recipe

Homemade Pretzel: the fantastic recipe for traditional Bavarian-style pretzels

Total time: 40 Min + Rising time
Difficulty: Medium
Serves: 6 people
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Homemade pretzel (pronounced pret-sl) is a delicious baked bread-like pastry shaped into a knot and flavored with salt. It is inspired by the traditional Bavarian-style pretzels. Also known as Brezel (German) or Bretzel (French), it has a salty, slightly sweet, buttery flavor, while the texture is chewy, soft on the inside, but crisp on the outside.

This traditional recipe is made using a baking soda solution instead of lye (like for American-style), which can be tricky for home bakers to work with. Homemade soft pretzels are a delicious, fun recipe you can make with your kids. Serve them with brown spicy mustard, beer and cheddar sauce, or simply with some melted butter.

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Pretzel Origins

There are different theories regarding the origins of pretzels. One suggests they were invented by Italian monks, while another says they were made by French monks. In fact, it is thought that their knot-shape represents children's arms crossed while praying. The religious origin would also be related to the three holes in the bread which would indicate the Trinity. it is supposed that this treat was a reward for the children who were the best at memorizing the words of the Bible, hence the name pretzel which would stand for good luck, prosperity and spirituality.

Another theory claims that German bakers were the ones to create pretzels. It is said one of them fell asleep in front of the oven while pretzels were cooking, making them burn and getting that typical brown color. Whoever first made them, pretzels became a specialty of Bavaria, where they've been enjoyed as a popular snack for centuries. German immigrants brought the tradition to the United States in the 18th-century.

Homemade Pretzel Ingredients

One reason why homemade pretzels are such a great baked treat to make is that you don't need any fancy ingredients or equipment to make them.

While a stand mixer will make your life easier, you can make soft pretzels by hand.

Ingredients-wise, you'll need all-purpose flour (or wholemeal, if you prefer healthier pretzels), butter, yeast, brown sugar, milk, and salt.

You'll also need baking soda and warm water to make the baking soda solution that will give your pretzels their characteristic color and flavor.

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How to Make Soft Pretzels

Making homemade soft pretzels is so simple, you can get your kids involved! It's a great activity for a lazy, rainy day. Start by warming the butter and milk in your microwave until the butter melts, about 90 seconds. Dissolve the sugar into the milk, then set it aside.

Put the flour, yeast, and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer. Whisk to combine then slowly beat the milk mixture in on the low setting. Attach your dough hook and knead the dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. If necessary, add more flour. The dough should be slightly sticky, but smooth.

Roll the dough into a ball and place it into a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set it in a warm place to double in size. This can take one to two hours depending on the temperature. Once the dough has doubled in size, dissolve the baking soda in warm water in a large bowl. Deflate the dough and turn the dough out. Roll the dough into a log, then cut into six equal pieces.

Roll out each piece to form a long rope about 24-inches in size. Hold each end to form a U-shape, then cross the ends and twist the ends underneath to form a pretzel. Press the ends into the bottom to secure the pretzel. Repeat with the remaining dough. Dip each pretzel into the baking soda. Let the excess drip away. While some pretzel recipes ask you to boil the pretzels first, you don't need to do that step with this easy recipe.

Garnish with salt and bake for 8 to 12 minutes at 450F, or until golden brown. Melt the rest of the butter and liberally brush the pretzels with butter while they're still warm.

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How to Serve Homemade Pretzels

Serve your pretzels with dipping sauces like beer and cheese sauce, chocolate sauce, hummus, guacamole, brown mustard, or simply enjoy them with melted butter.

Tips for Making the Best Pretzels

Unless you're using a sourdough starter, you must use yeast to make these pretzels if you want that soft, classic pretzel texture and flavor.

Don't skip dipping the pretzels in the baking soda solution. This will give your pretzels a beautiful golden color and help give them that classic pretzel flavor.

While you can use food-grade lye, baking soda is more widely available and safer to use.

You can use plant-based milk and oil to make dairy-free pretzels.

Use wholemeal flour to make your pretzels a bit healthier.

For gluten-free pretzels, uses gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour.

You can easily double this recipe to make more pretzels.

You can shape your pretzels into rolls or buns and use them for sandwiches or as dinner rolls.

Try using cheese, cinnamon sugar, Cajun seasoning, chili peppers, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or everything bagel mix as toppings for your pretzels. For sweet toppings, skip garnishing the pretzels with salt.

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How to Store Homemade Pretzels

Store your homemade pretzels in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Can You Freeze Pretzels?

Absolutely! Frozen pretzels will last up to one month.

Ingredients
Whole Milk
1 cup
unsalted butter, divided
5 tbsp
light brown sugar, packed
3 tbsp
Instant yeast
1 package (about 2 1/4 tsp)
All-purpose flour
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups
Fine salt
1 tsp
Baking soda
1/4 cup
coarse salt for garnishing

Instructions

Heat milk and 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave for about 90 seconds, until the butter melts. Stir in the sugar. Once dissolved, set aside.

Place flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to combine. Beat the milk mixture in on low.

Knead the dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. If necessary, add more flour. Lightly oil a bowl. Roll the dough into a ball and place it in the greased bowl.

Cover with a damp towel or cling film and set the bowl in a warm place.

Wait until it doubles in size. Preheat your oven to 450°F.

Dissolve the baking soda in warm water in a large bowl.

Whisk.

Punch down the dough. Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out. Roll the dough into a log. Slice into 6 equal pieces.

Gently roll out each piece to form a long rope about 24-inches.

Dip each piece into the baking soda. Let the excess drip away.

Hold each end so the dough forms a U-shape, then cross the ends and twist the ends underneath to form a pretzel shape. Firmly press the ends into the bottom to secure the pretzel.

Garnish with salt.

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Melt the rest of the butter. Using a pastry brush, generously brush the pretzels with butter while they're still warm.

Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Make sure you don't boil the milk.

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