Soft Pretzels (or Pretzel rolls)

October 13, 2014
1 Ratings
  • Makes 12
Author Notes

This recipe makes about a dozen soft chewy pretzels, or can used to make pretzel rolls. To get the classic brown color, they are boiled in a baking soda/water bath just before cooking. This last step also allows for the pretzel salt to adhere. —Rob Maier

What You'll Need
  • For the dough
  • 17 ounces Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Yeast
  • 1 teaspoon Malt extract (or honey)
  • 2/3 cup warm milk (100 deg F)
  • 2/3 cup warm water (100 deg F)
  • 2 tablespoons softend butter
  • For water bath
  • 5-7 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  1. Mix the flour, yeast, salt, malt extract, butter, milk & water together and knead to a soft dough, about 10 minutes.
  2. Place dough in an oiled bowl to rest, covered, until the dough has doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  3. Form dough into 12 bread pretzels or rolls. Place on parchment paper well spaced, and allow to rise again (about 30-40 minutes).
  4. Mix the water, salt and baking soda in a stainless steel shallow pan and bring to the boil. Turn temp down to low simmer.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, dip pretzels one by one in the baking soda water for 30 seconds, drain well and set back on the paper.
  6. If making rolls cut slits in the roll tops with a sharp knife or if making pretzel, sprinkle pretzels with extra coarse salt or pretzel salt.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes in the middle of a preheated 400 degree (200 degree Celsius) oven, until browned, cool slightly on wire rack. Eat warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Mark Bryan Potts
    Mark Bryan Potts
  • Shannon Roberts
    Shannon Roberts
  • Rob Maier
    Rob Maier

13 Reviews

Rob M. May 14, 2016
Depending on your local environment & the humidity, you may need to adjust the flour ratio, you want a fairly stiff dough, not very tacky. I use bread flour most of the time for this recipe and most types of yeast work well. Usually I stick with SAF red, but supermarket packets should be fine.
If you try again, let me know how it turns out.
Mark B. May 14, 2016
Well this was a flop for me. the recipe does not mention what kind of flour or yeast to use. I used bread flour and rapid rise yeast. Followed all the directions. The dough was extremely tacky and the whole thing just failed.
Shannon R. November 11, 2014
Gladly!! It's this weekend's project!
Rob M. November 11, 2014
My pleasure, let me know how they turn out.
Shannon R. November 11, 2014
Again, thank you for letting me pick your brain. I will try to aquire the pretzel salt because its just me and the kids here and we love pretzels and I hope to make them often!
Rob M. November 9, 2014
Fleur de sel melts on the wet surface of the pretzel, large crystal salt is sometimes too crunchy. Kosher is a fair substitute to proper pretzel salt. True pretzel salt is a specialty item that is worth obtaining, as it keeps almost forever. Hope that helps.
Shannon R. November 9, 2014
LOL Rob on the right out of the oven comment. I am guilty of doing this every time I bake bread! I do have a question on the salt topping now that you mention the crystal structure though, which one is better. Fleur de sel, Large crystal sea salt or Kosher. Fleur de sel is good on caramels but is it too delicate for this application? Kosher and Sea salt tend to be similar so what do you use? For your salt?
Rob M. November 8, 2014
There are quite a few unusual parts that make this one tricky. The simmer in baking soda water, the addition of Barley malt syrup (or honey, or agave) to the bread and the hardest one for me, finding the correct pretzel salt. Look for the opaque white salt, it has a softer crunch than the clear crystals. oh yeah, and always eat at least one hot out of the oven !
Shannon R. November 8, 2014
Again, thank you so much! This is the one bread making application I have completely struggled with! It has been quite frustrating!
Rob M. November 8, 2014
The risen pretzels only need about 30 seconds in the simmering water bath, just to gelatinize the exterior, any longer and they will start to deflate (they should be proofed and have a nice rise before the water bath).You still have to handle them gently with a slotted or mesh spoon/skimmer. Drain them well and let them sit for a minute before adding the salt, the wet surface will enable the salt to stick, but if they are too wet the salt will melt. Parchment paper works well for moving them into the oven.
Shannon R. November 7, 2014
Ok. Thank you. Next question you are not poaching the pretzels in a semi boiling pot of baking soda water but instead bathing them for 30 sec why?
Rob M. November 7, 2014
I usually use King Arthur Bread flour, but I've done it with AP and the difference is barely noticeable.
Shannon R. November 7, 2014
What kind of flour are you using in this AP or bread?