Everyone loves soft pretzels right? You know the ones you dip in hot melted cheese or slather with mustard while sipping a cold beer. Instead of waiting until you see a pretzel stand or get surprised to find them on an appetizer menu, why not make some homemade pretzels?
I’m not sure if its the chewy outer crust, soft center or that addictive salty flavor that makes these pretzel knots so special. But, I do know they’re easy to make and a recipe that you’ll definitely be saving.
Eat these soft pretzels plain or turn them into a sandwich bun. I’m thinking chicken salad, veggies with hummus, or a meat caramelized onion combo!! The possibilities are endless.
Ingredient for Homemade Pretzels
This homemade pretzel knot recipe is made up of four major parts– making and preparing the pretzel dough, shaping and boiling the knots, topping and baking them, and then choosing how to serve them.
Heres’s what you’ll need:
The Dough: Soft Pretzel Ingredients
- Active Dry Yeast – helps the dough rise and will first need to be activated.
- Granulated Sugar – helps to activate the yeast and add a touch of sweetness to the dough.
- Warm Water – must be between around 105 F (40.5 C) and 115 F (46 C ). This helps the yeast activate and binds the flour and other ingredients into a shapeable pretzel dough.
- All Purpose Flour – has less protein than Bread Flour and is the key for a softer pretzel dough texture. You can definitely use Bread Flour for this recipes, it will just create a chewier texture to the pretzel knots.
- Fine Grain Sea Salt – creates a nice flavor to the dough.
Shaping and Boiling the Pretzels
There are several methods to making homemade pretzels. Most commonly prepared by rolling the dough out to a long strand and forming into the traditional pretzel shape. The method used for this recipe creates a nice enclosed ‘knot’ that can be enjoyed for dipping or sliced for a sandwich.
Once your dough has risen, you will divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball, then into a 10-12 inch rope. The ‘knot’ technique is similar to tying a basic show knot without the final bow. Simply making an over and under knot then connect the two ends back under the pretzel.
After a short rest, each pretzel is then boiled in a baking soda bath. This step ensures the pretzels will have that signature tasty, slightly chewy, and shiny crust.
Preparing Pretzel Knots for Baking
The next step in your homemade pretzel adventure involves a light coating of egg wash, a generous sprinkling of coarse sea salt, and about 20 minutes of baking in a hot oven. Golden brown pretzels, covered in salt, warm from the oven can’t be beat!
Serving and Dipping Homemade Pretzels
The possibilities are really endless when it comes to enjoying a soft pretzel knot.
Here are just a few:
- Plain Pretzel Knots – sounds obvious, but sometimes salty bread with a cold beer is all you need.
- Mustard Dipped Pretzels – yellow, dijon, spicy, or full seed mustard varieties all add a great bitter contrast to the warm salty bread.
- Hot Cheese Dipped Pretzels – Yes, bread dipped in melted cheese is the ultimate treat. Extra sharp cheddar cheese dip is top on the list!
- Soft Pretzel Sandwich– just slice a pretzel knot and fill it with your favorite meats and cheeses. Breakfast sandwich with bacon and egg, chicken salad, or even a burger comes to mind.
Tips for Soft Pretzel Knots
- Weigh your flour with a kitchen scale. Baking bread is an exact science, so its best to measure perfectly.
- Cover the bowl filled with dough using a kitchen towel or with plastic wrap.
- Use a neutral oil for coating your bowl and work surface, I like to use safflower oil. But if you’re in a pinch olive oil without a strong flavor will work too.
- Put just enough oil on your surface to keep it from being dry. You will want it to maintain a little grip for rolling the dough into balls before shaping.
- Use a large slotted spoon or spatula to carefully transport the dough knots into the hot baking soda bath.
- While baking, if you notice the knots are browning more on one side, rotate the pans in the oven halfway through baking time.
- Place the pan of baked pretzels on a wire cooling rack and let them cool about 5 minutes before enjoying warm.
How do I store Homemade Pretzels?
Pretzels are considered a crusty bread and are best stored in an air tight paper bag for 2-3 days at room temperature. Make sure pretzels are completely cooled before placing in paper bag.
Soft Pretzel Knots
- 2 ¼ tsps Active Dry Yeast
- 1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
- 1 ½ Cups (375 ml) Warm Water 110 F
- 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter melted, warm not hot
- 4 ¾ Cups (595 grams) All Purpose Flour
- 2 tsps Kosher Salt
Baking Soda Bath
- 10 cups (2500 ml) Water
- ⅔ cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Course salt
- *Olive oil for surfaces*
- Combine sugar, yeast, and warm water into bowl of stand mixer. Gently stir. Let sit about 5 minutes until frothy.
- Meanwhile hand whisk together sifted flour and salt in a large bowl.
- Using dough attachment on mixer, start at a low speed. Add warm butter and then slowly spoon in flour mixture.
- Mix on medium speed until dough forms, letting go of the sides of bowl, wrapping around dough hook, but still attached to the bottom center of bowl.
- Once combined turn up to medium high for 3-5min. to knead the dough.
- Transfer dough to a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover bowl with kitchen towel and let sit for an hour in a warm location. Make sure dough has doubled in size.
- Meanwhile cover two pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with olive oil.
- In a large pot bring water and baking soda to a boil.
- Lightly rub oil onto a working surface and cut dough into 8 pieces. Make sure to weigh each piece to be accurate.
- Roll each piece into a 10-12 inch rope. Take rope and loop into a single knot. One end going through the center and the other end under and around to connect the pieces.
- Gently place each knot into the boiling water for 30 seconds using a spatula. Transfer to baking sheets.
- Brush knots gently with egg wash, using a soft pastry brush over top of pretzels. Sprinkle generously with coarse salt.
- Bake at 450 F (230 C) for 20-22 min. or until golden brown.