Soft Baked Pretzel Recipe

Say the words "soft pretzel" and it takes you back to hanging out at the mall on Saturday afternoon. The fresh, buttery smell of a hot pretzel is definitely a fan-favorite and you can easily make them right in your own kitchen with ingredients you probably have in your pantry. This recipe brought to us by recipe developer Miriam Hahn is not as hard as you think, and it will have you twisting dough like a professional pretzel maker very soon.

"My favorite thing about this recipe is how soft and doughy the pretzel insides are when biting into the golden brown, salted crust," Hahn remarks. She goes on to say, "This is a really fun recipe to make with kids to get them involved in the kitchen — kids love playing with dough and can have fun learning how to knead." Once you have the basic recipe down you can make other versions with savory spices like garlic or go the sweet route with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Gather your ingredients for soft baked pretzels

If you wear a baker's hat from time to time, we're betting you have all of these ingredients right in your pantry. What's better than realizing you don't need to run to the store when you get a soft pretzel craving? You will need active dry yeast, sugar, salt, all-purpose flour, butter, baking soda, and flaky or pretzel salt. Hahn shares that you can use non-dairy butter if you prefer and it won't affect the outcome. "There's an official pretzel salt out there if you want to mimic the look of Wetzel's Pretzels or Auntie Anne's, but I usually just use Maldon salt which is a flaky, natural, un-refined salt that is loaded with healthy minerals," she notes.

Prepare the dough

The first step in making these delicious pretzels is to make the dough. Grab a large bowl and mix the water, yeast, sugar, and salt. The mixture will get bubbly after about 10 minutes and this tells you the yeast is doing its thing. At this point, add half of the flour to the bowl along with 4 tablespoons of the melted butter. Hahn uses a Danish whisk to blend but says, "a standard whisk or wooden spoon will work just fine." Once the first batch of flour has been incorporated, add the rest and blend until you get it worked in.

Knead the dough

Now the fun begins. Transfer the dough to a clean surface like your countertop, or a large cutting board. Set a timer and knead the dough for 10 minutes (this is where you put your kids to work). If you are using a stand mixer, use the dough hook and mix for 5 minutes. After kneading, your dough should be smooth and soft. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray, place the ball of dough inside, and cover the bowl with a damp dishcloth. Put this in a warm spot for 1 hour and your dough should double in size.

Shape the dough

Preheat the oven to 450 F. After the dough has been sitting for an hour, remove it from the bowl and place it on large work surface. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and, working one at a time, roll the dough with your hands into a thin rope of about 24-inches in length. "To do this, just pretend your dough is a rolling pin and roll back and forth until you get a long rope," Hahn explains.

Now take each rope and form it into the famous pretzel shape. Start by making a horseshoe shape with the dough, with the open end down. Take an end in each hand and cross them towards the top half of the horseshoe to create a small circle. With the ends still in your hands, twist them another time and bring the ends up placing each one at a 45-degree angle from the top of the pretzel. Secure by melding the dough together. The pretzel should now be in true form, just upside down.

Flash boil the pretzels

One more quick step before we bake the pretzels and your house starts to smell amazing. Bring a large pot of water along with the baking soda to a boil. "You'll need about 10-12 cups of water," Hahn shares, "which is enough to fully immerse the pretzels." Once the water is boiling, place one pretzel on a large, flat spatula and dip it into the water for 10 seconds. When you pull it out of the water, let any extra water on the spatula drain off, then place the pretzel on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You will most likely have to use 2 baking sheets because you want an inch or two between each one.

"Boiling the dough is what gives you that chewy, dough we have come to know and love about soft pretzels. The baking soda in the water helps the dough to puff out while allowing the exterior to form a crisp outer crust," Hahn notes.

Bake and serve

Now your pretzels are ready to go in the oven. Pop them in and bake for 12-14 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. When they come out of the oven, brush them with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with your salt of choice. Serve the pretzels with mustard, queso dip, or this fabulous whipped feta dip. Hahn says the pretzels will last fine for a couple of days if kept in a Ziploc on the counter but the best-tasting soft pretzels are when they are still warm from the oven.

Soft Baked Pretzel Recipe
4.8 from 5 ratings
Skip the mall pretzels and opt for these fresh, delicious, and from-scratch soft baked pretzels.
Prep Time
1.42
hours
Cook Time
12
minutes
Servings
8
Servings
soft pretzel and mustard
Total time: 1.62 hours
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter, divided
  • ⅔ cup baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon flaky salt or pretzel salt
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Let it sit for 10 minutes until the mixture is bubbly.
  2. Add half of the flour to the bowl along with 4 tablespoons of the butter. Combine until the flour is incorporated, then add the remaining flour.
  3. Knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth. If you are using a stand mixer, use the dough hook and mix for 5 minutes.
  4. Spray a clean bowl with cooking spray and place the dough inside. Cover and put in a warm place for 1 hour. The dough should double in size.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
  6. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece into a 24-inch rope. Take each rope and form it into a horseshoe shape with the open end at the bottom. Now cross the ends to create a small circle at the top with a couple of inches of the dough rope hanging down. Cross these loose ends and bring them up to connect with the top part of the circle and secure to form a pretzel shape.
  7. Bring a large pot of water and the baking soda to a boil. Place each pretzel on a large spatula one at a time and lower them into the boiling water. Let them boil for 10 seconds and then set them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake 12-14 minutes, until golden.
  9. Melt the remaining butter and brush on the pretzels while they are warm. Sprinkle some flaky salt on each one and serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 300
Total Fat 7.9 g
Saturated Fat 4.7 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 19.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 49.6 g
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
Total Sugars 1.7 g
Sodium 5,038.7 mg
Protein 6.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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