I had to switch my game up from making no knead bread on a loop and treat myself with the gift of a homemade soft pretzel. A homemade soft pretzel is really on another level than any other yeast bread treat. Loaded with salt and melted butter it’s pretty over the top in a very deserved way.
They are actually way easier to make than you think and than this recipe implies on first glance. The dough comes together by hand and just requires 5 minutes of kneading and an hour of rise time. That’s one thing this recipe has over my no knead bread… it doesn’t require waiting overnight for it to rise.
Once the dough has risen you shape it into pretzels. I can’t emphasize enough how much this part doesn’t matter. If you wanted to shape it into twists or just bread stick type shapes that would be fine too. I don’t go crazy stretching the dough I just try to get it into some sort of pretzel shape and call it a day. It gets a little dip in some baking soda water then baked off to golden perfection. After a butter bath (I said it) you are ready to go. Pretzel salt is ideal here but in this quarantine world kosher salt worked for me. It’s great with mustard but honestly these are so insanely good solo I don’t even want anything with it.
- 1 cup milk (I used whole)
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 2.25 cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter*
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/3 cup baking soda
- 2 tablespoons coarse salt
*ideally you want this at room temperature but you can make it work if not
- Warm the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until warm but not hot. Pour into a medium bowl and sprinkle yeast on top. Let soften 2 minutes.
- Stir in brown sugar and 1 cup of flour with wooden spoon. Add 2 tablespoons butter (if it’s not at room temp nuke in microwave for 30 seconds) and stir. Add remaining 1.25 cups flour and the 1 teaspoon fine salt and stir. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead for five minutes- adding more flour as necessary.
- Shape into a ball and place in lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for an hour or so until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment. Punch dough to deflate and turn onto floured surface. Divide dough into six portions. Roll and stretch the dough first between the palms of your hands. Then, hold both end of the dough and slap against your counter to stretch out into a roughly 30″ rope. Form into pretzel shape. Don’t stress about this it’s going to taste great in any shape.
- Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups warm water in shallow baking dish. Dip each pretzel in baking soda water and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Melt remaining butter in shallow dish. When pretzels are done dip in melted butter, turning so butter gets on both sides. Place on wire rack to let excess butter drip off. Serve warm!