Soft Pretzels

With my oldest son away at camp for 3 days (with the town’s entire 6th grade class), I wanted to make something special with my 9 year-old son. To my surprise, Chris Kimball has a recipe for Soft Pretzels.  We had a great time making the dough, but the hardest part was controlling our excitement while waiting 2 hours for the dough to rise. In the end, we were both thrilled with the results. The softest pretzels I’ve ever eaten.

Homemade Soft Pretzels. Fun, Fun, Fun!!

Recipe for the Soft Pretzels. Start by making the dough as any other. In lieu of sugar, the recipe uses 1/4 cup of honey. This recipe kneads the dough in a food processor, but it could just as easily be a standing mixer (CI’s recipe for standing mixer is broken). Let the dough rise for an hour, punch it down, then let it rise for another 45 minutes. Divide the dough into 12 equal parts. Flour your board or counter, and roll each into a 20-inch long, 1/2-inch wide roll. I wasn’t able to roll more than 10 inches, so I dangled and stretched them vertically. Shape each into pretzel form. Join each seem by wetting the dough where it comes together. In batches of 4, boil for 30 seconds per side in a 12-inch skillet filled with 6 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of baking soda. Drain briefly on a wire rack, sprinkle with coarse sea salt (Kosher Salt would be a second choice). Bake at 450-degrees for about 14 minutes. Let cool for 8 minutes (no longer).

There is no doubt that these are 5-stars. I pulled 6 out of the oven after just 5 minutes, and put them in the freezer for when my oldest son came home from camp. I reheated those and finished toasting them. The biggest casualty of the freezing/re-toasting process was the texture of the salt; it was no longer the big grains of salt you want on your pretzels. But the taste was still delicious, perhaps 4-1/2 stars after being reheated.

Issues:

  1. I couldn’t roll them to 20-inches, so I dangled and stretched them until they became long and thin.
  2. I believe that mine were too short and thick, so I couldn’t do the center twist. But nobody even noticed.

Rating: 5-stars.
Cost: $1.90 for 12 Pretzels.
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess?  Low.
Started: 5:00 PM.  Ready:  8:00 PM.

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10 Responses to Soft Pretzels

  1. Kelly says:

    I’m so glad you posted this. I have a weakness for soft pretzels. I’ll definitely be making these.

  2. Another tip I just read about online, perhaps explaining my issue:

    When forming the ropes, roll each one to about half the length you want, then set it aside while you roll the rest. By the time you get back to the first rope, it will have rested enough to roll further.

  3. Kelly says:

    Good tip. Thanks. That might explain the battle I had with some pizza dough a while back. :) Live and learn.

  4. Todd says:

    12-inch skillet filled with 6 cups and 3 tablespoons of baking soda.

    That’s a lot of baking soda!

  5. [...] Hulu?) Anyway, I found this site that looks like it might help with your quest: Soft Pretzels My Year Cooking with Chris Kimball The person posting the article used honey instead of sugar and so perhaps it might be possible to [...]

  6. Bern says:

    these seem to be a sweet pretzel; I’m looking for a bavarian breakfast pretzel. Can I reduced the sweetner much? How about freezing( or refrigerating) after the boil to bake just before breakfast?

  7. When I reheated them I let them defrost on the countertop for about 30 minutes. I would recommend salting them after defrost, either using any surface moisture from the condensation, or spraying with water so that the salt sticks.

    Thanks for reminding me about this recipe. I think I’ll make them again this weekend.

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