Homemade Soft Pretzels

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 Sprinkle them with sea salt. Dunk them in mustard. These are the best homemade soft pretzels have a short proof time and minimal ingredients so before you know it, you will be devouring these in no time.

Homemade soft pretzels with mustard


 

Pumpkin beer. Cozy sweaters. Watching football on Sunday. All of them are so much better with a pretzel in one hand isn’t it?

Ok now I wish I could say that I have been to Germany and tasted the best pretzels ever. However, that is still on the bucket list. But when it comes to all things I crave in October. Pretzels is one of them.

But just because I haven’t been to Germany, doesn’t mean that I can’t get my twist on. Pretzel twist that is. So let’s get to twisting…

Why You Will Love These Pretzels

  • Simple Ingredients – These pretzels are made with simple, real ingredients. Nothing fancy at all here. I love making my own homemade version of things that if you bought them at a store would be full of, well things I can’t pronounce!
  • Make now, bake later – Pretzels can be a time consuming project. With any yeast dough, you always have the option that after they are shaped you can refrigerate them for their second rise and bake later.
  • Freeze! – Who says you have eat them all now? If you want to bake them all and freeze some go for it.

Ingredients Needed

  • Dark Beer – Or a light beer can be used, or just use water.
  • Brown sugar –
  • Yeast – I used active dry yeast but instant yeast also works.
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Salt
  • Baking soda – This is not used in the actual dough, but is used in the boiling step. You will add baking soda to the boiling water to help create that chewy crust.
  • Egg
  • Butter

Make the soft pretzel dough

 In your stand mixer with your dough hook attachment, proof the yeast with warm dark beer and brown sugar for about 10 minutes until it’s foamy.

Then add in your flour, salt, and warm milk. And knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic. You can test your dough with the windowpane test to see if you have kneaded the dough long enough. Simply pinch some of the dough and give it a stretch. If you have a beautiful window of dough then it’s good to go.

windowpane test - hands stretching dough

Then place the dough in a greased bowl. Be sure to give it a turn and let it rise until doubled in size.

This will take about an hour. Then it’s time to make some pretzels! Go get that oven pre-heated and a few cookie sheets ready with parchment paper. Let’s get to shaping the pretzels…

soft pretzel dough rising

Roll Out The Pretzel Portions

  1. Divide the dough into equal portions. Note: You will get 8 equal portions
  2. Roll each portion of dough into a smooth round ball. Again I like to bring up the edges of the dough and pinch to form like a little purse, flip over, and then roll the dough around on the counter with a clawed hand until smooth.
  3. Roll out each portion of dough. Keep the others covered while you are rolling out each portion. You will need to do this segments. Roll each one several inches then let it rest and work on another.
  4. Continue to roll each one to a long rope.

BAKING 101: The protein in the wheat flour is called gluten and it provides a stretchy network where the gasses from the yeast get trapped. If you try to roll out each portion all at once you will find it’s very difficult! The dough needs time to relax, to let the gluten relax, in order to allow the dough to be easily rolled out to such great lengths.

soft pretzel being divided and rolled into a long rope

Shape The Soft Pretzels

  1. Taper the ends of a rope. Bring the ends up to form a “U” shape.
  2. Cross the ends over each other to form a “X”.
  3. Twist the ends again.
  4. Then bring the tapered ends down to the bottom of the pretzel to secure at the bottom of the “U” shape.

HEATHER’S BAKING TIP: If the ends of the pretzel are not securing to the pretzel, just brush the pretzel with a little water and press down slightly.

soft pretzels being shaped

Proofing The Pretzels

  1. Place the shaped pretzels onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  2. Cover the pretzels and let rise for 10 minutes.
soft pretzels unbaked on a baking sheet

Boil the pretzels

  1. Boil 8 cups water and 1/4 cup baking soda to a gentle boil.
  2. Place 2 pretzels in the boiling water top side down, and boil for 30 seconds then flip over and boil for another 30 seconds.
  3. Remove each pretzel with a spider strainer and let the water drain off and then place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Brush each pretzel with the egg wash.
soft pretzels being boiled

Bake and coat the pretzels

  1. Bake the pretzels for about 10 to 13 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven to cool.
  2. Brush each pretzel with melted butter. Sprinkle with salt.
baked pretzels on a cookie sheet being brushed with melted butter

Recipe FAQ’s

Why do you put baking soda in the water when making pretzels?

