Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Handmade Soft Pretzels

There is no story behind making pretzels…. I just really wanted to make pretzels. I adapted this recipe from Alton Brown’s “Pretzel Logic” show – but I made a few changes. First of all, I used kosher salt instead of pretzel salt. And I also made a small batch of pretzels with powdered garlic and Parmesan on them. I must say…. these are AMAZING! But sister just had one of the pretzels from the first batch and she exclaimed how she couldn’t believe I made these from scratch and she thought they were better than the ones you can get for a mall. Making the pretzels was very similar to how one makes bagels, so…next up…. BAGELS!

Handmade Soft Pretzels


  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt

  1. Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using a spatula, mix until well combined. 
  2. Continue kneading for about 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
  4. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
  5. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly 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, 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 onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
  6. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. 
  7. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.


ShellyH said...

Welcome to the foodie blog roll! I love to make homemade soft pretzels and then freeze them. I will have to try out your recipes :)

dugrrr said...

Getting picked up by Saveur.com! Quite an honor. I'm glad I know about your blog now- great recipes.

Katherine Martin said...

Thank you for letting me know! I didn't even know I was on Saveur.com.... but it just made my evening/day!

Sparty said...

Pretty good for a wolverine. Love pretzels

Anonymous said...

Man, I made these the second I saw the photo! They were a wonderful texture... thanks for posting a recipe that was so easy to make!

My only problem with these pretzels is that they have a soda taste that overpowers the sweetness. I asked my chef friend about the purpose of so much baking soda in the water bath. She says it's necessary to keep the soft chewy crust of the pretzel, but felt that 2 or 3 tablespoons in the water would probably have done the trick. Next time I make these, I do believe they will be just right!

Unknown said...

I finally got around to making this over the weekend and it was great...one of my first baking successes. I would agree with the above poster about the baking soda....it was a bit powerful. And I had no skills in making mine as pretty as yours, but they were delish!

Anonymous said...

I am making these and will let you know how they come out. I went to a restaurant in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, The Lorelai, and had ordered a basket of pretzels...after dinner I had to have another....Been hankering for pretzels...thanks for the recipe yours look amazing.

Anonymous said...

Pretzels can be made on the grill. Watch the temperature and keep the lid closed. The smokey flavor is a plus.

Anonymous said...

I was able to make it without baking soda. Also, it wasn't used in the recipe at all.

Anonymous said...

If you make it without the egg, it turns out softer. Without the egg and with the baking soda. That makes it mildly chewy and extremely soft. Such a good recipe by the way. I'm Thirteen and I made it, so it was a good and easy recipe.


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