Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Soft Pretzels.

[Originally posted here on March 4, 2014.]

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. In addition to still dealing with the aftermath of a burst pipe in our basement laundry room last month, I was so sick last week that my husband had to take time off work to help with the kids and cart me to the doctor, and then everyone came down with a nasty cold, aaaaaaand Wil is teething.

But the new washer and dryer are here (in our partially gutted with-a-hole-in-the-wall laundry room), I'm feeling better, and one of Wil's teeth broke through, so, in celebration:

Homemade soft pretzel sticks.

A few years ago, I decided to try my hand at homemade pasta. Because I love pasta. I'd just bought this really great pasta cookbook, and it had a section on how to make your own pasta. I'd never done it before.....and I don't think I'll ever do it again. The whole attempt was a miserable, lumpy, spongey failure. So I ended up with about four and a half pounds of leftover bread flour, and no idea what to do with it, as all of my familiar recipes called for standard flour.

I don't remember how the idea of soft pretzels occurred to me, but I managed to find three or four pretzel recipes that called for bread flour. I no longer have the recipes I started with, but I took the basics and what I liked from each and put together this recipe, which I love.


You'll need:

For the dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 3 cups regular flour

For the soda bath:

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbsp baking soda

For topping:

  • 4 Tbsp butter & coarse salt, to taste, OR
  • 1 stick butter & cinnamon/sugar mixture, to taste

I didn't have my stand mixer back when I first started making these. I am utter crap at making dough by hand, but these pretzels were so good the first time that I made them again, and again, and again. But now that I have my stand mixer, which I LOVE, it is so much easier! I highly recommend getting a KitchenAid stand mixer if you don't have one already.....

Water, yeast, brown sugar, & salt.

Add yeast to warm water in your mixing bowl, stirring to dissolve; then stir in the brown sugar and salt.

Add flours.

Add both types of flour.

My KitchenAid Artisan at work.

Let your mixer do the work. (Or knead dough by hand on floured surface until smooth and elastic.)

So. Much. Easier, than by hand.

(I love my mixer.)


Doesn't look like much yet.

Cover and let rise.

Cover dough and let it rise 30-60 minutes.

It's a little bigger now.

I typically let mine rise about 45 minutes by the time I'm done preparing the soda bath.

Soda bath.

Add baking soda to warm water in a large bowl, stirring to dissolve.

Time to play with dough!

Pinch off a chunk of dough.

....Not a pretzel shape.

I figured out that first time I tried this that I cannot make a pretzel shape. Like, truly. I just can't. My ropes weren't long enough, or skinny enough, and they kept ripping, and my pretzels just looked like lumps. I mean, they weren't even knots. Just weird ropey lumps. So I gave up and now I just make pretzel sticks.

So, shape the dough into sticks. (Or, you know, pretzels. You probably won't suck as bad as I did.)

Take a bath.

Dunk shaped dough in the soda bath, shaking off excess water.

Apparently I also suck at making sticks of uniform size and length.

Arrange sticks/pretzels on a greased cookie sheet (or parchment paper, unless you live in an aparment with a crappy oven that burns anything and everything at every available opportunity and sets the smoke alarm off during naptime--have I mentioned how much I love the oven we bought when we moved?).

They're just unique, okay?  If they were all the same size, it'd be boring.

Let the shaped dough rise another 15-20 minutes, while your oven preheats to 450.

Baking time!

Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes, or until golden.


Done baking!

Butter makes all things better, so don't be stingy.

Brush liberally with melted butter.

Confession: I don't understand any kind of pretzel that isn't salted.

Top with coarse salt. (I've never had to buy pretzel salt--I used to keep frozen soft pretzels stocked, and every once in a while I'll buy and make one of those Auntie Anne's box mixes, and I've never used anywhere close to all of the salt provided in either case, so I have several remaining unopened bags of pretzel salt floating around my baking cabinet.)

Lookin' gooooood.

Salted pretzels!

One time, I did make half the batch cinnamon-sugar instead of salted. For that, dip the baked pretzels into melted butter, then dip them into your cinnamon-sugar mixture. But I just can't get behind anything but the classic goodness of buttery salted pretzels....

Full batch.

Makes about 18 pretzel sticks. Obviously depends on shape and size.

I'm drooling right now.

Best eaten while warm.

I can't tell if they look less weird or more weird on a plate.  I think I need to work on my stick-shaping skills, guys.

They're not quite as good reheated. All the same, I'm gonna wrap this up so I can go reheat a few pretzel sticks for dinner.

Soooooo. Goooooooood.

For your cut-and-paste convenience:

Soft Pretzels


  • 1½ cups warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1⅛ tsp salt
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 3 cups regular flour

Soda bath:

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbsp baking soda


  • 4 Tbsp butter (unsalted) & coarse salt, to taste
  • 1 stick butter (unsalted) & cinnamon/sugar mixture, to taste

  1. In mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water; stir.
  2. Add brown sugar and salt to water; stir to dissolve.
  3. Add flours to mixture; knead dough on floured surface until smooth and elastic.
  4. Cover dough and let rise 30-60 minutes.
  5. Prepare soda bath, combining water and baking soda in large bowl. Stir often.
  6. After dough has risen, pinch off chunks of dough to roll into ropes and shape. Dip shaped pretzel in soda bath and place on parchment paper or greased cookie sheet. Let rise 15-20 minutes.
  7. Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes or until golden.
  8. To top, either brush with butter and sprinkle with salt, or dip into butter and dip into cinnamon/sugar mixture.


No comments:

Post a Comment