Once upon a time, there was a 16-year-old girl who worked at Pretzelmaker at the mall. That girl made A LOT of soft pretzels. That girl ate A LOT of soft pretzels. That girl was me.
I can still remember rolling those strands out, slapping them on the counter and twisting them up into the perfect pretzel knot. However, when I made these, I could not actually remember how to do it. A quick search of YouTube brought up tons of how-to videos and after a few tries, my hands quickly remembered what to do.
The dough comes together in a stand mixer to make these super-easy to make; you can definitely do this by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer! A few rests and rises, a quick YouTube video to see how to shape them, and a dip in baking soda and water to give your pretzels that classic mahogany-brown color, and you’re on your way to homemade pretzels. A couple tips from my own baking experiences:
- Make sure to line your baking sheets with parchment and spray with nonstick spray-or these will stick like no other!
- Only work with one pan and three pretzels at a time when dipping in the baking soda-water solution and baking
- I found that the pretzels baked on the bottom rack of the oven had a tendency to burn if I baked two at a time, so make sure to follow the instructions and bake one sheet at a time in the center of the oven.
- If you bake one sheet at a time, but dip/prepare all of the pretzels at the same time, the ones that sit and wait to be baked will be very dark-almost burnt-because the baking soda solution has sat on them longer and penetrated the dough.
- Don’t undersalt the pretzels!!!! I used King Arthur Flour Pretzel Salt and sprinkled very generously!
Everyone loves a soft pretzel, right? If you don’t, shoot me a comment and explain whyyyyyy. Please, I must know what could drive someone to dislike these bready brown beauties. Especially when there’s so many delicious things with which to flavor them, coat them or dip them in. Not that there’s anything wrong with some basic nacho cheese from a can…
But we’re better than that. Later this week, we’ll be making some beer cheese soup to dip these in. I got the idea from Pinch of Yum and quickly set out to make the perfect beer cheese soup.
Football season is coming up soon and the beer cheese soup-pretzel combo would be the most perfect complement to when your favorite team has an away game and you have a big group of people to feed. But you don’t have to wait to make these…soft pretzels are surprisingly easy to make!
Golden-brown, warm soft pretzels for dipping and dunking in whatever you like!
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2-1/4 teaspoons (7 grams) instant yeast
- 3 tablespoons (40 grams) light brown sugar
- 2-1/4 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) butter, cut into cubes and at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt
- 1/3 cup (96 grams) baking soda
- Pretzel or other coarse salt, for sprinkling
- Heat the milk in a microwave-safe bowl for about 45 seconds on high power, until very warm to the touch.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the warm milk, yeast, brown sugar, and 1 cup (120 grams) of the flour. Turn the mixer on stir or low speed and combine. Add the butter and stir together again using the mixer. Add the remaining 1-1/4 cups (150 grams) of flour and the kosher salt and again stir to combine. Turn the mixer to medium speed and knead for 5 minutes, until a smooth but slightly sticky dough forms. You may need to add a few pinches of flour if the dough continues to stick to the sides of the mixing bowl as it is kneaded. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to coat both sides. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into about a 30-inch rope. You can hold the ends and gently slap the dough on the counter to help you stretch the dough. Form the dough into a horseshoe-U shape with the open end facing you. Fold the right piece over the left about halfway up and repeat again. Bring the ends up to the closed end of the dough and lightly press down to pinch the dough together. Use your hands to gently stretch the loops. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
- Cover the dough with kitchen towels and refrigerate for 1 hour to further develop the flavor of the dough. It won’t rise much.
- Preheat the oven to 450°and place one rack in the center of the oven. Prepare two more large baking sheets with parchment paper sprayed with nonstick cooking spray (or slide the parchment sheets with the pretzels onto your counter and reuse the same baking sheets, preparing with new parchment and cooking spray). Dissolve the baking soda in 4 cups of warm water in a shallow pan wide enough to hold one of the pretzels over medium-low heat. Once dissolved and working with only three pretzels (enough to fit on the baking sheet), place one pretzel at a time in the water for a few seconds, ensuring both sides are coated. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets and generously sprinkle with pretzel or coarse salt. Continue with the remaining two pretzels. Bake on the center rack until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. When ready to bake the remaining three pretzels, repeat the process and bake according to the instructions above. Serve warm.
Inspiration: Almost-Famous Soft Pretzels on foodnetwork.com