In this instructable, I will show you how to make Homemade Soft Pretzels. This easy soft pretzel recipe is sure to impress your friends and family. They are quite similar to those found at the mall, sporting event, festivals, etc. They are really easy to make, if I can make them, you can make them. Let's get baking!
If you have any questions or comments, put them down below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Follow the easy steps below or watch the video tutorial, or do both! :)
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Step 1: Ingredients
- 2 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 3/4 to 7/8 cups of water (start with 3/4, add more as needed while kneading)
- 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup of Sugar (for less sweet, use 2 Tablespoons)
- 6/8 tsp of salt, can use a full tsp
- 2 tsp of Canola Oil
- 1/2 Cup of baking soda
- 4 Cups of Hot Water
- Kosher Salt
- 1 egg (optional)
***Makes 6 Soft Pretzels, double the recipe for more (except for the baking soda and 4 cups of water)
- Wooden Spoon
- Baking Sheet/Pan
- Dough Cutter/Knife
- Artisan Mat (Optional)
Step 2: Proof the Yeast
First we need to proof our yeast. To do this, we take our water (3/4 cup) and heat it up to about 110 degrees F. In my microwave, it takes about 28 to 30 seconds. Then we add our yeast, and a pinch of our sugar, about 1 Tsp. Then stir it with a whisk, and let the mixture set for 5 to 10 minutes until it gets nice and foamy.
Step 3: Add Oil and Sugar
Next we add our oil and our sugar. If you want a less sweet soft pretzel, only use 2 Tbs. of white sugar, if you like it more on the sweet side, use 1/4 cup which is basically 4 Tbs.
Step 4: Add Salt Then Mix in Flour
Now we mix in our salt with our flour, whisk it together, or sift it. Then we add the dry ingredients, little by little to our yeast mixture. Don't add it all at once! Save about a 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup to use to add in while kneading.
Step 5: Knead the Dough
Now we Knead the dough. I usually do just a few kneads in the bowl, then pour it out on the counter. I wipe the excess flour to the side, and start to knead. To knead stretch out the dough a little bit and then fold it over and push down with your palm, then half turn, and do it again. Do this for about 8 minutes. Or if you have a Stand Mixer with a dough hook, go ahead and use that. If your dough gets too dry, add a Tbs of water. You don't have to use all of the flour.
Step 6: Let Dough Rise
Once we are done kneading the dough will look like this. Then we take a large bowl and grease it with kitchen spray or oil. Now we take our dough and put it in the bowl, and wipe it around the sides a little bit so it gets lightly coated with the spray or oil. Next just cover it up with a damp towel. Then place it in a warm place to rise. Let it rise for 1 hr to 1.5 hrs. Until the dough has doubled in size.
Step 7: Prep Dough
Next we preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Now after our dough has risen beautifully, we take a dough cutter or knife and divide the dough into 6 equal parts, or if you doubled the recipe, divide it into 12 equal parts.
Step 8: Make Pretzel Shapes
Now we form the dough into our pretzel shapes. To do this we roll out the piece of dough into a long rope, 20 to 25 inches or so. It doesn't have to be exact. Then make a U shape, next fold of over the ends and pinch them to the sides. This is an easy pretzel shape. To make the more classic shape, when you make the U, take the ends together twist them, then fold them over and attach them.
Step 9: Dip the Pretzel Dough
Now we take our 4 cups of water and heat it up, it doesn't have to be super hot. Next add the baking soda and give it a good mix. Now we dip our pretzel dough into the baking soda water, and let it soak for 10 to 15 seconds. The reason why we do this is because the water mixture is what gives it the traditional pretzel look, texture, and taste. Another method is to let the baking soda water boil and place the pretzels in there for 30 seconds, but for this recipe the first way works just great. Then place the pretzels on a baking sheet that is greased or lined with an artisan mat. They will stick, unless you do that.
Here is an interesting article on Wikipedia about the History of the Pretzel.
Food grade Lye with water was originally used, and is still used today.
Baking soda works great however.
Step 10: Optional (Egg Wash Basting)
Now we can optionally baste the tops of the pretzels with an egg wash. (basically and egg beaten). I did it on 3 of mine, and left it off of 3 to show you the difference. Next add your kosher salt (Course salt). Next we bake them in the over for 7 to 10 minutes until they are golden brown.
Step 11: They Are Done!
Now our pretzels are done! Mmm they look amazing. If you notice the three that have the egg wash that was on them, has just a little bit more of a shine then the others, but they taste the same. Now you can also baste these right away with some butter. Make a cheese sauce to dip them in, or my favorite, a bowl of mustard. For a sweet variety, make sure to use the 1/4 cup of sugar in the dough, and then leave off the salt, and after baste with butter and then sprinkle with a cinnamon and sugar mix. mmm.