A homemade soft pretzel makes a delicious treat! A crisp, buttery, and salty outside encases a tender inside in this family favorite pretzel recipe.
My family is a bit obsessed with soft pretzels. While my husband and I have loved them for as long as we each can remember, Sam was first introduced to them on a trip to Walt Disney World. The look in his eyes with his first bite had us both determined that we had to make pretzels for him at home.
My husband is the one that is our official pretzel maker though. For over six weeks, he worked on making the the best ones he could make and perfecting his pretzel making skills.
I have to tell you, we loved them all, but were happy being his taste-testers as he kept working on the recipe. I’m happy to be the beneficiary of something so delicious without any of the work! But they always disappeared before I could snap a photo of them. Imagine that! Ha!
While making your own soft pretzels at home may seem intimidating, don’t let it be! There is definitely a process to be followed in making them, but the steps aren’t complicated at all!
I thought it might be helpful to show step-by-step photographs of the process and grabbed my camera as my husband made his soft pretzel recipe yesterday. I had to snap fast, especiallyof the finished pretzels since there were hands reaching for them even as I did!
How to Make Soft Pretzels Step-by-Step
The easiest way to make your pretzel dough is to knead it with the dough hook of your stand mixer. Once all of the flour has been well combined, turn your mixer to medium speed and knead for 7 – 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and tacky but not sticky to the touch. Don’t rush this step. The smoother your dough, the easier your pretzels are to make!
Of course, if you don’t have a stand mixer or prefer to knead your dough by hand, you absolutely can! You’ll just want to add about 10 more minutes to the kneading time.
Pour your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for about 5 turns. Then, place into a buttered bowl to double in size. The time that it takes for the dough to double in size will depend on many things – temperature, humidity, etc. – but generally takes about 1 hour – 1 1/2 hours.
Once your dough has doubled in size, divide it into eight to twelve even pieces.
Form into pretzels and place on a parchment lined sheet pan where the parchment has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray.
Bring your baking soda and water to a low simmer in a 4-quart saucepan. Place pretzels, only one at a time, into the saucepan. Initially they may sink to the bottom of the pan, but will rise slowly. Once they have risen, remove them back to the parchment lined sheet pan using a slotted spoon to drain them. Allow to dry completely, about 5 minutes.
Once the pretzels have dried, brush them with melted butter and generously sprinkle them with sea salt. Bake 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
Here’s my husband’s Soft Pretzel Recipe. I think you’ll love them as much as we do!
Soft Pretzel Recipe
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons yeast
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 4 - 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Water Bath and Finishes:
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- sea salt
- Heat water to 110º - 120º F in a in a medium glass bowl in the microwave. Stir in the granulated sugar until it dissolves. Sprinkle the yeast into the water and sugar and allow to sit for about 5 minutes to foam as it proofs.
- While yeast is proofing, whisk together sugar, salt, and 3 cups of the all-purpose flour in the mixing bowl of your stand mixer.
- Pour yeast mixture into the flour, sugar and salt mixture. Stir mixture together until all of the flour is well incorporated, being sure to get all of the flour incorporated from the bottom of the bowl. Add another cup of flour and stir together until well combined.
- Using the dough hook on your stand mixer, knead the dough, adding flour 1/4 cup at a time until the the dough forms a ball and does not stick to the bottom of the bowl.
- Turn the mixer to medium speed and knead for 7-10 minutes. The dough should be tacky but not sticky.
- While the dough is kneading, prepare a medium glass bowl by coating lightly with butter.
- Remove dough from mixer and knead together about 5-7 turns. Form the dough into a ball and roll in the butter bowl to make sure that all of the dough is coated. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, dry place free of drafts to rise until it has doubled in size. The time will depend on your environment at the time of rising, generally 1 1/2 hours.
- Spray parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Once dough has risen, remove dough from the bowl and divide into 8 - 12 even pieces using a bench scraper or knife. Roll into about 24 inch logs and then shape into pretzels. Repeat until all pretzels are formed.
Water Bath and Finishes:
- Add baking soda to water in a 4-quart saucepan over medium low heat. Bring to a simmer. Add pretzels, one at a time to the water. It may initially sink to the bottom and rise as it is ready to be removed. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pretzel from the saucepan and place on the parchment lined baking sheet to dry completely, about 5 minutes. Repeat until all pretzels have been bathed in the baking soda water.
- Preheat oven to 400º F.
- Brush with butter, sprinkle generously with sea salt and bake 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest until easy to handle. Serve warm.