Soft pretzels

I hate football. That’s right, hate. Hate. College football is bad enough, but the NFL is just down right ridiculous, in my opinion, of course. I’m one of those people who watches the Super Bowl for the commercials and the food. This year Steve and I watched the game with his family where enough food had been prepared for an army. We did our best to make it through it all but only made a dent. It was a delicious and gluttonous feast and I think we all left with a tummy ache.

Pretzel dough

I thought long and hard about what I would contribute to the spread. I finally decided to bake something that’s been on my to-do list for a very long time, soft pretzels. I thought they would be a very good addition to the chips, dips, candies, cookies and everything else that was bound to be at the party.

Water bath

Pretzel dough isn’t all that different from other yeast doughs, but making pretzels is a little more time consuming due to some extra steps. Everything came together fairly easily and I was so excited to pull the finished product out of the oven and see how great they looked (and oh my, did they smell wonderful!).

Soft pretzel

The pretzels definitely helped make the Super Bowl more enjoyable and delicious. I ended up cheering for the Saints (because a side has to be picked and the Saints seemed to be the more romantic pick) and was happy they beat the other guys. But for me, these pretzels were the clear winners of the day.

Soft pretzels

Soft Pretzels
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 16 pretzels

2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup baking soda
1 large egg
Coarse or pretzel salt

Pour the warm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then add one cup of flour to the yeast mixture and mix until combined. Add salt and the remaining flour and mix until combined. Beat on medium-low until the dough starts to pull away from the sides. If the dough is still sticky, add more flour 1/2 cup at a time and mix until combined. Knead with the dough hook another 3 to 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Transfer the dough into a bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Separate the dough into 16 pieces about 2 1/2 ounces each. With your hands and with the aid of a slightly floured work surface, roll each piece into an 18-inch long strip. Then shape into a pretzel and set on a sheet pan. Let the pretzels rest for about 15 minutes, allowing them to rise a little more.

Meanwhile, boil a few inches of water in a wide, shallow pan over medium high heat. Add the baking soda and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Transfer 3 to 4 pretzels to the waterย  at a time and poach them on each side for 1 minute. Remove them with a slotted spoon and return to the lined sheet pan.

Beat the egg with 1 teaspoon of water and brush each pretzel with the wash. Sprinkle with the course salt. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with mustard or your favorite dip or sauce.

These pretzels are best eaten the day they are made, but will keep on the counter, uncovered for a few days.

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14 Responses to Soft Pretzels

  1. Bake-A-Holic says:

    Yum. These pretzels look amazing! I actually have your 'best chocolate chip cookies' baking in the oven right now… love the blog.

  2. ivorypomegranate says:

    These are so cute and small and pudgy!

  3. Frau Nilsson says:

    The pretzels look great!
    I'm getting hungry ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. pookiepantry says:

    these look so good, i have to try these this weekend. thanks for posting!

  5. kirbie says:

    I've never made my own soft pretzels before but you're step by step sounds like something I can handle. I'll have to try these out, thanks!

  6. Julia says:

    I am going to make them this weekend!!!

  7. Patrick and Katrina Foster says:

    I just finished making these and they are fantastic. My husband ate like five in 15 minutes! Thanks for making my first non-bread machine project a success ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Anonymous says:

    I just finished making these! they look beautiful but I found that they stuck to the parchment paper after coming out of the oven so instead put them on a greased sheet! just a suggestion!

  9. justyou2000 says:

    Hi, I just did it these! and they are so fantastic.. just like one I ate it on Dusseldorf, Germany.. Thankx

  10. […] (and appetite) so I’m thinking that one of these days I should learn to make them at home. Completely Delicious has a recipe that offers photos along the process and a result that would make Auntie Anne proud. […]

  11. Crystle says:

    I had to throw away an entire tray because the parchment paper pretty much melted to the pretzels. I had a couple and they were delicious (the paper wasn’t so bad either but I wouldn’t advise ingesting a lot)! ๐Ÿ™‚ I would definitely recommend using a greased cookie sheet/pan instead of lining it. I am going to make another batch today since the last ones made my mouth water!

    • Annalise says:

      Are you sure you used parchment paper and not wax paper? I ask because that is exactly what happens when you put wax paper in the oven. I’m glad you still enjoyed the pretzels. I had forgotten about this recipe, I think it’s time I bake them again!

  12. Theresa says:

    Annalise, I have just recently discovered your website via your delicious lemon blueberry scones (delicious!). This recipe looks wonderful. Do the freeze well and how best would you recommend reheating frozen pretzels? My daughter loves pretzels but I am tired of shelling out $4 for them at the mall!

    • Annalise says:

      I don’t know how well freezing the baked pretzels would work. Well wrapped, they hopefully would last for a few weeks and I would just let them thaw at room temp or reheat in the microwave if I’m in a rush. What would probably work best is, after shaping them and before boiling them out, freezing them in small batches. Then you could pull a few out at a time and enjoy them fresh. Just let them come to room temp before continuing with the recipe. I haven’t tried either of these methods myself, but that’s how I’d do it. Good luck!

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