can think about is some warm, salty pretzel bites dipped in some nacho cheese.. Mmm.. Too bad it’s midnight!

  9. February 2, 2010 2:41 am

    i wondered what was going on and why i was seeing so many pretzels–not that i mind, of course. give me a tub of mustard and i’m all set to go. perhaps a cinnamon-sugar version is in order for me… :)

  10. February 2, 2010 4:46 am

    Yah! So fun. Pretzels are so delicious and who can beat a hot one right from your oven! I bet those pretzel bites were so pop-able!

    What a great recipe to start with, love it!

  11. February 2, 2010 1:15 pm

    Oh yummy! They look to die for!

  12. February 3, 2010 1:41 am

    Nice! Great idea to use the melted butter……ohhhh you could even infuse that butter with some flavor too. I could see how it would be very hard to stop eating these!

  13. February 3, 2010 2:26 am

    Pretzel bites = genius!

  14. February 3, 2010 12:11 pm

    Seeing all these soft pretzels makes me want some! I live them sliced open and spread with really good chilled butter- really bad but so good!

  15. February 4, 2010 9:36 am

    Okay, I’ll cop to it. The first time I made these I ate the whole batch (and subsequently felt a bit sick to my stomach the rest of the night) by mySELF and blamed it on my unsuspecting 2 and 3 year olds. I had to make a second batch when my husband came home and could still smell them but couldn’t find them anywhere. I LOVE this recipe! Yours look truly beautiful! And making them bite size, BRILLIANT! Can’t wait to (and really probably shouldn’t) try it!

    P.S. To the previous poster who can’t top them with salt. . . . they are really, really, I mean, REALLY, good with sesame seeds on top. Mmmmmmmmm.

  16. February 5, 2010 3:14 am

    Michelle, the kids and I went to the mall and got Auntie Annies pretzels and you know what? She’s got nothing on us! Ours were just as good if not better! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  17. February 5, 2010 12:21 pm

    I’m going to make these, but only have rapid rise yeast. (We’re snowed in at the moment so going to the store is not an option) Do I add the yeast to the flour and then add the water and skip the first rise? I’ve been trying to read up on this but I am not sure. Let me know if you have any ideas!

  18. oneordinaryday permalink
    February 5, 2010 12:30 pm

    Hi, Sherry. I did some looking around and found some info at Land o’ Lakes. Here’s what it says about yeast substitutions:

    Substitute 1 (.0.6-ounce) cake of compressed yeast for 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast.
    Substitute 2 1/4 teaspoons quick rise, bread machine yeast or instant dry yeast for 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast.

    I hope this helps and that you get to make the pretzels while you’re snowed in. They are soooo good and would be perfect for this darn snowstorm! : )

  19. February 5, 2010 12:36 pm

    Thank you! Now, do I continue on with the recipe as written? I don’t do anything different do I?

  20. oneordinaryday permalink
    February 5, 2010 12:41 pm

    The Land o’ Lakes site didn’t say that you needed to treat it any differently, so I’d say that you should be able to follow the recipe otherwise and just sub the amounts of yeast as directed. Good luck. Come back and let me know how it works out!!!

  21. February 5, 2010 12:44 pm

    You’ve been a huge help! And I will definitely let you know how they turn out!

  22. February 5, 2010 3:32 pm

    Wow! They turned out superb!!!! They are so much better than any pretzel you can buy. The authentic pretzel taste is great. I made a few bite size ones along with the regular and they’re both great. I’ll post about it soon so you can check it out over at:

    Again, thanks for your help! And I’m in love with this recipe!

  23. prettysongbook permalink
    February 15, 2010 2:53 am

    I can’t wait to try this recipe!! 10 c. water?

  24. oneordinaryday permalink
    February 15, 2010 5:03 am

    Prettysongbook ~ The 10 c. of water is combined with the baking soda. That’s what you use for boiling the pretzels before baking. Hope you enjoy them… we sure did!
    ~ Michelle

  25. February 18, 2010 3:59 pm

    Pretzel seem to be all around me of late. After reading your post and seeing your gorgeous pix I decided it was time to finally make some. A total hit and easy to make too ! Thanks for the inspiration.

  26. barrypiatoff permalink
    June 15, 2013 3:23 pm

    Reblogged this on Barry Piatoff@WordPress.

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