How to Make Soft Pretzels


Dear Wednesday,

I’m feelin’ the stress.  I have a zit on my face I’m trying to pass off as a Cindy Crawford mole.  I’m packing up my apartment again.  Who stole all my spoons?  All I’ve eaten is two burritos and a jar of pickles in the past three days.  I’d like for someone to hold my hand and take me out to dinner.  I think I might be whining.  That’s not attractive.


Wednesday, I just need one thing from you.  Carbs.  I’m not messing around, Wednesday.  I want bread products and beer and candy bars… that’s all I want from you.  Oh!  Wait… doughnuts too please.  And string cheese.

Be a pal, Wednesday.  Just this once.



Jill and I… we bake together.  It’s called Bake Out.  Duh.  This time around we practice our carb intake by making pretzels.  Have you ever made pretzels?  There’s yeasting and rolling.  There’s boiling and brushing and baking.

You might want to get in on this action.


Flour, yeast, sugar, salt and water.  That’s all you need to make pretzels.

Oh!  Time.  You’ll need some time too.



Look at those foamy, frothy yeast bubbles.  It’s alive.  It’s ready for flour.


Shaggy.  Shaggy.

Ready for kneading.


We will turn these into twisted baked dough dipped in mustard.  It’s just a matter of time.


All that dough for eight giant pretzels.  I’m pretty sure I could eat eight pretzels on my own.


The pretzel twisting always gets complicated in my brain.  I usually settle for funny looking pretzels.


These are my tongs.  They come in really handy for boiling and flipping hot dough.

heh… hot dough.


I don’t know why hot dough is still funny to me… but it is.


My pretzels get loaded with goodness before being slapped in the oven.


This would be the goodness.


And the after baking/dipping goodness.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

from Gourmet, March 2004

Print this Recipe!

1 tablespoon sugar
1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pretzel salt or grill seasoning

1 heaping Tablespoon baking soda (add it to the boiling water just before throwing in the pretzel dough!)

Stir together sugar, yeast, and 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (105 to 110°F) in a glass measuring cup, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

Whisk together 3 1/2 cups flour and 1 tablespoon table salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough. Dust work surface with 1 tablespoon flour, then turn out dough and knead, gradually dusting with just enough additional flour to make a smooth sticky dough, about 8 minutes. (Dough needs to be somewhat sticky to facilitate rolling and forming into pretzels).

Return dough to bowl and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Turn out dough onto a clean work surface and cut into 8 equal pieces. Using your palms, roll 1 piece back and forth on a clean dry work surface into a rope about 24 inches long. If dough sticks to your hands, lightly dust them with flour. Twist dough into a pretzel shape. (Dough will retract as you form the pretzel.)

Transfer pretzel with your hands to an oiled baking sheet and form 7 more pretzels in same manner with remaining dough, spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart.

Let pretzels stand, uncovered, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Bring a wide 6-quart pot of water to a boil.  Once boiling, add heaping tablespoon of baking soda.  The baking soda will help the pretzels brown.

Using both hands, carefully add 2 (maybe 3)  pretzels, 1 at a time, to boiling water and cook, turning over once with tongs, until pretzels are puffed and shape is set, about 3 minutes. Transfer parboiled pretzels to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining 5 pretzels in 2 batches.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and oil paper, then arrange pretzels on sheet. Brush pretzels lightly with some of egg and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake until golden brown and lightly crusted, about 35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, then serve warm.

Cooks’ notes:
• Dough can be mixed and kneaded in a standing electric mixer fitted with dough hook.
• Pretzels are best the day they are made. (When they are kept overnight, salt may dissolve.)



178 thoughts on “How to Make Soft Pretzels

  1. Just wanted to say I totally have that red & white striped shirt from Urban Outfitters! And I love your blog and creative recipes, definitely favoriting it :)

  2. I’m so glad you posted these! I was on vacation in Portland, OR a few weeks ago and the best thing we ate was a fresh baked soft pretzel served with a warm cheese sauce for dipping. I’ve been wanting to try recreate it at home and now I have a recipe for the pretzel part.

    1. i don’t have much experience with bread machines. if you try it out, you might want to use a recipe that comes directly from a bread machine cookbook.
      let me know how it goes!

  3. HAH! I saw this episode a long time ago, I think I actually would make these. They look heavenly and I would really go heavy on the salt ;) I LOVE salty pretzels!


  4. I thought we were just on the same page regarding butter and peanut butter and chocolate and vanilla extract and mmmm a whole bunch of yummy things…now we’re apparently on the same page regarding acne. Cool.

    Also, I just wanted to let you know that my roommate and baking buddy and I love your blog and you and started our own about a month ago to track the fun things we bake as part of our summer job running a community baking house for our college. I realize that sounds rather weird…i guess the baking house is kind of a long story.

    That’s all, just wanted to say that I appreciate your ability to take your readers with you on a crazy baking adventure and to sweep us up in your hysteria over hot dough and carbs and moving boxes…I’m definitely feeling that little bit of baking crazy over here in my 100 degree kitchen…I collapse to the floor with laughter at least once a day over the Phantom from the Bachelorette and my inability to resist frozen cookie dough balls…yeah.

    1. Emily, I think that sounds so interesting that you and your roommate started a blog based on your summer job at a community baking house at your college. I had no idea they had anything like that at a college.

      I would love to be a reader and follower of your blog if you post a link to it. Sounds like so much fun! Good luck on your cooking and college adventure!

        1. hi Emily, A community baking house is such a wonderful idea!!! I love that it’s open at all hours, and it’s such a neat way for people to connect and bond. Have lots of fun and enjoy something yummy for me! :) Cheers! sheila

  5. when i tried to make pretzels they didnt really stick together when i twisted them, perhaps too much flour when i was kneading it… looks great joy!

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