You know that amazing buttery smell coming from the food court in the mall? It’s coming from the pretzel stand! And your house can smell like that, too, with these Homemade German Soft Pretzels.
I know, pretzels seem intimidating to make, but if you have the time and a little bit of patience, you can totally do it!
Homemade German Soft Pretzels Tips and Tricks
Simplify this Recipe If Yeast Isn’t Your Thing
The best thing about this Homemade German Soft Pretzel recipe is that it teaches you the “pretzel bath” technique, which will allow you to make pretzels using any type of dough.
Yes, even store-bought. If you want to save time and don’t want to bother with yeast, buy a pre-packaged pizza crust or crescent dough, and follow steps 10-14. This totally still counts as homemade!
Shaping Your Homemade German Soft Pretzels
Take one end of the dough and curl it over at the half way point.
Do the same with the other end so it starts to resemble a pretzel.
Twist the two pieces that meet at the center so that the pretzel keeps its shape in the bath. At this point, you should recognize it as a classic pretzel! See below for a step-by-step photo guide!
The Pretzel Bath
The pretzel bath is what turns this ordinary dough into pretzel dough! You simply add 2/3 cup of baking soda to 10 cups of boiling water. Each pretzel will relax in the bath for 3 minutes before setting out to dry.
Aside from shaping your pretzels, inserting and removing your pretzels into the bath is the trickiest part of the process. The water is boiling hot, and the excess baking soda can cause irritation to sensitive skin.
Make sure you feel comfortable with the tools you are using to drop them in and take them out. I use a large sieve and it works great! There’s always the option to wear gloves as well.
I generally only bathe one at a time for this reason, but you can do as many as you’re comfortable with. Just make sure you leave enough space in between each pretzel so they don’t stick together.
When you first mix your flour, butter, and yeast mixture, the dough will be very sticky. Make sure you have a clean, floured surface to knead on. As you continue to work your dough, it will become less sticky and easier to work with. 8 minutes should do the trick.
Freezing and Re-heating
And just when you thought it can’t get better—these pretzels freeze really well. You can stash them away and just reheat them when you’re having a pretzel craving! They will stay fresh if they are covered at room temperature for 2 days.
The best way to freeze is to individually wrap them in saran wrap and store them in a freezer bag. They will keep fresh for just about 1 month.
Reheating is best in the oven or toaster oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. From room temperature, you really only need about 2 minutes, and from frozen 5-7 minutes!
These Homemade German Soft Pretzels are fluffy and warm with the perfect salty finish. All you need is a little patience and confidence, and you can recreate this ballpark favorite at home!
Homemade German Soft PretzelsPRINT PIN RATE
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt + coarse salt for topping
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp usually = 1 packet)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour
- 1 ½ cups bread flour
- ⅔ cup baking soda
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Mix together warm water (no need for boiling, you can just use warm water from the sink or microwave room temperature water for 45 seconds), sugar, and salt. Then, add the yeast, stir, and cover with a clean kitchen towel to sit for 5 minutes until foamy.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, heat butter in 20-second intervals until completely melted. Add your melted butter to a large mixing bowl with flour and whisk together.
- Add the foamy yeast to the flour mixture and use clean hands to work together until combined. It may be a bit sticky, but that’s okay!
- Knead on a floured surface for 8 minutes until dough forms.
- Pour olive oil on the sides and bottom of a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, add a little olive oil on top, and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise at room temperature for 1 hour until it doubles in size.
- Start your “pretzel bath” by boiling 10 cups of water with your baking soda. It’s also time to preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use a floured rolling pin to roll your dough flat, about 3/4 of an inch thick.
- Cut your dough into 8 equal parts.
- Roll out each piece until they are about 20 inches long.
- Now it’s time to shape your pretzels. See above for detailed instructions.
- By now, your pretzel bath should be boiling. Give it a couple of stirs to make sure the baking soda is completely integrated into the water.
- Slowly lower a pretzel into the bath using a large sieve. Keep pretzel in the bath for 3 minutes, remove, and set aside to dry. Repeat for all of your pretzels. You can do 1 or 2 at a time, but no more than 2.
- Make your egg wash by whisking together egg and milk. Once all your pretzels are dry, line them up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, brush with egg wash, and crack on course salt.
- Bake your pretzels for 12-14 minutes until golden brown and a little crispy on the outside. Serve with mustard or beer cheese. Yum!
- The pretzel bath technique is really what makes these pretzels, so you can shape them however you want, use another dough recipe, or even use store-bought dough. Just make sure if your shape is smaller, you bake them for less time.
- These will keep well for up to ten days in the fridge. Just reheat in the oven at 425 for 5 minutes directly on the oven rack.
- To freeze them, allow them to cool completely and either wrap with saran wrap or put in individual freezer bags. To reheat, you can either pull them out of the freezer and allow to defrost in the fridge up to 24 hours before, or you can put frozen pretzels directly into the oven on oven rack and bake at 425 for 10 minutes.
- You can use all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour. I love both ways! The whole wheat flour produces a darker, more hearty pretzel as pictured above. All-purpose flour will yield a lighter and airier pretzel.