Introduction: Sweet and Savory Soft Pretzels

About: Hi, I'm Éva from Hungary. I love baking, cooking, and gardening, not to mention the perfect combination: cooking using fruits and veggies from our garden. I often experiment with new ingredients and try to use…

Hello again,

Soft pretzels are certainly among the top 5 on my kids' wish list when it comes to after school snacks. They in fact call them theater pretzels as that was where they first tasted them. It turned out that they are not that difficult to make, not to mention that home made version is even more delicious and a lot cheaper, so it's a good choice to satisfy the hunger of starving kids getting home from school.

The basic recipe requires simple ingredients that I think can be found in the pantry of everyone who bakes once in a while. These are (I'm giving exact quantities in the next step):

1. Flour - plain flour is fine, but you may switch it partly to whole grain flour, and you'll see that I also added pumpkin seed meal in the savory for taste and color

2. Milk - I prefer to use milk as it adds tenderness to the dough, but water may be used instead.

3. Sugar - nothing fancy necessary, white granulated sugar is just fine, but if you prefer brown sugar, go for it. Sugar is not only needed in the sweet version, add a little bit to the savory to feed the yeast.

4. Salt

5. Yeast - I used fresh yeast as currently there is a shortage of active dry yeast here, but it also works.

6. Butter - softened, at room temperature.

7. Baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate) to be added to boiling water for pretzels to dive in before baking

8. Egg to be whisked with a tablespoon of milk to create an egg wash to be brushed on the pretzels before baking

Step 1: Ingredients

Savory version (pic.1.):

  • 280 g plain flour
  • 70 g pumpkin seed meal (optional, you may increase the quantity of flour instead)
  • 200 ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 20 g fresh yeast (or 5 g active dry yeast)
  • 30 g softened butter

Topping (pick your favorite one or more):

  • shredded cheese
  • sesame seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • pumpkin seeds


  • sour cream
  • chopped parsley
  • garlic oil

Sweet version (pic.2.):

  • 350 g plain flour
  • 200 ml milk
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 20 g fresh yeast (or 5 g active dry yeast)
  • 30 g softened butter
  • 1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • granulated sugar
  • cinnamon

Both versions - for cooking:

  • 2 liters water
  • 110 g sodium bicarbonate

+ 1 egg and a tablespoon of milk to make egg wash

TOOLS - Nothing special, really

  • baking mat
  • rolling pin
  • bowls
  • scale
  • pot
  • baking tray
  • spatula

Step 2: Dough - Proofing Yeast

No matter if you make sweet or savory pretzels, you should start off by proofing the yeast. If you are using fresh yeast, crumble the amount needed with your fingers or break it apart with a knife.

Put plain flour in the bowl of a stand mixer, make a well in the middle, pour in half of the lukewarm milk, add 1 teaspoon of sugar and the yeast. Using a spoon, cover the top of the milk with some flour. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let it sit until the yeast gets foamy (about 5-10 minutes).

Tips for yeast:

- If you are using fresh yeast, make sure it's really fresh: it should be moist, yet crumbly, its color should be ivory with no dark spots, its smell should be pleasantly yeasty.

- Make sure that the milk/water it is dissolved in is warm but not too warm. Hot liquids kill yeast right away.

- When working with yeast-risen dough, never add salt at the very beginning, as yeast and salt are enemies, it slows down - and may even stop - the process of rising.

Step 3: Dough 2.

Once your yeast has risen, add the rest of the ingredients, that is

for the savory (pics 1-3.)

  • pumpkin seed meal
  • rest of milk
  • salt
  • butter

for the sweet (pics 4-7.)

  • rest of milk
  • rest of sugar
  • salt
  • butter
  • vanilla

Equip the stand mixer with a dough hook. Mix on medium speed until the dough is soft and silky. Then transfer it to the kitchen countertop and form it into a ball (pics 8-9).

Step 4: Take a Rest

Transfer the dough into a bowl, put some flour underneath and on top. Cover with kitchen towel and put it in a warm place for about an hour or an hour and a half. Take a walk, sit down to read a book, watch an episode of your favorite series, anyhow wait till the dough doubles in volume (pic.3.).

Step 5: Prepping for Baking

1. Prepare boiling water solution. Pour approximately 2 liters of water into a pot, add 110 g baking soda, bring it to boil. Chose a rather wide than tall pot, it's easier to manage the pretzels.

2. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.

Step 6: Forming Sweet Pretzels

1. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.

2. Flatten with your fingers.

3. Divide it into 8 parts.

4. Roll each piece of dough into a ball.

5. Roll out each into an even rope - I wanted to make chubby pretzels, I made 45-50 cm ropes, if you are aiming at more orthodox pretzel-like pretzels, make at least 60 cm long ropes.

6. Make a U-shape.

7. Cross the ends and twist them once or twice.

8. Fold them over and press both ends a little bit with your finger.

Step 7: Forming Savory Pretzels

For detailed instructions check back on the previous step. It's the same method, obviously. I just love this beautiful green so I could not resist to share these photos with you.

Step 8: Cook

Now that we have the pretzels all lined up and the baking soda solution boiling, it"s time to give them a quick bath. Lower the heat to medium - low, gently submerge the pretzels into the water with a spatula and cook for 30 seconds.When they are ready, remove them from the water (tap the spatula against the rim of the pot a few times, but don't worry if they are not completely dry). Transfer them right away on a baking tray lined with silicone mat or parchment paper. Cook them all.


I actually had my stopwatch running to control cooking time.

Cook a maximum of two at the same time so that you don't lose track of which went in first ,,,

Step 9: Egg Wash and Bake

Prepare egg wash: whisk a whole egg with a tablespoon of milk, and brush the pretzels (both types).

This is the time to sprinkle the savory ones with topping. I used shredded cheese, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. Anything goes.

Bake them in the preheated oven for about 12-14 minutes. Cooking time may vary according to the oven.

Step 10: Tadaaaam!

This is how these beauties look like straight out of the oven.

Brush the sweet ones with melted butter and sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Irresistible!

Step 11: Enjoy

Serve the savory pretzels with a dip - I made an express one by mixing sour cream, chopped parsley and garlic oi. As for the sweet, at just as it is or with hot chocolate. It's best to eat them fresh (warm but not hot), and should be finished within 24 hours. I can assure you, they won't last that long.

Step 12: Bonus

... for those of you who had the patience to keep up till the very last step. If you’re bored with plain pretzels, stuff them!

We catch up at the point when ropes are ready... flatten them with your finger, put some cheese on top (I chose Gorgonzola but any cheese works) seal the edges of the rope with your fingertips. The rest of the steps are the same as normal: shape, cook, apply egg wash, sprinkle, bake until golden brown. Cheese actually leaked here and there, but no big deal.

I hope you liked it!

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