All Details Homemade Soft Pretzels Recipe

Pretzels are made in two variations, both from the same dough. The thicker soft pretzels are boiled before baking in the same way as bagels, which kills the yeast immediately and eliminates any oven- spring. This, in combination with the dough not proofing very much, produces a fairly dense and chewy pretzel of the type typically sold garnished with mustard by street vendors, especially in cities on the East Coast.

The other pretzel, the hard type, is proofed and baked in the oven just like any ordinary bread. These are generally made much smaller than the chewy pretzels and are a popular snack to accompany drinks. Both varieties are formed in either the traditional pretzel shape or in sticks.

Due to the absence of fat in the pretzel dough, the finished pretzels will keep fresh for many weeks.
If you prefer not to make this number of pretzels or sticks at one time, the dough can be divided and frozen for several weeks if properly wrapped. Thaw the dough as needed and shape as desired.


  • 1 ounce (30 g) fresh compressed yeast
  • 1 quart (960 ml) warm water
  • 4 teaspoons (20 g) salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (30 g) caraway seeds (optional)
  • 3 pounds 12 ounces (1 kg 705 g) bread flour Melted butter
  • Baking Soda Solution (recipe follows) Coarse salt
  • Caraway seeds (optional)


1- Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the salt, sugar, and caraway seeds if desired. Gradually mix in enough of the bread flour to make a stiff dough. Knead at medium speed with the dough hook, adding the remaining flour if necessary, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

2- Place the dough in a well-buttered bowl. Turn the dough to coat all over. Cover and set aside in a warm place until doubled in volume, approximately 45 minutes.

3- Brush melted butter over 3 full-size sheet pans or line the pans with Silpats, which do not need to be buttered.

4- Punch down the dough and divide it into 3 equal pieces approximately 2 pounds (910 g) each. Roll each piece into a rope 20 inches (50 cm) long. Cut each rope into 10 equal pieces.

5- Pound and roll each of the smaller pieces into a 20-inch (50-cm) tapered string, as instructed for Braided Bread (see Figures 3-16 to 3-18, page 148).

6- A helpful guide in judging the length is to compare the strings to the sheet pans: a full-size pan is 16 inches (40 cm) wide and a half-size pan is 16 inches (40 cm) long. Form the strings into twisted pretzel shapes (Figures 4-10 and 4-11) and place them on a lightly floured board or sheet pan.

7- Let the gluten in the pretzels relax for 1 or 2 minutes, then stretch each one to make it approximately 7 x 4 inches (17.5 x 10 cm) (Figure 4-12).

8- Bring the baking soda solution to a boil. Drop 2 or 3 pretzels at a time into the liquid. Boil for 1 minute after they float to the surface. Remove them carefully with a slotted spoon and transfer to the buttered sheet pans. Use a razor blade to cut 4 or 5 small slits randomly on each pretzel.

9- As each sheet pan is filled, sprinkle coarse salt and car- away seeds, if desired, over the pretzels.

10- Bake at 475°F (246°C) until dark brown, approximate- ly 20 minutes. Remove from the baking sheets and let cool on racks. Stored in an airtight container, the pretzels will keep for several weeks.


Because this no-butter, no-egg dough can be very rubbery and hard to work with, a good method is to partial- ly roll out 10 of the strings, then go back and finish stretch- ing them to their full length, working on the strings in the same order.

This will allow the gluten time to relax and make the job easier. Repeat this procedure twice with the remain- ing dough. It should not be necessary to use any flour in
shaping the strings and pretzels. If you find you must use flour, this indicates the dough is too soft.

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