Homemade Soft Pretzels

PRETZELS!!!

If you decide to make these AH-mazing homemade soft pretzels, make sure someone else is home to help you eat them. I had to wait FIVE excruciating hours for Casey to get home and I SWEAR I almost locked myself out of the house TWICE so I wouldn’t eat more. When Casey finally arrived, I had a pretzel filled dinner waiting for him. For an appetizer, he started off with a plain pretzel dipped in hot mustard. His entree was a cheesy jalapeno pretzel with a few dashes of Tapatio. For dessert, he devoured a crispy cinnamon sugar pretzel. That’s right. Three courses of doughy goodness for my husband. That’s how we roll.

hello!

You should make these pretzels this weekend if you can! The active time is a snap and the inactive/proofing time can be spent cleaning up your kitchen or doing crunches while watching trashy TV. The bottom line: these pretzels are LEGIT and people will be impressed! I kinda feel like opening up my own soft pretzel stand outside our house featuring Honey Rosemary Lemonade. Wouldn’t that be awesome? I’m totally dreaming.

p.s.- Cross off another item from my 31 comes before 32 list. #15. Make my own soft pretzels!

And we’re off!  Brace yourself. Picture overload!

Not because it’s hard…just because I want you to see how easy it is!

Yeast, water, sugar…no big deal.

yeast, sugar, water

Flour & salt. In the mixing bowl.

flour salt

Foamy yeast! Melt some butter!

foamy

Pour yeast & butter into the flour.

pour into flour with the butter

Turn on your mixture with the dough hook and GO!

MIX

After about 4-5 minutes your dough is ready for proofing. Thank heaven for electric mixers!

MIX

Lube the bowl with vegetable oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Wait. Do something productive.

proof

After an hour, you’re ready! Make a TOPPING BAR.

toppings galore!

Plop the dough on the counter and cut it into 8 pieces.

EIGHT

Roll each of them out and make a U. U as in UNIVERSITY of Pretzels. I graduated with honors.

U

Pretzel. Real pretzel. It’s happening!

pretzel!

Keep at them. Put them on lined/lubed parchment line baking sheets. All eight of them.

pretzels!

Get a huge pot of water boiling with baking soda in it. Watch it bubble!

baking soda & water

Drop the pretzels in- 3 at a time. Boil for a minute.

boiling

Set aside and keep at them.

boiling in progress

Now we’re ready to top! I couldn’t find pretzel salt. I don’t even like pretzel salt! So I made up my own toppings.

in progress

Yolk them up!

yolking

Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of some.

cinnamon sugar

Load a few up with jalapenos & shredded cheese.

jalapeno & cheese

Add a little kosher salt to one…

a lil salt on this one

BAKE!

out of the oven

Hello 3 Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels and 1 Plain pretzel!

cinnamon sugar!!

And hello there…beautiful Jalapeno Cheddar CRUSTED pretzel.

hello there!

Let’s take a moment….

pretty much...awesome!

I burned my tongue on you…but DANG you were worth it!

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Makes 8

(recipe slightly adapted from Alton Brown)

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast (1/4 oz.)
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Pretzel Toppings:

  • cinnamon sugar (1/8 cup sugar + 2 teaspoons cinnamon)
  • shredded cheddar (as much as you want)
  • pickled jalapenos (as many as you can handle!)

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in a measuring cup and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the yeast mixture and melted butter into the flour mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. 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.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

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.

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 your toppings. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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51 Comments

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  • July 23, 2011

    yum yum yum!!

  • July 23, 2011

    I’m so glad you’ve posted this! Yummm

  • judy
    July 23, 2011

    oh my, those look delish! did you try a cheese dip (like the kind you get for nachos at the baseball game) i’ll bet that would be amazing (and healthy!)

    looks like you could be making bagels too (hmmm) – i love all bread products.

  • Margaret B. Higgins
    July 23, 2011

    Yes, yes, yes! I used to live in Munich where one of my favorite breakfasts of all time was Butterbrezel- a pretzel cut in half like a bagel and spread with unsalted butter. Doughy, a little salty and warm, it was perfect with coffee and OJ. Sounds different, I know- but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
    I’m currently planning an Oktoberfest (yes I am one of those people who starts planning *way* to early) and these pretzels will make perfect appetizers! Or maybe desserts? Or maybe entrees…

  • July 23, 2011

    Dude! A three course pretzel dinner is mad genius-style. Love!

  • July 23, 2011

    Those look like carb heaven. Question though – what if I don’t have a mixer that has a dough hook attachment? Can I mix everything with a wooden spoon and then knead by hand?

    • July 23, 2011

      Yes! It’s gonna take about 10 mins to knead it by hand. Good luck!

  • OMG! Pool food for tomorrow evening!! We’ve been making “special pool food” on Sundays since the kids are tired of fruit salad, fruit kabobs, and pretzels…….Yummy and THANK YOU!!

  • July 23, 2011

    never mind actually having a life and going out on a saturday night. i just made these, literally staring at them as i type, while they cool off. can’t wait to dig in :)

  • July 23, 2011

    Soft pretzels are the best! This is such a great looking recipe. Thanks!

  • July 24, 2011

    These look amazing. Now I want a 3 course pretzel meal!

  • July 24, 2011

    I would happily eat a whole meal of these pretzels! By the way, I love your blog and your decorating pages. Are there any websites or magazines you recommend for decorating/painting inspiration. I need to do some redecorating! Thanks!

  • Sophie
    July 24, 2011

    I spent the day with my friend in her kitchen making these. They were delicious! A new fav!

