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Published March 4, 2020. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
These delicious homemade soft pretzels are so easy to make at home that you’ll never buy them at the store again.
We oftentimes get caught buying stuff from the grocery store that is incredibly easy to make at home and taste far better when made homemade. These soft pretzels are no different. Just like homemade dinner rolls or homemade white bread, there’s nothing like it.
What Are They
Soft pretzels are essentially a bread dough that has been formed, parboiled in an alkaline water solution and is then baked until browned. They are indigenous to Germany as you may have heard them called German soft pretzels.
What Makes Soft Pretzels Brown
A few things make soft pretzels brown, they are:
- Boiling them in Alkaline water
- Brushing them with egg wash before baking, which is what you do in a beef wellington recipe as well.
Why Do You Boil Pretzels
When you parboil soft pretzels in the alkaline water, which is water boiled with baking soda, it gelatinizes the dough which helps to give it it’s harder brown outer crust with its tender soft insides.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Most of the ingredients for this recipe you likely already have at home, which include:
- Brown Sugar
- Unsalted Butter
- Sea Salt
- Baking Soda
How to Make Soft Pretzels
Add the water, brown sugar and yeast to a stand mixer and whisk until combined.
Let the mixture sit for 5 to 7 minutes or until a raft forms on top.
Add the hook attachment and turn the stand mixer onto low speed and add in the salt and melted unsalted butter.
Add 1 cup of flour at a time and then turn the speed to medium-low.
Knead for 5 minutes and then transfer to a bowl or container with a lid and let rest for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Remove the dough and evenly form into individual 24” long ropes and fold to make a pretzel shape.
Parboil the pretzels 1 or 2 at a time for 30 seconds into a large pot of boiling water with baking soda.
Remove from alkaline water solution and place on a cookie sheet tray lined with parchment paper or better yet a Silpat and brush with egg wash.
Sprinkle with coarse sea or Kosher salt and bake in the oven at 450° for 12-15 minutes.
What Goes Well With Soft Pretzels
Since these are more or less appetizer type foods, they go well when dipped into some of these recipes and alongside them.
Make-Ahead and Storage
How To Reheat: Place on a tray and wrap in foil and bake in the oven at 350° for 5-6 minutes or until hot. Likewise, you can also heat in the microwave until hot.
Make-Ahead: You can make pretzels up to 1 day ahead of time and reheat before serving.
How To Store: Keep wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
chef notes + tips
- Feel free to make the pretzels as thick or as thin as you’d like and also consider making pretzel bites or rods.
- When adding the water to the stand mixer I usually like to go a little hotter like 118° because the bowl is usually a little chilly and drops the temperature of it by a few degrees making it perfect for the yeast.
- You may need more flour when kneading the dough in the stand mixer. The goal is that the dough is very soft but not sticky.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
- 2 cups of warm water between 110° and 115°
- 1 ½ tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 packet active yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
- 3 ounces melted unsalted butter
- 5 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ¾ cup baking soda and 1 gallon of water
- 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tablespoon cold water
- coarse kosher or sea salt for topping
- Preheat the oven to 450°.
- In a standing mixer bowl, add in the water, brown sugar, and sprinkle on the yeast, whisk together and let it sit for 5 to 7 minutes or until it forms a foamy raft on top.
- Add the hook attachment and turn the speed to low and pour in the salt and butter.
- Add in the flour 1 cup at a time until combined and knead the dough on low to medium speed for 5 minutes.
- Add oil into a large bowl or container and place in the dough. Cover with a towel or lid and rest until it doubles in size, about an hour
- Before it is time to form the dough, bring the baking soda and 1 gallon of water to a boil in a large pot.
- To form the dough, take a small piece and roll it out until it is a 24” long rope. Form the dough into a U shape and holding each end cross over each other and pull down to make a pretzel with the ends slightly over the other part of the dough.
- Turn down the boiling water to a simmer and cook each pretzel dough 1 to 2 at a time for 30 seconds each and then place back on a cookie sheet tray lined with parchment paper or with a Silpat.
- Once all of the pretzels have been cooked in the baking soda solution, brush the tops with the egg wash and season heavily with coarse kosher or sea salt.
- Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.