These soft homemade pretzels are so versatile and easier to make than you think. With very little prep time and effort, you'll have the perfect snack ready to serve, dip or dunk!
Homemade Soft Pretzels
It is said that the Catholic Church played a part in the history of the pretzel. With so few ingredients it was a popular food to consume during lent when all kinds of meat, dairy, and eggs were prohibited.
Through a history of adaptations, various names, meaning, and legends, one thing remains it that the pretzels are a symbol of love, prosperity and undying love (or so I'd like to think!).
Today we all know it as a popular grab and go snack. In any food court or bakery, we stroll by that unmistakable fresh baked soft pretzel smell and our mouths start to water, but this homemade version is SO MUCH BETTER!
My family has become very familiar with the smell of fresh-baked bread as we have made Homemade Italian Bread and Irish Soda Bread on a number of occasions but when it comes to easy snack recipes there really is something special about an easy homemade soft pretzel.
How to make them
Using your stand mixer add yeast to the water and sugar and let stand then mix it together, then add the oil, flour, and salt. Knead on low speed until you have a firm smooth dough.
Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead the ball into a dough. Transfer to an oiled bowl making sure all sides of the dough have been greased, cover in plastic and place in a warm area to rise.
Punch the dough down and cut into four segments. On a lightly floured surface roll each segment into a rope, form into a pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and cover with plastic. Let the pretzels rise for a second time.
Once they have risen, in a large pot of boiling water and baking soda add pretzels one or two at a time, flipping once with your slotted spoon. Place the boiled pretzels on a wire rack to dry, then place again on the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, brush with egg and sprinkle with salt.
Or you can cut the ropes into bite-size pieces and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake.
Bake until golden brown and serve warm. Brushing with melted butter is a great addition!
Do I really need to add baking soda to boiling water?
Yes! This process is what gives the pretzels its dark, shiny coating and distinctive flavour. Without it, it's not a real pretzel. Ok, that's a stretch perhaps, but it really is worth the extra step!
What is dry active yeast?
Active yeast is in its natural form and promotes baking activity in all kinds of doughs ranging from low sweet to very high sweet bread. Active yeast needs to be proofed and will remain dormant until added to lukewarm water.
Can I substitute instant yeast?
Typically active yeast and instant yeast are used interchangeably. The dough will not rise at the same time, so you will need to compensate for the time difference. You will also need to adjust your measurements and how much yeast you use. I prefer active yeast and I believe if it ain't broke don't fix it.
Do I need to add sugar?
The sugar will bubble your mixture which proves that the yeast is still active. It does not, however, change or add anything to your recipe, so you do not, in fact, need to add sugar to your recipe if you wish not to. Keep in mind it may just take a little longer to rise.
What to eat with soft pretzels
While the stand-alone pretzel is delicious enough on its own, you can't deny that there are some delicious accompaniments available in the way of ooey-gooey dips!
Some like to dip their cinnamon sugar pretzels in straight-up icing sugar or a warm chocolate dip, some like dipping their salty soft pretzel in a cheese sauce or even honey mustard!
But c'mon we all know a warm plain pretzel dipped in melted butter is definitely the way to go.
How to store them
As if you're ever going to have leftovers! But if you do these pretzels can be stored (once cooled) in individual plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 2 days and in the freezer for up to a month.
When you are ready to reheat simply put in the oven at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes or 10-12 minutes if frozen.
If you love soft pretzels you'll absolutely LOVE these homemade bagels. A similar style to the pretzel yet each with their own personality.
More easy bread recipes you'll love!
Fast and Easy No Knead Bread
Homemade Soft Pretzels
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water (105F / 40C temperature)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon light olive oil or vegetable oil (sunflower or corn oil)
- 2 cups all purpose flour (250 grams)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons baking soda
- 4-5 cups water
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- 1/2-1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1-2 tablespoons butter (melted)
- In the bowl of the stand up mixer add the lukewarm water and sugar, mix then sprinkle the yeast on top, let sit 5 minutes then mix together.
- To the yeast mixture add the oil, flour and salt start to knead with the dough hook. Knead on speed #2 for approximately 3-4 minutes, until you have a firm smooth dough.
- Move the dough to a lightly floured flat surface and knead into a smooth ball. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl turning the dough to oil it all over. Cover the bowl with plastic and place in a warm draft free area until doubled in bulk, about 1-2 hours.
- Punch the dough down and cut into 4 pieces. On a lightly floured flat surface roll each piece into a 18-20 inches (50cm) long rope. Form into pretzels (see photos). Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30-45 minutes.
- Pre-heat oven to 425F (220C).
- In a large pot add the water and baking soda, bring to a boil and boil the pretzels one or two at a time, turning once with a slotted spoon for about 45 seconds. Move the pretzels to the wire rack to dry then place on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Move immediately to a wire rack to cool or best eaten warm. Brush with melted butter before serving if desired. Enjoy!