Soft Pretzels

baking foodie gameday homemade snack softpretzels Jan 12, 2023

This is in my TOP 3 FAVORITE recipes!
I love a good, giant, soft pretzel. The kind you can find at the mall or Disneyland.

You can customize these by adding different toppings or trying different things to dip them in. Pizza pretzels, cinnamon-sugar pretzels, cheesy pretzels, etc.
But for me, I like plain old salted the very best.

Don’t be intimidated by all the steps. These are fairly easy to make but take a little time. Make sure to read my helpful tips below the recipe.

Enjoy and happy baking!

My Favorite Soft Pretzels

1 cup warm water about 110° (237 g)
2 Tablespoons yeast (17 g)
1 cup milk (244 g)
2 Tablespoons melted, unsalted butter (29 g)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar (8 g)
2 teaspoons salt (11 g)
4-5 cups AP flour (480-600 g)
4 cups water (946 g) approximately
6 Tablespoons baking soda (36 g)
More butter for brushing
Large sea salt crystals or cinnamon/sugar mixture (one part cinnamon, 4 parts sugar)

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, place the water and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Gently stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes until bubbly. (If you are using instant or rapid rise yeast you can skip letting it sit)
Add milk, melted butter, sugar, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Mix until well-blended.
Switch to dough hook.
Slowly add more of the flour, a quarter cup at a time, until the dough forms a ball and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the ball. It should slide mostly cleanly off the dough hook. The amount of flour will depend on your climate and humidity. Don’t add too much flour! As soon as you can handle the dough without it sticking to your hands it’s done.
On a floured surface knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes until it passes the window pane test.**
Place though in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic, and let rise for about 30 minutes until double in size.
Punch down the dough. Turn out onto your surface and divide into 8 equal parts.
Roll each piece out into very long rolls about 5/8”-3/4” thick and about 2 1/2’ long.
Start to make a heart shape, but cross the ends and press down into the bottom of the pretzel
Let rise about 15 more minutes until almost double in size again. I just let them sit on my countertop and cover them with a towel.
In the meantime, boil your water in a sauce pan, and carefully add the baking soda. Be careful it bubbles really hard after immediately adding the soda.
Place each pretzel into the boiling water and constantly spoon water over the dough for 20-30 seconds. Remove and place onto lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake at 460° (238° C) for 7-10 minutes until dark golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately brush with melted butter and sprinkle with either salt or cinnamon/sugar mixture. Let cool a few minutes before eating.

** The window pane test is where you pull a chunk of the dough off and hold it up to a window or bright light. If you can stretch the dough and see light through the dough before it tears, then you know it is ready. If it tears before you can see light, knead a couple more minutes and try again.

Helpful tips:
1-I prefer using instant yeast because it’s full proof and you don’t have to worry about properly activating regular active dry yeast. However, active dry yeast will work if your warm water is the correct temperature. 110° (43° C) degrees is perfect.
2-The amount of flour will vary greatly depending on your climate and humidity. Make sure you only add a little bit at a time until it cools cleanly away from the ball.
3-If you are having trouble forming the pretzel knot, check out my YouTube video posted here. You can also skip the traditional pretzel knot and do mini pretzel bites by simply cutting the ropes into 2 inch long pieces.
4-If you find your pretzels are bitter tasting, reduce the amount of baking soda and/or soaking time in the baking soda bath. I’ve never had a problem with this, but I’ve had a few people mention this to me when they have tried this recipe.
5-Pretzels are meant to be a dark golden brown. Don’t pull them out of the oven too early. They should be slightly hard on the outside and chewy on the inside.

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