  • July 24, 2011

    What does the baking soda boiling do for the pretzels? (just curious) I will definitely try this… Again.. I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!

  • July 24, 2011

    I made pretzels once. I thought it was a fun project. I made mine smaller than yours. Now I want to bake up some pretzels!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The one’s you dipped in cinnamon sugar look just YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Marilyn
    July 24, 2011

    Rarely do I see a post and make it ASAP but that cinnamon pretzel is just screaming my name!!! I Love your posts Tracy : )

  • These look so pretty and so tasty!!

  • July 25, 2011

    yesss!!!! i’m glad this recipe only makes 8…because if it made more, i’d eat em all! sean doesn’t love soft pretzels–weirdo!–but, he loves jalapenos and cheese…so i’m pretty sure i could lure him into eating half of them :D

    • July 25, 2011

      The other half are cinnamon sugar, right?!

  • July 25, 2011

    Wow. You were right about these not being so tough. The whole boiling process seems to be the most difficult thing. Reminds me of the time I made bagels. I want these and I need these. Could you come over so that we can make them together? Sounds great.

  • July 25, 2011

    oh! I love pretzels, especially the soft ones! It must be really delicious.

  • Sophia
    July 27, 2011

    To Amina: i think the baking soda gives it that pretzel flavor in the crust. It’s unique to pretzels and sort of “zingy”. I made these on Sunday and as we sat and ate them, we talked about how the baking soda must give it that pretzel flavor. I would guess without the baking soda, they’d be more like bagels or just bread knots. I’m not a pretzel expert but that’s my two cents :)

  • July 31, 2011

    i made these tracy and my husband said i can never make them again because he will be 400 lbs. :) that means their goooood. thank you!

  • Jen
    August 2, 2011

    I’ve made the Alton Brown soft pretzels twice now, and both batches were awesome. Of course, now I can’t eat a non-made-from-scratch pretzel ever again.

    Personally, I like to keep my pretzels simple. They freeze really well; so when I’m craving one, I warm it up in the toaster oven (which takes only a few minutes), brush it with butter, and sprinkle some kosher salt on top. Yum.

    • August 2, 2011

      Next time…and there WILL BE A NEXT TIME, I’ll stash a few in the freezer. Thanks for the tip!

  • Caitlin
    August 5, 2011

    So I just baked these, and I had a few issues. First, I used PAM instead of vegetable oil. I sprayed the wax paper and lined my oven sheets. I used melted butter instead of eggs to coat the pretzels before I baked them. I put them in at 450, but after only 8 minutes I noticed my pretzels were burning. So much smoke in the house. They actually did not burn, but the wax paper did. The pretzels also all stuck to the paper and it was impossible to get all of it so I ended up just eating the tops of the pretzels. And the cheese melted but I didn’t really taste much of the cheese. Next time I bake these I will skip the paper, use egg, and turn the oven down some.

    • August 14, 2011

      Caitlin!

      What happened is that you used wax paper instead of parchment paper. The wax melts in the oven and should never be used. Parchment paper does not have any wax in it so it’s oven safe. Next time use the egg, keep the temp at 450 and use parchment paper. Hope that helps!!!

  • August 14, 2011

    I’m listening to the latest podcast of you and Ms. Joy and making these pretzels! I mean, what else would you do on a Sunday night?

    • August 15, 2011

      I can’t think of anything better! How’d it go??

  • Daniel
    September 2, 2011

    hi Tracy!

    i want to make this but it seems like 2/3 cup baking soda is a lot.
    did you meant a cup or a tsp?
    thanks
    Daniel

    • September 2, 2011

      The 2/3 cup of baking soda goes in the water, not the dough! It will help make the outside of your pretzel taste like a pretzel.

      • Daniel
        September 3, 2011

        I ate 3!! turned out beautiful and yami. even with my little Toaster Oven.
        and then i put them quickly in the freezer so i wouldn’t eat more.
        it is so great, i can’t wait to take it to work instead of buying in that awful bakery near work.
        two things, the taste is just a little bit bitter,especially on the bottom. is it because i kind of forgot them in the water for 2 minutes? oooppss.. is it because of the baking soda?
        the other thing is, do i need to absorb the water before putting them on the parchment paper?
        Thanks for that great recipe, this goes to my fav.

  • Jen
    September 18, 2011

    What would happen if you used fresh jalepenos?

    • September 18, 2011

      I don’t think they’d add the same tang that a pickled jalapeno would give. Plus they’d shrivel up more because there’s less water in them. It’s worth a try if you don’t have pickled. Let me know how it goes!

      • Jen
        September 20, 2011

        I will! I have a bunch of fresh jalepenos from my little garden outside that I have to use up, definitely think this will be worth a try!

  • helen
    November 1, 2011

    Made the plain ones this weekend with a cheesey beer jalapeno dipping sauce and they were awesome! Thanks for the recipe and inspiration!

  • February 1, 2012

    I am so excited because I have EVERYTHING for this recipe already in my pantry! This is at the TOP of my pregnancy cravings list!!

  • Alanna
    February 6, 2012

    I just made these and they are AWESOME! Thanks for sharing! I will definitely be making them again.

  • February 9, 2012

    recipe turned out great!! pretzels tasted even better than we expected. one recommendation though, parchment paper is unnecessary. We lubed it up like madmen, but all pretzels stuck to the paper. intensely. other than that, bomb!

  • February 12, 2012

    I’ve been eyeing these forever and I finally made them last night. Worth the wait!

  • Quina R
    February 12, 2012

    Showed kids and they want to make these this afternoon. Thanks for sharing!!

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