I might be slightly addicted to soft, warm pretzels however, I cannot stand paying upwards of $4 for one so I make my own instead! I have no idea where I first came across this recipe but they are without a doubt one of the best soft pretzels I’ve ever eaten. You can easily make a few batches of these and freeze them so you always have a pretzel on hand when the craving hits! Eat them whole or cut them up into generous pieces and serve them as an appetizer alongside different dipping sauces.
These are fairly easy to make however, it does take a little bit of time because they will need to proof for an hour before you can twist them into pretzel shapes. Speaking of shapes, don’t feel obligated to stick to the classic pretzel twist, try out making rods or even braids, all will be equally delicious! The most important step when making homemade soft pretzels is to give them a dip in a water and baking soda bath. This quick step is what gives the pretzels their delicious flavor, chewy texture, and lovely brown color. I have found that the baking soda solution will leave a residue behind on the pot therefore, I keep an old pot on hand that I use exclusively for making soft pretzels.
- 1 1/2 c warm water
- 2 tbs light brown sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
- 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt or Kosher salt
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Canola oil, to coat bowl
- 3 qts water
- 2/3 c baking soda
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Coarse sea salt or Kosher salt, for sprinkling
Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes. **Make sure the water is not too hot or you will kill the yeast, keep it around 105-110°F**
Add the salt and flour to the yeast mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, place on a flat surface, and knead into a ball with your hands.
Coat a large bowl with canola oil, add the dough, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot or oven set to “proof” until the dough doubles in size, about an hour.
Towards the end of the proof time, preheat oven to 425°F and bring the water to a boil in a large pot.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide into 8 equal portions and roll each piece into a long rope. To shape into a pretzel: Take the right side and cross over to the left. Cross right to left again and flip up.
Slowly add the baking soda to the boiling water. Boil the pretzels, two at a time, in the water solution for 30 seconds. Splash the tops of the pretzels with the warmed water using a spoon. Remove the pretzels with a large slotted spatula and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat™. Place no more than 4 pretzels on each baking sheet. Brush the tops of the pretzels with egg wash and season liberally with salt.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be frozen and reheated easily in a microwave for 45 seconds to a minute.
**Tip – Soft, warm pretzels go great with all kinds of dipping sauces including beer cheese, mustard, chocolate, hummus, and buffalo cheddar cheese**
Buffalo Cheddar Cheese
- 1 tbs unsalted butter
- 1 tbs all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3 oz cream cheese
- 2/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
Over medium heat, melt the butter. Add flour and whisk until a roux forms, cook for 1-2 minutes until slightly golden in color. Add the milk and turn heat to low, stir constantly until milk thickens. Add the cheese and continue to stir until smooth. Stir in hot sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.