These homemade pretzels are a pure delight! They are soft, a tad salty and bring all those street vendor memories back! Pretzels are made with a simple bread dough but the twist to making them taste like a ‘pretzel’ is the way they are baked! They are first given a bath in baking soda which creates a chewy interior by forming a crust on the outside, before placing them in the oven to bake. This gives the crust a head start on the baking while keeping the interior soft and light.
Making homemade pretzels is fun and way easier than it looks! If you have any experience in making bread than you can definitely tackle the pretzel! I’ve also added many pictures to help guide you along the way so there’s no need to panic!
Pretzel Making Tips
- Always keep your dough covered with plastic wrap or use a clean dish towel while you are working. Too much air exposed on your dough will create a skin.
- When working with yeast, you need to let your dough proof or rise until doubled in size. Most recipes give an approx. time of 1 hour. This time may differ for you as no two homes have the same temperatures. Use the 1 hour as a guideline, although it could take less time or even up to 2 hours. Don’t panic if it’s taking longer, the dough just needs more time.
- Careful not to overboil your pretzels in the baking soda bath. Once the dough puffs up, flip the pretzel over and let both sides boil for a total of approx. 30-40 seconds.
- Don’t overcrowd the pretzels in the baking soda bath. Use the largest, widest pot you have and add 1 or 2 pretzels at a time. The more pretzels you add the harder it is for the water to boil around the dough.
- If the water is boiling too hard while the pretzels are in the bath, turn the heat down (just a little) so you can see what’s happening to the pretzels. This will avoid overboiling.
- Don’t leave pretzels while boiling, always keep an eye on them.
- Use a large slotted spoon to remove the pretzels from the water bath.
Homemade pretzels are best enjoyed the same day – right out of the oven! To store leftover pretzels place them in a large airtight container with space between the pretzels. The moisture from the salt will evaporate so don’t be disappointed when you reach for a pretzel and the salt is gone. Re-heat pretzels in the oven at 350˚F for approx. 8 minutes.
- 2½ teaspoons active dry yeast (or one package)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup warm water plus 1¼ cup warm water, separated
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 3 - 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons baking soda
- For the Topping
- 1 egg beaten
- 2 teaspoons flaked sea salt
- In a large bowl add yeast, sugar and ¼ cup warm water. Let sit for approx. 10 minutes or until mixture is frothy.
- Stir in the remaining warm water (1¼ cup) and the oil.
- Add the 3 cups of the flour and salt to make a sticky dough.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes (add the ½ cup of the reserved flour if the dough is too sticky to handle).
- Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest until doubled in size; approx. 1 hour.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Once dough is doubled in size press the dough flat and cut into 8 equal pieces.
- Roll each piece into approx. 18 inch ropes. Form ropes into pretzel shapes; make a 'U' shape with the rope and cross the top ends over each other. Now, cross them one more time to make a twist, then fold the twist back down to form a pretzel shape. Stretch out the dough as needed (use images above for a reference). Place pretzels on prepared baking sheet. Cover with a clean tea towel (or plastic wrap) and let rest for 15-20 minutes in a warm place.
- Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add baking soda.
- Carefully add 1- 2 pretzels to the boiling water. Boil for about 30-60 seconds turning over once until they are puffy (don’t over boil them or they will go soggy). Use a slotted spatula to carefully remove the pretzels. Transfer the pretzels to a wired rack or place them back on the prepared baking sheet.
- Once all pretzels have been boiled and are cooled transfer them back to the baking sheet.
- Preheat oven to 400˚F.
- Make an egg wash to brush the tops of the pretzels; in a small bowl add egg and mix approx. 2-3 teaspoons of water and whisk together. Brush the tops of the pretzels with the egg wash and sprinkle salt on top.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and pretzels sound hollow when tapped.
- Serve warm.
- ¼ cup mayo
- ¼ cup liquid honey
- ¼ cup seeded (dijon) mustard
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together until well incorporated.
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