Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bavarian Soft Pretzels

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I started to crave soft pretzels reaaaally bad. A few years ago I spent Christmas in Bavaria (Southern Germany, essentially) and each morning I was treated to delicious, fresh baked pretzels.  Many of my pregnancy cravings were of foods that I hadn't had in a very long time, and so began the hunt for the perfect pretzel recipe.

This post was written back in May, but this past week I revisited and added some new pictures and made it a little easier to follow. 

You will need:
1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water (not hot because you may kill the yeast)
1 T sugar
2 t kosher salt
1 package of yeast - (2 1/4t if you have it in jar form)
4 1/2 cups of flour
1/4 stick of butter, melted
non stick spray
water for boiling (after rising / proofing)
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 T of water (or substitute with more melted butter)
Pretzel salt (I use kosher and I'm happy with it too)
Baking pans lined with parchment paper

Approximate preparation time: about 1 1/2 - 2 hours
*Preheat oven to 450° after proofing process

You will do:
I use a Kitchen Aid mixer for all of my baking, but this can be done by hand as well. The dough becomes too thick for a handheld mixer. For the Kitchen Aid I start out with the regular mixing attachment and then switch to the bread hook.

In your mixing bowl, mix the water, sugar and salt together. Sprinkle yeast on top, and allow to sit for about 10 minutes. It should be foamy and bubbly, because the yeast has a nice full tummy from that yummy sugar and salt you just fed it.

Add the melted butter and slowly incorporate the flour, one cup at a time. With the Kitchen Aid you'll have to switch to the bread hook after 2 cups of flour. Continue adding flour until the dough is no longer sticky and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Remove the dough, clean your bowl and spray with the non stick spray and put the dough back in the bowl.  Cover with a clean towel.

You'll now want to allow your dough to rise in a warm and dark space. My oven has a proof setting, meaning it will hold the temperature between 100° F  - 110° F. It only takes about 30 minutes to proof the dough in this manner, but putting your dough in a warm cabinet (the area under my sink is always warm because of our Insta-hot faucet) works just as well, it just might take a while longer.  The amount of time varies, but you'll want to let it rise until the dough has doubled in size. 

Once the rising process is done, begin boiling a large pot of water and start preheating your oven to 450° F. Take your dough out and begin kneading it on a clean, floured surface. You only need to do this for a minute or two, just long enough to get those large air pockets out. Cut it into 8 equal pieces, and begin to roll each one into a snake that is about 1 inch thick and 12 inches long. I vary this based on how big I want my pretzels to be, or how many I want.

Now, there is no easy way to explain how to twist the dough into the pretzel shape, so I'll let you figure that part out ;)

Bring them over to your stove. A baking sheet is handy :)

Once the water is boiling, slowly add the baking soda. Boil each pretzel for approximately 30 seconds.

Transfer to your baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with the egg yolk mixture or more melted butter. Sprinkle with pretzel / kosher salt if you wish.
Along with regular pretzels, we enjoy pretzel bites.
Bake in your preheated oven for about 12 minutes, until they are slightly brown. Remove from the oven, let cool and enjoy!  These do not last very long at our house!

If you do find yourself with any left over, the way I keep them *perfect* is freezing them in individual ziplock bags the same day.  Then you'll have the same pretzels that you buy from the frozen section. Just microwave for 30 seconds and you've got a great snack!

We love to dip them in honey mustard or softened butter (as the Germans do). Guten Appetit!


  1. Replies
    1. They are really yummy! Let me know if you try them :) Thanks for following!

  2. These would make a great pre-dinner snack for Thanksgiving. The guests would be so impressed. You could even have some of the kids help.

  3. I have been looking for a recipe for these! Cant wait to try them! TY!!

  4. My husband loves soft pretzels so I'll have to give these a try!

  5. these look so good, i miss having soft pretzels.



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