Adding baking soda to the water is what will give your soft pretzels the soft and shiny crust. When you drop them in the water, it will cause the dough to puff and help to create that crust. It will also give the pretzels a beautiful color. Baking soda, is an alkaline which means it will cause the browning reaction to happen more rapidly.
It also adds that distinctive flavor. So let’s recap. Baking soda = chewiness, color, and flavor. In other words, don’t skip the baking soda bath.

Can I use baking powder instead of baking soda for the boiling pretzel step?

You can. However you will need to use about 2-3 times as much. Which means about 3/4 cup for this recipe. I don’t know about you but I don’t have that much baking powder on hand, but it is an option. Baking soda is cheaper than baking powder, so if I were you I would stick with baking soda.

How long do pretzels last?

Your pretzels will be good at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. Just keep them covered so they don’t dry out.
You can also freeze them in a sealable plastic bag and should keep for up to 6 months.

homemade soft pretzel with mustard

Pretzel Tips

  • When working with yeast, make sure the liquid’s temperature you are proofing it in is between 105 and 110°F. You can read all about yeast here.
  • If your dough is fighting you and stretching back, give it a 10 minute rest. Then go back to rolling it out.
  • Wrap the ends underneath the bottom edge of the dough so they stay secure when boiling.
  • When boiling the soft pretzels, boil only 1 to 3 pretzels at a time. Use a large slotted spoon to remove them so the excess water can drip off.
soft pretzel dunked in mustard

More Recipes To Try

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Easy homemade soft pretzels recipe – with short proof time and minimal ingredients!
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Snack
Cuisine: bread
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 large pretzels
Calories: 389kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (360 grams) warm dark beer
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) Active dry yeast
  • 5 – 5/12 cups (625- 688 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon (9 grams) kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) baking soda
  • 1 large egg (50 grams) lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter melted
  • Kosher salt for topping

Instructions

To Make The Pretzel Dough:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir together warm beer, brown sugar, and yeast. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • Add 5 cups (625 grams) flour, warm milk, and salt, and beat at low speed until combined. Increase mixer speed to medium-high, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, 5 to 6 minutes. Add remaining ½ cup (63 grams) flour if dough is too sticky.
  • Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F) until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

To Make The Pretzels:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray.
  • Turn out dough, and divide into 8 equal pieces (about 5 ounces each). Starting from the center and working outward, roll each piece into a log (2½ to 3 feet long and ¾ inch in diameter). Shape each log into a pretzel shape, and place on prepared pans. Cover and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat, and add baking soda. (Make sure pot is deep enough. Once you add baking soda, the water will expand an additional 2 inches.)
  • Drop each pretzel into boiling water-baking soda solution for 30 seconds per side. Remove from water using a large slotted spoon. Place back on prepared pans, and brush with beaten egg.
  • Bake until golden brown, 10 to 13 minutes. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with salt.

