Thursday, January 6, 2011

Homemade Pretzels

I just love the pretzels you can buy at the mall, in particular the cinnamon/sugar ones!  Sam's little snack shop also has a decent one although the "butter" they paint on it before adding the topping leaves a strange aftertaste on my lips..... but overall it's very good and the price is right ($1.00+tax).  I wanted to try making my own and found a very good recipe to use.  The first time wasn't a disaster but it wasn't a good experience.  It was the first time I'd used my new mixer and the first time in a long time I'd dealt with making a yeast dough.  That being said, the pretzels (although misshapen and odd-sized) tasted wonderful and I knew I could make 'em right the next time and I thought I would share with you.

The first step is dissolving the sugar in the warm water, then sprinkling the dry yeast on top and let it disintegrate.  Eventually it will foam a little, then stir it until it's creamy.

Next you mix the flour, salt and sugar together; then make a well in it and add the oil and yeast mixture.

Mix with dough hook on low until dough pulls away from sides; if it's a little dry, add 1-2 T water a little at a time.  Then turn out onto floured surface and knead for 7-8 minutes (or you can do this in the mixer however I like kneading by hand).  Place dough in an oiled bowl and turn to cover with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and rise in a warm place about an hour.  I like to use the oven for this part.  I turn it on to 400 for 1 minute, then shut it off and leave the light on.  

When it has risen, turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal parts.  I found that using a pizza cutter worked nicely for this.  

Roll each piece into a long 22-24" rope.

Shape into a U, then take the ends (called "toes") and twist 2 times.

Finally, bring the toes down and press into the bottom part.  Place on cookie sheet and shape.

Once you have prepared all 12 pretzels, you then dissolve 1/2 C of baking soda into hot water. You are going to give them each a soda bath!  Back in 1839 a German baker accidentally coated the pretzels with a soda-lye solution and, much to his surprise, it gave the pretzels that deep caramel color.  Not being a fan of LYE the soda water solution can closely achieve this too.   Have a towel ready in front of the bowl, dip each pretzel in and out quickly, then onto the towel and back onto the sheet.

The pretzels are now ready to go into a preheated 450 oven.  I'm going to make one pan of them salted and the other unsalted.  So I sprinkled a little kosher salt onto the first pan.

The aroma of these cooking is just so awesome!  And they look pretty, don't they?

*So, I'm going to "finish" them with some margarine spray:

How yummy do these look???    Let me tell you: they ARE!

The second batch got the cinnamon/sugar treatment after being sprayed.

Again, TO DIE FOR!

So there you have it.  These freeze quite well if you can keep them around long enough.....


4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp white sugar
1 1/4 C warm water (110 F)
4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C sugar 
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 T vegetable oil or melted butter
1/2 C baking soda
4 C hot water

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tsp sugar in warm water.  Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 C sugar and salt.  Make a well in the center of it and add the oil and yeast mixture.  Mix and form into a dough.  If mixture is a little dry, add 1-2 T water.  Knead dough until smooth, about 7-8 minutes, then place in an oiled bowl.  Turn dough to cover with oil, then place in warm area, covered, and let rise for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 450. In a large bowl, dissolve soda in hot water.

When risen, turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a 24" rope and twist into a pretzel shape.  Once each piece is shaped, dip each pretzel into soda water, then onto a towel, then onto a greased baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt.  Bake in oven for 8 minutes then brush with butter.   For cinnamon/sugar topping, omit salt and, after baking, brush with butter then dip into sugar mixture.
*The margarine spray is easier but using real butter definitely tastes better!


  1. Hmm...I wonder how they "ship"?!.... ;-)

  2. wow nancy,
    your directions are so easy to read!


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