Soft pretzels were always a treat reserved for baseball games. With the Arkansas Travelers beginning their season, we've had a hankering for pretzel-deliciousness.
April is also National Soft Pretzel Month (which, in our opinion, should be every month, but we digress) and April 26th is National Soft Pretzel Day, so needless to say.. pretzels have been on our mind more than usual.
Making these soft, salty iconic treats at home is a snap and doesn't require any special equipment. If you're looking for a summer snack or something different for your next party, we think these will do the trick!
If you want to make pretzels at home, just follow this recipe, which we adapted from The Kitchn, one of our favorite blogs:
(adapted from The Kitchn)
[makes 7 to 8 pretzels, depending on size]
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons baking soda
1 large egg, whisked with 2 tablespoons warm water
Coarse sea salt or pretzel salt
Stand mixer (optional)
Bench scraper or sharp knife
Parchment paper or silicone baking mat
Large, shallow pot
Slotted spoon or skimmer
1. Make your dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer (or medium bowl), combine warm water and yeast. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir, dissolving the yeast. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir to form a shaggy dough.
2. Knead the dough: If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook attachment on low speed for about 5 minutes. If dough is sticky after about a minute, at flour a tablespoon at a time until it begins to form a ball. If kneading by hand, knead dough against a clean, flat surface until it soft, a little tacky, and holds a ball shape (about 5-7 minutes).
3. Let dough rise: Clean your bowl, grease it with oil, and return to bowl. Cover with a linen towel and let rise somewhere warm until dough doubles in bulk (about 1 hour).
4. Divide dough: Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface (we recommend using a baking mat). Use bench scraper or sharp knife to divide dough into 8 equal portions.
5. Shape into pretzels: One piece of dough at a time, roll into a long, skinny rope using palms of your hands. Aim for a rope that's about 20 inches long. If the rope shrinks back on you, set that rope aside, roll another, and come back after the previous rope has rested.
Here's a handy diagram on how to shape a pretzel:
After shaping, set pretzels aside, cover loosely, and let them rise until puffy (~20 minutes). [Georgeanne skipped this step and her pretzels were fine.]
6. Preheat your oven to 450F. Place oven rack in middle of oven.
7. Prepare your water bath: Fill a large, shallow pot with water and set over high heat. Bring to rapid simmer, then add baking soda. Reduce heat to maintain simmer.
8. Boil pretzels: Lower 2 to three pretzels into the water bath (or as many as will fit without crowding). Simmer for about 30 seconds, then flip. Simmer for another 30 seconds, then return pretzels to lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pretzels.
9. Season pretzels: Using a pastry brush, brush your pretzels with your egg and water mixture and sprinkle with sea salt.
10. Bake: Bake pretzels until deep brown and glossy, 12-15 minutes.
11. Cool and eat! Let pretzels cool on rack until they can be handled. We recommend eating them as soon as they're ready, but pretzels can keep soft texture for up to 2 days when stored in a paper bag at room temperature.
- Don't worry if your pretzels aren't the perfect shape. All that matters is that they taste good! (And they will).
- If you want to make pretzel rods or bites, this recipe will work, too! Just adjust baking time.