Making your own soft street style pretzels is not only easy, it’s fun too! If you’ve made any yeast leavened bread before, then making the dough for these pretzels should be a snap.
After proofing the yeast in the milk with some sugar, combine the salt with 3 cups of the flour. Add in the cold butter pieces and cut them in with your fingers until the mixture has a very fine crumb. You should not be able to tell the butter has been cut in—that’s how fine the texture should be.
Add the proofed yeast/milk mixture and combine with your hand until you get a soft, sticky dough. You can do this in a stand mixer. Add enough of a remaining cup of flour to form a dough that is now easy to knead, yet still soft. The dough should still feel a bit sticky—the more you knead it, the less sticky it will become. I added a total of 2/3 of a cup extra after 3 cups.
After 6-8 minutes of kneading the dough, it will be smooth and stretchy. That’s perfect! Now in a well oiled bowl (for pretzels I like to use butter), toss the dough around to fully coat it, then cover it with plastic and rest for 1 ½ -2 hours. It should be doubled in size.
Now you divide the dough into however many pretzels you want to make, roll them into long snake shapes and twist them into pretzels. When you do this, be sure to pinch the ends of the pretzel well into the dough. Seal them very well because they come apart easily during the baking soda bath. On the plus side, it is not difficult to mend them back together if they do come apart. Just dip your fingers in some water and use it as a glue.
Making pretzel dogs is way easier! The egg wash is very important, so do not skip. As for the salt that tops them before going into the hot oven, find the actual salt that is used for pretzels, if possible. Kosher or any coarse salt will do the trick, but within hours it becomes transparent. Pretzel salt stays white and crunchy. When I make the pretzel dogs, I use sesame seeds instead of salt.
Like many breads, the coming days will make these pretzels noticeably stale—but a few minutes in a hot oven brings them back to their original soft on the inside, chewy on the outside goodness. But once you taste how good these street style soft pretzels are, you won’t have that problem!
Check out a video demo here!
- 1-1/2 cups warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
- 4 cups water
- 1/3 cup baking soda
- 1 egg
- Pretzel or Kosher salt
- Dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle in yeast and allow to proof for 10 minutes until foamy.
- In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of the flour with salt. Cut in cold butter with fingers well until mixture is a fine crumb. Pour yeast mixture over flour and stir to form a sticky dough. Sprinkle in enough of the fourth cup of flour to form a manageable but still slightly sticky dough (I added 2/3 cup). Knead 6-8 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. Add more flour sparingly. Dough should be soft.
- Place dough in an well oiled or buttered bowl and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise 1 - 1-1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Punch down dough and divide into however many pretzels you would like to make (I made 6). Roll a long snake out of each portion (for 6 pretzels I roll it 32-36 inches long). Twist into a pretzel and pinch the edges together very well. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and set aside.
- When all pretzels are shaped, bring water to a boil in a shallow pan. Add baking soda and carefully place each pretzel, one at a time, into the solution. There should be enough water in the pan that the pretzel floats; add more if necessary. Boil gently for about 30-45 seconds, spooning the solution over the pretzel. Remove and repeat with the remaining pretzels.
- Preheat oven to 375F. If you have a convection fan setting, preheat to 350F. In a small bowl, beat egg well. Brush generously onto each pretzel until all the egg is used up. Sprinkle each one with some salt. Bake 15-18 minutes or until pretzels are a deep golden brown.