If you need a fun activity to fill a rainy day with the kids, why not try making our recipe for Homemade Soft Pretzels? They are salty, and chewy, and the kids can help with making dough, shaping the pretzels and sprinkling salt on them. And of course, eating them!
You may have enjoyed soft pretzels at a mall bakery. What makes these fresh pretzels so wonderful is the unique texture of the crust. The secret to this texture is a brief dip in an alkaline solution before baking. In our recipe, we dip the dough into a baking soda and water bath before baking. This dip gelatinizes the outside of the dough which changes the texture of the pretzel dough in the baking, giving it a chewy texture.
Soft pretzels are good dipped in many things. Many people like them dipped in mustard, but they are also tasty dipped in cream cheese, whipped cream, chocolate, or honey. To make a cinnamon sugar version of these pretzels, instead of sprinkling them in coarse salt, you can roll them on a plate covered in cinnamon sugar before baking.
Homemade Soft Pretzels Recipe
- Microwave Safe Bowl
- Medium-Sized Bowl
- Electric Mixer
- Wooden Spoon
- Tea towel
- Large Baking Sheet
- Large Dish
- 1 cup Milk
- 5 tbsp Butter divided into 2 tablespoons for the dough; 3 tablespoons for brushing on the finished pretzels
- 3 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 package Fast-Rise Yeast
- 2¾ cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- Oil for Greasing the Bowl
- ¼ cup Baking Soda
- 2¼ cups Warm Water
- ¾ teaspoon Coarse Salt
- Put the milk and 2 tablespoons of the butter in the microwave for about 60 seconds to melt the butter. If the butter doesn’t melt in the first minute, microwave it again for about 30 seconds, stirring it after you microwave it. You do not want to boil the milk.
- Add the brown sugar, stirring to dissolve it. Set this mixture aside until needed later.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, stir together 2 ½ cups of the flour with the yeast and the 1 teaspoon salt.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir in the warm milk mixture until a dough is formed.
- Put the mixing bowl on the mixer stand and attach a dough hook. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until the dough ball is a smooth, elastic dough that is just a bit sticky. You may need to add more flour as the dough is kneaded.
- You can also knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface if you desire.
- Take the bowl off of the mixer stand and tilt the bowl at an angle, pushing the dough up the side of the bowl. Pour about 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil on the bottom of the bowl and then roll the dough ball around in the oil to grease it on all sides.
- Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and place the bowl in a warm space to allow the dough to rise for about an hour or two, until it is doubled in size.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray the paper with cooking spray.
- In a large dish that holds at least 2 quarts of liquid, combine the baking soda with the warm water, stirring until the soda is dissolved. Set this aside until needed later.
- Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a large log, cutting it into 6 equal pieces. Cover five of these pieces with a damp paper towel or tea towel to protect the dough from drying out while you shape the sixth piece of dough.
- Roll the piece of dough into a long, 12 to 18 inch rope, stretching it so that it is of an even thickness. Use both hands to dip the dough rope into the water and soda mixture. Let the excess liquid drip off of the dough and shape the dough into a pretzel shape, criss crossing the center and twisting it, pressing the two ends onto the bottom of the pretzel. Put the pretzel on the baking sheet, and sprinkle the pretzel with the coarse salt.
- Repeat this process with the other five pieces of dough.
- Bake the pretzels in the preheated oven for 8 to 12 minutes, or until they are a light golden brown color. Watch the pretzels to make sure that they do not burn on the bottom.
- While the pretzels are baking, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in the microwave. When the pretzels come out of the oven, brush the melted butter on them.
- Serve the pretzels warm, about 5 minutes after they come out of the oven. You may want to dip the pretzels in mustard to add a tangy zip to them.
- These are best served the same day that they are baked.
Key Ingredients: Cream Cheese