Homemade Soft Pretzels (A recipe that anyone can make)

by Maris Callahan on March 8, 2010

Soft pretzel recipe

Whenever I don’t have immediate plans to eat in a restaurant, I am usually daydreaming about the great places I want to try: a BYOB that I read about in Grub Street Chicago, a great vegetarian place a friend told me about, a cute wine bar that I pass on my way from the bus stop to work.

Of course, when I have actual dinner plans and need to choose a restaurant, I can never, ever think of one, which results in an inevitable volleyball game between me and my lucky dinner companion of no you pick this time, I’m not good at this.

It turns out, I have a similar problem with recipes. When I’m home alone on a rainy Sunday I think, wouldn’t it be great if there was someone here to make a pizza with me? Flipping through a Bon Appetit that I cherry-picked from the newsstand while waiting on line at Walgreen’s, I wish I had a date to make risotto for because I don’t want to be eating the leftovers for a week. Perusing blog posts on my commute, I spot a tapas party menu and wish I had an excuse to throw a party.

Well, I should start reading my own blog, because these homemade soft pretzels that I stumbled on in my archives should be a mainstay for any twenty-something (or thirty-something or forty-something…and so on…) who wants to be able to produce a snack that will trick other people into thinking that you have kitchen skills that rival Emeril’s.

The prep time is not long at all, aside from the hour you need to let the dough rise. There are plenty of productive things you could use that hour for (like stalking your ex on Facebook!) so don’t let it deter you from trying these.

Also, a pro tip from me to you: use fresh flour. If you have a bag that’s been sitting half-empty in your pantry since your first post-collegiate grocery shop, toss it and buy a new one. The drier your flour, the drier your dough will be. Dry dough is more difficult to work with, not to mention will yield dry pretzels.

Trust me on that one.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Originally posted here

Ingredients:

1 tsp active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
1/3 cup warm water
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp baking soda
1 cup hot water (as hot as your tap can get)
Sea salt

Directions:

1. Dissolve yeast into water with a pinch of sugar, let stand 10 minutes, until the mixture is creamy colored. Mix the yeast mixture with flour, sugar, salt and canola oil, and knead until combined. Let the dough rise in a greased bowl until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. When the dough has risen, pinch off a handful and roll it out into a long strand. Set aside. Repeat with the rest of the dough, about 6 times. Once all the strands are rolled out, pick up the first one and stretch it out again (the gluten will have relaxed and it should stretch further now).

3. Working one at a time, twist each strand into a pretzel shape and place it on a baking sheet lined with silipat or cooking spray. Repeat with the rest of the strands.

4. Dissolve baking soda into hot water and stir until dissolved. Quickly dip each rolled pretzel into the mixture and place it back on the baking sheet. Sprinkle all the pretzels with sea salt, to your preference. Bake for about 8 minutes, until pretzels have browned.

Makes six medium-sized pretzels.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Heidi Renée March 8, 2010 at 3:21 am

I am so glad you reposted this, because I don’t remember it from before. I will have to make these this week–I love soft pretzels! I also love it when I come across a recipe that’s already vegan so I don’t have to convert anything.

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Girl Japan March 8, 2010 at 3:46 am

These look and sound fabulous.. I made my own too a while back, because finding a softy in Japan, fresh… No where to be found…
you did a fab job = )

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Renee or Kudos Kookies March 8, 2010 at 8:36 am

Makes me want to grab the yellow mustard and start dipping right away! YUM! LOVE big, soft pretzels.

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Lori @ RecipeGirl March 8, 2010 at 8:37 am

I’ve always wanted to make these. I think they’d be perfect for something like Super Bowl, right? We need to find you a man in Chicago!

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Daryl March 8, 2010 at 8:46 am

Oh boy those look as good to me now as last time. And oh- I love rainy Sundays!

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kat March 8, 2010 at 10:19 am

We’ve been wanting to make soft pretzels at home too. I want to try the kind where you boil them before baking, though that extra step means more time…

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marla@familyfreshcooking.com March 8, 2010 at 12:18 pm

These pretzels look great. I need to bake my own, I bet the house would smell awesome with these babies baking! Your blog is great, this is my first visit.

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thatShortChick March 8, 2010 at 3:18 pm

I am so that girl who can never decide on a restaurant when the time comes either. I can manage to keep a mental running list of all the places I want to try but then will draw a complete blank when asked!
as for the pretzels, all attempts at bread making in my house have gone poorly. very poorly. I would love to try these because I love a good, soft pretzel, but experience tells me that we (mom and me) would fail at this.

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Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) March 8, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Oh, yes, the yellow mustard is a must! I love pretzels, and could probably eat the entire batch by myself.

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Molly March 8, 2010 at 8:22 pm

as a philly girl, i think it’s a great idea to have a recipe for soft pretzels tucked away – YUM!

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mandy March 9, 2010 at 9:50 am

I’ve made this recipe before and it was wonderful! It was one of the first recipes I tackled from your site I believe. One can never go wrong with warm pretzels.

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Dana March 12, 2010 at 4:30 pm

I keep saying I am going to make soft pretzels because everyone in my family (including me) loves them. Glad to know they are easy!

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Kerstin March 12, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Homemade soft pretzels are on my ever to-bake list – yours look perfect!

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Heidi Renée March 12, 2010 at 11:09 pm

I just made these! Mine look completely ridiculous, but they taste SO good.

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Michael Cavinta August 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm

This is a perfect pretzel recipe. The measurements and the taste is exactly awesome. Thank you so much for sharing as I would definitely try this one out again. It really went well with a hot cup of coffee from my barista espresso machine at home. Kudos!

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Sawsan@chef in disguise May 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Hmmmm these look heavenly

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Linda August 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Hi!
I made them once and loved them!
I have a question. I could make only 6 small (maybe 3 x 2 inch) pretzels. I just could not stretch them any bigger. How big are yours (whoever made them)? :-)
I am just trying to figure out whether my dough is just not flexible or it is just a normal size (small). Thank you!

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Maris Callahan August 24, 2011 at 1:25 am

Linda, it’s been awhile since I made these but if I remember correctly, maybe 3 inches across? If your dough wasn’t pliable enough, your flour could have been dry, it could have been the temperature in your kitchen..a lot of things can affect dough (dry flour has happened to me before). Hope this helps!

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