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Soft pretzels

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The Kitchen Paper

(Read caption) Why travel to the mall when you can make these soft pretzels at home?

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Soft pretzels were one of the very first real yeasty “bread” recipes I ever made, and one of the first recipes on The Kitchen Paper.

I’d never made pretzels before, but I knew they were fairly simple. After browsing a few different recipes, and watching Joy the Baker’s excellent video, I jumped right in. Easy stuff — and relatively quick! In a couple of hours I was munching on chewy, salty, mustardy goodness — and was all the happier because of it.

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I’m such a sucker for soft pretzels. This dough recipe can be loaded up with any topping – cinnamon sugar, icing, mustard, everything mix — whatever you want. Just make sure to brush with the egg, sprinkle liberally (including salt! always salt!), then bake to perfection.

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Surprisingly, these pretzels don’t take very long at all. With a 45-minute rise, then a boil and a bake, you can have fresh soft pretzels in just over an hour!

Soft Pretzels

1-1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F.) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, about 4-1/2 cups
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons milk
Pretzel toppings, including salt, smoked salt, cinnamon sugar, or anything you can dream of!

1. Combine warm water, sugar, and yeast in a large mixing bowl and allow to proof for 5 minutes.

2. When the mixture is foamy, add the flour, salt, and melted butter all at once. Mix with a dough hook, or knead by hand, for 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and firm to the touch. Dough should not be sticky.

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3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.

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4. Remove the risen dough from the bowl, and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 24-inch rope, shape into a pretzel, and then place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add baking soda, and then carefully boil each pretzel. They will puff up a bit, so make sure not to overcrowd your pot. I did two at a time, for about 60 seconds on each side.

7. When they are done boiling, remove the pretzels from the water gently and place them on the parchment-lined cookie sheet.

8. Lightly brush with the egg/milk mixture, and immediately top with your chosen seasonings. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until they’re browned and cracking open. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Related post on The Kitchen Paper: Apple pecan cinnamon rolls


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