This recipe was born out of much trial and error. I have been trying recipes for soft pretzels since before I even had a clue about bread making. All in an attempt to recreate my favorite mall pretzel at home. I had never found a recipe that even came close, even ones that claim to be the copycat recipe. Out of frustration, I spent the $7 or $8 dollars at the grocery store for the mix that my favorite pretzel place sells to make at home. They were good…………….. ..but then..
low and behold the ingredient list on the side of the box! Granted, amounts were not given— but with a little knowledge that I have gained from my frequent baking- and some testing- I think I figured out a pretty close match. And if not perfect, who cares, they are delicious! And my mall pretzel loving family has happily given up the expensive mall pretzels for these.
These can be made into regular pretzels, pretzel sticks, or pretzel bites (my personal favorite). In fact, I usually give the kids each a piece of dough and let them be creative. Not to mention, I have used this dough for pizza dough, pretzel dinner rolls and pretzel sandwich and burger rolls. The dough can be stuffed……oh the wonderful treats you can make with these- just use your imagination!!! I will definitely be sharing some of the other things to make with this pretzel dough in the future.
Do you need one more reason to make these? Well, they can be baked, frozen and reheated in just minutes and are still amazing! Great for a late night snack, a get together, or game day!
- 2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 cups of unbleached bread flour (can substitute more all purpose but they come out softer/better texture with addition of bread flour)
- 2 1/2 tsp of salt
- 3 tsp instant yeast
- 5 packed Tbsp of brown sugar
- 5 tsp of baking powder
- 1 1/4 cups of warm water plus an addition 1-2 Tbsp if needed
- 4 cups of water
- 1/3 cup baking soda
- Coarse sea salt
- 1/2 stick of butter melted for brushing
- In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with dough hook, mix flours, salt, yeast, sugar and baking powder until combined. With mixer running on low speed stream in 1 1/4 cups warm water and continue to knead dough until combined, then an additional 5-7 minutes, until smooth and elastic. The dough should be soft, slightly tacky but not sticky. If after a minute or two of kneading, the dough feels very stiff or dry add additional water a Tbsp at a time or if it is really sticky add a Tbsp of flour at a time until right texture. I usually don't have to add additional water unless the air is very dry and cool.
- Alternately: you can initially mix ingredients in a bowl, to form a cohesive ball, then turn out on the counter and knead until smooth and elastic, following remainder of directions.
- Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and allow to rest/rise for about an hour in a warm place. It doesn't have to double.
- Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large pan, begin bringing the 4 cups of water to just about a simmer- you don't want it really hot just really warm. Prepare baking sheets- use parchment paper or silicone mat (you can use just the pan but they may stick a bit)
- Punch down dough and place on counter (do not flour or oil counter) and press into a long rectangle and cut into 12 equal pieces.
- Gently roll and stretch each piece with your hands until you have a very long and thin rope- about 30-36 inches long. To make a pretzel bring both ends up into a U shape, cross and then cross again, then bring ends down to bottom sides of the U and press to make pretzel shape. For pretzel sticks or bites cut the long rope into 5-6 pieces. (It's easier to cut into bites after dipping in baking soda bath)
- Once the water is very warm, carefully and gradually add baking soda, stirring it in. (don't make my mistake by dumping it in or using a small pan- it overflows and what an awful mess!)
- Dip pretzels and or sticks in baking soda bath for just a few seconds, quickly in and out, and place on prepared pans.If you are making pretzel bites, cut the sticks into bite size pieces (remember they do rise in the oven) and place on the prepared pans. You may have to do a few batches, its ok if the pretzels sit out while waiting to go in the oven.
- Sprinkle the dipped pretzels/sticks/bites with the coarse sea salt if desired.
- Place in the oven and bake for 4 minutes, rotate pan(s) and bake an additional 3-5 min, until golden brown. Large pretzels will take the longer time- just keep an eye on them
- Remove pans from oven and brush the pretzels generously with the melted butter. Take pretzels off pans and cool on wire racks.
- Repeat process for remaining dough.
- Serve warm or freeze in freezer bags for later use.
- To reheat frozen pretzels- preheat oven to 350° and place frozen pretzels on a baking sheet. Place in oven and warm until heated through 5-10 min at most. Brush again with some melted butter and you are done.
- Serve with cheese sauce or mustard or whatever you like!
- To make cinnamon sugar pretzels- do not sprinkle pretzels with salt. Bake as directed, brush with butter and generously sprinkle a cinnamon/sugar mix.