My post today was supposed to be Confit Tomatoes (super delicious, coming soon!), but this afternoon I had an epiphany that I had to tell you guys about.
YOU, as was I, are an hour away from your very own Homemade Soft Pretzels!
Yup. True Story!
My kids always eat a pretzel bun as a school snack and the frozen ones I usually buy were sold out at the supermarket, so I decided to try my own. Of course, @sallysbakeblog had a recipe that looked completely doable and I went for it.
Not EVEN an hour later I was biting into a soft, warm, delicious pretzel that almost made me swoon! I honestly would not have even been surprised if they hadn’t turned out because it was my first try. But, instead, literal soft pretzel heaven. I mean, can I (as usual!) work on my form? Absolutely! The perfectionist in me is cringing. Does it really matter? Nah, I guess not. And I just couldn’t wait to share with you guys! Sharing is caring.
Half of the dough ended up as twisted pretzels, the other half as pretzel buns for school.
For some reason, the wee ones prefer that shape. But only for school. Go figure.
1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) warm water (lukewarm– no need to take temperature)
1 packet active dry or instant yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar or granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cool
3 and 3/4-4 cups (460-500g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for work surface
coarse sea salt for sprinkling
Baking Soda Bath (Optional, See Recipe Note)
1/2 cup (120g) baking soda
9 cups (2,160ml) water
Whisk the yeast into warm water. Allow to sit for 1 minute. Whisk in salt, brown sugar, and melted butter. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon (or dough hook attached to stand mixer) until dough is thick. Add 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add 1/4 – 1/2 cup more, as needed. Poke the dough with your finger – if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 3 minutes and shape into a ball. Cover lightly with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. (Meanwhile, I like to get the water + baking soda boiling as instructed in step 6.)
Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Silicone baking mats are highly recommended over parchment paper. If using parchment paper, lightly spray with nonstick spray or grease with butter. Set aside.
With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into 1/3 cup sections.
Roll the dough into a 20-22 inch rope. Take the ends and draw them together so the dough forms a circle. Twist the ends, then bring them towards yourself and press them down into a pretzel shape.
(This step is optional, but promises a chewier pretzel and helps provide that traditional soft pretzel taste. See recipe note.) Bring baking soda and 9 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Drop 1-2 pretzels into the boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Any more than that and your pretzels will have a metallic taste. Using a slotted spatula, lift the pretzel out of the water and allow as much of the excess water to drip off. Place pretzel onto prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each with coarse sea salt. Repeat with remaining pretzels.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and serve warm.
Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Baked and cooled pretzels freeze well, up to 2 months. To reheat, bake frozen pretzels at 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes or until warmed through or microwave until warm. The prepared pretzel dough can be refrigerated for up to one day or frozen in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Thaw frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight. Refrigerated dough can be shaped into pretzels while still cold, but allow some extra time for the pretzels to puff up before the baking soda bath and baking.
Baking Soda Bath (Step 6): The baking soda bath step is optional, but it helps create that chewy texture and distinctive pretzel flavor. I strongly recommend it. If skipping, brush the shaped and unbaked pretzels with a mixture of 1 beaten egg + 1 Tablespoon of dairy or nondairy milk. This is known as an egg wash. Sprinkle the brushed pretzels with salt. The egg wash will help the salt stick. If you don’t have an egg, simply brush with 2 Tablespoons of dairy or nondairy milk.
Recipe by Sally McKenny via Sally's Baking Addiction