Recipe | The BEST Soft Pretzel You'll Ever Eat!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012


I attribute my deep love of good soft pretzels to the few years we lived in Germany when I was little.  There was a little bakery in our village that made salzstangen,  more like a salted breadstick/pretzel, and it was my favorite treat.  I have memories of eating them on my walk home from school.  Sometimes I would get to bring one to school for a snack and I looked forward to it all day.  Of all the things I bake and cook for my children, soft pretzels are at the very tippy top of their list of favorites too.  I began making them from scratch a couple years ago {blogged about them here} and since then I've tinkered a bit with the recipe I was using and now have what I believe to be the most perfect soft pretzel.  They do take a couple hours, from start to finish, to prepare and result a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, but let me assure you THEY. ARE. WORTH. IT.   It's a special treat. You'll oooo and ahhhh with every bite, I promise!    

PRINTABLE RECIPE

Homemade Soft Pretzels
1 1/2 cup warm water {the water temp should be 110-115 degrees in the bowl}
1 pkg dry yeast {make sure it hasn't expired!!}
2 TBS light brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
Toppings:
1/2 stick melted butter + 1 tsp sugar
cinnamon + sugar {optional}
kosher or pretzel salt for garnish

Sprinkle yeast and brown sugar over warm water in a mixing bowl.  Combine gently and quickly with your fingertips and wait about 5 minutes.  I watch closely to make sure yeast activates.  It will start to bubble and foam up.  You want to make sure it happens before proceeding.  If your yeast doesn't properly activate, your dough will not rise sufficiently.

Add flour, salt, melted butter and knead with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.  Start on low to combine ingredients and then move up to medium speed. Knead until dough pulls away AND is smooth in consistency. Don't over knead.  I do find the dough pulls away from the bowl quickly, but I knead it a little bit longer to get it gorgeous and smooth. {Somewhere between 3-5 minutes} Then remove dough from the bowl, clean out the bowl and oil it with vegetable oil.  Place the dough in the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Place it in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour.



Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Once dough has risen, turn it out onto an oiled board.  Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough in half, and then each half into 4 or 5 equal portions.  One at a time roll into a skinny rope, make a big U and twist the center twice into a pretzel.



Place onto parchment lined baking sheets.  I oil the parchment sheets too.  Bring 10 cups water and baking soda to a boil in a large pot. Working with one pretzel at a time, drop into the water/baking soda bath for 30 seconds, the return to the baking sheet.  Once you've done this for each pretzel, place them in the oven to bake for 10-12 minutes.


Remove them from oven, dip in melted butter and top with salt or dip into a cinnamon and sugar mixture.  



You can also make sticks!



36 comments:

  1. Yum! Do these stay a day or two (if hidden!)?

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    1. Ha! Nothing beats them fresh from the oven! Ours usually don't last beyond a day, but you can keep them in an air tight container at room temp. and they still taste great the next day. I've tried freezing them and haven't had much success. They still taste great but they look kind of strange. (I didn't butter them before freezing). you will have to hide them if you want them to last beyond a day. i'm serious. :)

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  2. Can't wait to try these. they look delicious. thanks for sharing!

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  3. Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to make them for my boys.

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  4. Who needs Auntie Anne's pretzels when you can make your own like this? These look wonderful!

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  5. I made these today and can vouch for the title of this post - they are INDEED the best soft pretzel you'll ever eat! So easy and beyond delicious!

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  6. Soft pretzels are king (second only to cheesesteaks) in my hometown of Philadelphia :) Made them from scratch a few years ago and agree that they are one of my most favorite home-baked goods. Will be trying your recipe soon! YUM!!

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    1. please let me know what you think when you do. sounds like i need to visit philly!!

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  7. Tessa, thanks so much for sharing! I made these late this morning (with the help of my girls, ages 2 and 4). We had a hard time deciding which to eat first, but went with the salted ones. Yummy!!! I did sneak a bite of the cinnamon sugar batch and those are just as good. I really enjoy your blog for the house ideas, recipes and boy topics (I consider my little fellow more baby than boy, but still...). Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Clara

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    1. so awesome! and so fun to include kids in the kitchen {most of the time. ha.} a very happy new year to you too!

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  8. Happy New Year Tessa! Just wanted to take a minute to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. Yours is one of my absolute favorties! I'm excited to try your pretzel recipe, hope I have the patience and skill to see these through :) Thanks for posting the recipe.

