How to make foolproof soft pretzels from scratch

Jan 5, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. ET
Image: Brandi Bidot/SheKnows

Whenever I go to the mall, I always find my way to the most important thing — the pretzel stand. Those warm, buttery, salty pretzels always draw me in, and I can never leave without one.

But how easy is making them at home? When I tell you I am not a baker, I really mean I am not a baker. What I can say is that this recipe for homemade soft pretzels is so super easy that even I can pull it off, and if I can, you can.

With just a few basic ingredients and a little bit of patience, you can easily and effortlessly make homemade soft pretzels right in your very own kitchen with this easy tutorial. They will turn out perfectly soft and fluffy every time.

Here's how:

Start by making your pretzel dough and allowing it to rise.

pretzel dough
Image: Brandi Bidot/Sheknows

Cut the dough into equal-size pieces. Each piece of dough will become one pretzel.

cut the pretzel dough
Image: Brandi Bidot/Sheknows

After your dough is cut into pieces, roll each piece into a long, skinny rope.

roll dough into strips
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Take a dough rope, and form the pretzel by making a "U" shape.

u shaped dough
Image: Brandi Bidot/Sheknows

Holding the ends of the rope, twist the dough two times.

twisting the pretzel
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After twisting the rope, bring the ends of the dough to the bottom, and press down, forming the pretzel. Place all the formed pretzels on the baking sheet.

formed pretzel
Image: Brandi Bidot/Sheknows

Brush the tops of the pretzels with the baking soda mixture to get that lovely golden brown color when baking.

baking soda wash
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Finally, sprinkle your pretzels with coarse sea salt, and get ready to bake.

sea salt pretzels
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They'll be soft and golden brown after the baking.

baked pretzels
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Brush your finished pretzels with butter, and season with other desired toppings, like dried Italian herbs, and you're done.

finished pretzels
Image: Brandi Bidot/Sheknows

Easy soft pretzels recipe

Yields 10 – 12

Prep time: 20 minutes | Inactive time: 30 minutes | Bake time: 10 minutes | Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1-1/4 cups warm (not hot) water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

For the topping

  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • Extra sea salt, for topping
  • Additional herbs or seasonings, if desired

Directions:

  1. To a large glass bowl, add the oil, and using your hand, coat the entire inside of the bowl, then set it aside.
  2. To a large mixing bowl, add the yeast, warm water and brown sugar. Mix well, and let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Add in the flour, sugar and sea salt, and knead until a very sticky, soft dough forms. (If the dough is too sticky, then add a tiny bit of flour, and knead the dough until it does not stick to your hands.)
  4. Place the dough in the oiled bowl, and allow it to rise for 30 minutes.
  5. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F, then line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, and set it aside.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, cut it into 10 – 12 equal-size pieces, and then roll each piece into a long rope about 18 – 20 inches long.
  7. Take 1 dough rope, and form it into a “U” shape. Holding each end of the strip, cross the ends over, twist twice, and then press at the bottom to form the pretzel shape. Repeat until all the pretzels are formed, and then place them on the baking sheet.
  8. To a small bowl, add the baking soda and water, and mix well. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the top of each pretzel with the baking soda wash, and then sprinkle each with sea salt.
  9. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until the pretzels are golden brown. Remove from the oven, brush with melted butter, and add additional seasonings or flavorings, if desired.
  10. Serve warm, and store leftover pretzels in an airtight container for 2 days.
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Image: Janelle/Flickr

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