How to Make Soft Pretzels
Community Tested There's nothing like a big, chewy soft pretzel, complete with twists and a salty crust. Soft pretzels are classic street food fare, but you can easily make them at home. Read on to learn how to make soft pretzels from scratch.
Making the Dough
Proof the yeast. Mix the 1 1/2 cups warm water, sugar and 2 tablespoons kosher salt in a large mixing bowl. Open the package of yeast and pour it into the mixture. Let it sit until the yeast starts to foam, about 5 minutes.
Add the butter and flour. When the yeast has started to foam, pour in the melted butter and add the 4 1/2 cups of flour. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture until the dough comes together. Start mixing faster, working the dough in circles and folding it over when necessary, until the texture of the dough becomes smooth and it begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- If you have a stand mixer, you could use the dough mixing attachment instead of doing it by hand.
- Doing this step by hand will probably take about 10 minutes, but if you use a stand mixture, it will take about 5 minutes.
Let the dough rise. Coat a large mixing bowl with oil. Form the dough into a ball and place it in the oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place it in a warm area in your kitchen. Let the dough sit in the bowl and rise until it has doubled in size, about an hour.
- If you want to use the same bowl you used to mix the dough, remove the dough from the bowl and clean it out, then oil it and return the dough to the bowl.
- You can let the dough rise overnight in the refrigerator if you'd like.
Shaping the Pretzels
Separate the dough into equal pieces. Depending on how large you want the pretzels to be, you could divide the dough into 8 - 12 equal pieces. The larger the pretzels, the softer they will be on the inside. Smaller pretzels will turn out firmer and crispier.
Roll out the dough pieces. Place a piece of dough on a floured work surface. Place your hands palms-down on top of the dough. Use your hands to roll the dough into a long rope shape. Keep rolling until you have a rope that's about 20 inches (50.8 cm) long. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
- The question of how long to make the dough ropes is up to your personal preference. If you like pretzels with thin loops and large holes, make the ropes longer and thinner.
- For plumper pretzels, stop rolling when the ropes are about 18 inches (45.7 cm) long.
Shape the dough into pretzels. Lay a dough rope on a work surface in front of you. Shape it into a U. Cross the two ends of the rope over each other. Press the tips onto the bottom of the U. Use your fingers to pinch the tips a bit to make sure they stay in place. Repeat with the remaining dough ropes.
Cooking the Pretzels
Get ready to boil and bake the pretzels. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, and line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper. Coat the parchment paper with a little oil to keep the pretzels from sticking. In a large pot, bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a boil.
Make an egg wash. Place the eggs in a bowl and beat them lightly.
Boil the pretzels. Place a pretzel in the boiling water and allow it to cook for 30 seconds. Use tongs to remove the pretzel from the water and place it on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pretzels.
Glaze the pretzels with the egg wash and sprinkle them with salt. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush some beaten egg on each pretzel. Sprinkle the pretzels with pretzel salt or kosher salt. You can also add garlic salt, sesame seeds, black pepper, and other flavorings of your choice.
Bake the pretzels. Place the pretzels in the oven and bake them for about 15 minutes, until they turn golden brown. If you like hard pretzels, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake the pretzels for an extra 15 minutes.
Serve the pretzels. These soft pretzels are delicious with honey mustard sauce, cheese sauce, or simply on their own. Serve them hot. You can freeze the extras and reheat them in the oven to enjoy them at a later time.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 10 cups water
- Vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Pretzel salt or kosher salt
- Do not add too much flour; this will spoil the texture of the pretzels.
- Buy Kosher (coarse) salt at any grocery store.
- Try adding a a butter and cinnamon sugar coating on top.
- If you don't want to use an egg wash, olive oil also works. Butter is okay as well if you want it a little crispier.