Notes

  • Make ahead:
    • Baked: Thesepretzels should be good for up to 2 days, covered at room temperature. 
    • Unbaked: Once the pretzels are shaped you can wrap up the cookie sheet and let rise overnight and then boil and bake the next day.
  • Boiling step: You can skip the boiling step. But be aware the boiling in baking soda step is what gives the pretzels their distinct flavor and chew.
  • Freezing:  These will be good frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature. 
  • Yeast: I used active dry yeast, but you can also use instant yeast, but your proof time may be less. 
  • Beer: You can also just use regular water, or a light beer if you want. 
  • Room Temperature Is Key! – How cold or warm your kitchen will always play a role in how fast your dough rises. Ideally dough should rise in a warm environment, about 75-78oF. If your kitchen is cold like mine I like to move my dough to warmer spot. The top of your fridge is a good spot. Or in your oven with the light on but the oven is OFF for the FIRST RISE ONLY.
  • Rolling Out The Pretzels – You have to roll each portion of dough out to about a 20 inch rope. The gluten in the dough will prevent you from accomplishing this all at once. I like to roll each portion out a few inches, then I let it rest and move onto the next one, and then circle back to the beginning to repeat. If you don’t the dough will fight you and keep shrinking back taking even longer to roll them out.
  • Don’t Use Too Much Flour! – Too much flour will result in dry, tough pretzels. It’s best to WEIGH your flour, rather than use cups. If you don’t have a kitchen scale yet, then be sure to spoon and level your flour into your cup. You most likely won’t use all of your flour. I like to err on the side of a slightly sticky than too dry and adding too much. Also be careful when dusting your countertops, a little goes a long way.
  • Keep The Dough Covered As You Roll Them Out – Because it will take several minutes to roll out each dough into the long rope and you will be stopping and starting with each portion I like to keep the other portions I’m not working on covered so they don’t dry out. I either cover with lightly greased plastic wrap or the same towel I used to cover my bowl of dough when it was rising.
  • Set A Timer When Boiling – You don’t want to boil each pretzel for too long. Each pretzel should boil for 30 seconds on each side. I set myself a timer so I know when to flip them and take them out of the water.
  • Boil Only A Few At A Time – You don’t want to overcrowd the pot otherwise it can be hard to flip them over. I boiled 2 at a time. I would boil 3 pretzels at the most, no more.
  • Recipe adapted from Bakefromscratch.com

Nutrition

Calories: 389kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 922mg | Potassium: 155mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 156IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @BostonGirlBakes or tag #BostonGirlBakes!


 

22 Comments

  1. I love Soft Pretzels. I like to dip them in beer cheese or mustard. Now I can make them at home!

    1. I love them with beer cheese too Nicole! But mustard does in a pinch 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Homemade pretzels have been on my list for a while! I’m really feeling inspired to make a batch now..perfect autumn snack 🙂

    1. Excellent I hope you love them as much as I did Tammy!

  3. 5 stars
    I have not tried a making pretzel at home, by looking at your post I have gathered some courage as you have explained so well everything in your post 🙂 BTW soft pretzels looks so delicious!

    1. Thanks Jagruti! Let me know how it goes!!

  4. 5 stars
    These soft pretzels would be perfect for an Oktoberfest party. I bet they pair really well with beer!

    1. That’s what I made them for actually Daniela! 🙂 …and yes you’re right they definitely pair very well!

  5. 5 stars
    Baking bread is so therapeutic and pretzels is something that needs expertise hands. I still haven’t dared to try making pretzels. I’m saving your recipe to try later

    1. Jyothi…I totally agree I love making bread. Totally therapeutic! I hope you enjoy making them!

  6. 5 stars
    I haven’t made soft pretzels in a long time! After seeing these, I want to try it again. thanks for sharing your recipe.

    1. You’re welcome Anna! Have fun making them (and eating them!!)

  7. 5 stars
    These are, like, my favorite baked good ever! I was born and raised in Germany and oven-warm pretzels are one thing I really miss now that I am living in Canada! This recipe is very well explained and so detailed – I will definitely try it out next time I feel a carb craving coming!

    1. I hope they measure up to your standards Kiki! 🙂 You will have to try them and let me know!

  8. 5 stars
    Homemade pretzels must taste a lot better than store-brought for sure!

    1. Oh Maria there is no comparison! I grew up on those frozen grocery store ones..these aren’t even in the same league!

  9. 5 stars
    The one thing my husband misses since we came from the US is pretzels. I have yet to make him some. These look so good. Sounds like the perfect recipe to try. Saving for later.

    1. Veena your husband is going to love these! They are soft and chewy..enjoy!

  10. 5 stars
    It’s been a long time since I made homemade pretzels. This recipe looks perfect for making with the granddaughters. I’ll bet they’d love the process.

    1. Thanks Noel! Yes they are super fun. I have no doubt that your granddaughters would have a blast twisting them!

  11. 5 stars
    Yum! I haven’t had a soft pretzel in a long time! Your pretzels look excellent and delicious! And the photo of you dipping the pretzel in the mustard dipping sauce? Drool-worthy!

    1. Thanks Elaine! They are super fun weekend baking project. Yes I love dipping them in mustard, but honestly they were great on their own too!

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