I have good memories of soft-baked pretzels. These are the kind they sold at summer carnivals and ball games, the ones that – back in the day when I was smaller – were bigger than my head. They were always warm and soft, with a bit of a chew and just the right amount of salt. When I was younger, I liked them plain. But now they serve them at Harpoon Beer Hall with dipping sauces, and I like to try them all. My favorite so far are the garlic butter, and the icing for the cinnamon-sugar pretzel.
This was my first attempt at homemade soft baked pretzels. The process takes a while, with multiple rising, boiling, and baking steps. It was a good experience to try, but you must set aside a few hours to get through everything. After all the work, my pretzels weren’t quite like the classic soft pretzels I remember, but that only makes me want to try my hand at them again. If you have a favorite soft pretzel recipe, one that gives that characteristic ‘bite’ and chew to the outside, while being soft on the inside, share it in the comments below! I’d love to try it out!
Homemade Soft Baked Pretzels
Homemade soft baked pretzels that are warm and soft, with a bit of a chew and just the right amount of salt. Enjoy with some mustard!
Prep Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons (1 package) dry yeast
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Pretzel salt
- Combine the water and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for ~5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.
- Add the flour, salt, and butter and mix on low speed using the dough hook attachment 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 with cooking spray or 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 vegetable oil. Set aside.
- Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a large pot.
- 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 each pretzel on the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
- After shaping all 8 pretzels, place them 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 with the pretzel salt.
- Bake until golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Slightly adapted from: Homemade Soft Pretzels by Alton Brown