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    1. thanks, christy! what kind words, i appreciate you reading! good luck with the pretzels, you can absolutely make them!! xo

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  9. Happy New Year and thank you for the recipe! Sounds perfect (and much better than the frozen ones I buy and put in the oven, cough cough).

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    1. you're welcome! happy new year to you too!!

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  10. Oh yummy! What a great and versatile recipe! YUMMY !

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  11. Yum! Making these tomorrow. Can't wait.

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  12. Yum! Making these tomorrow. Can't wait.

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. My husband visits Germany 2-3 times per year for his job and I've joined him on occasion. We discovered the joy of a fresh-basked pretzel on our first trip there and I've thought about making some ever since but have never followed through. Maybe I will now!

    Thanks so much for sharing all of your wonderful recipes. Your love of cooking & baking is enviable!

    Happy New Year!

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  15. Happy New Year, Tessa! Can't wait to try these, especially the cinnamon ones. This is one of the things my husband dearly misses from home...fresh pretzels dipped in mustard and brats on a hard roll! Thanks for sharing. Also, am enjoying the pics of your pretty kitchen. Love every bit of it! Well done!
    Michelle

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  16. Hi Tessa, we made your pretzels last week, and everyone loved them so much that we're making them again tonight! Quick question for you, are you pleased with your new oven? We're building a new house, and I love the concept of dual fuel and the price of the GE cafe.... Would you recommend it? Your input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much and keep blogging-- your's is my fav!!
    Meg in VA

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    1. so glad you loved the pretzels! and yes, we are happy with the GE cafe stove. the oven is very accurate, everything cooks evenly and a bit on the fast side. {maybe my old oven was just slow!}. so far, so good!! it wasn't installed level, but that has more to do with the installer than the range. also, the oven fan is noisy but it doesn't bother me. xo

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  17. Making these tomorrow! We love pretzels : o ) Thank you so much for sharing your recipe!

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  18. Just made these today! They were ready right at dinnertime (unplanned) so we had a pretzel feast for our meal...delicious! We did both salted and sugared ones. I had my 2 and 4 year olds help, too, which was fun for them. Thanks so much, Tessa! I bought leeks and potatoes today, too, and will be trying the soup tomorrow :) :)
    Eileen

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    1. yay! i bet the girls thought you were a rock star mom too! beware, you'll get lots of requests for them from now on. hope you like the soup too!! it was fun seeing you at the park on friday, you left just in time, the boys were COVERED in mud by the time we left. xo, Tessa

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  19. Oh, I can't wait to try this! I bake bread pretty often, but have never tried pretzels. Thank you for the detailed instructions...I can't wait to give it a whirl! Love your beautiful photos as well!

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  20. your terrific! ive been trying all sorts of recipies, even one from the munich spatan beer site and it was terrible. so thankfull you have shown me the proper way. they turned out so perfect i cant beleive it. xoxoxoxxoXOXOXOX

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  21. These are way better than Auntie Ann's. I made mine with olive oil and they rose for an hour and a half. I just finished making them. Yumm and delicious. These are truly the best I have had.

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  22. They can be frozen with some tricks and come out great.

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  23. These just came out of my oven half an hour ago... and they're gone. For the win, Tessa!

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  24. Great recipe Tessa! I love soft pretzels and these came out nice. I hope you don't mind, but I have a couple suggestions for you. I like to add a 1/4 cup brown sugar and a tablespoon of vanilla in the yeast/water bath. This created a "fuller" flavor. I also like to bake the baking soda at 450 degrees for 15 minutes before adding the boiling water. This created more of a Philadelphia style pretzel.
    Thanks again!

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  25. Delicious recipe Tessa! I have a couple ideas I'd like to pass on to you. I like to add 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract into the water bath. I also bake the baking soda in a muffin tin at 450 degrees for 15 minutes before adding the boiling water. This creates a pretzel that is kind of a hybrid between the sweet Amish style and salty/savory Philadelphia style.
    Thanks for the recipe!

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  26. Hi Teresa,

    Great recipe here, anyway, may I ask about the recipe's portion for 4 1/2 cups of flour, how many pretzels or sticks you can get?

    Ive just want to make around 2 cups of flour, and is it use 2/3 cup of baking soda?

    thanks :)

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  27. Hi again :)

    just read it again, about the baking soda bath.. so sorry!

    thanks

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