Perfect Homemade Pretzels, Soft and Chewy

17 Jul

Dear Alton Brown,
Some people say they aren’t enthusiastic about food chemistry, science, or history.  Some say they don’t get all that stuff and, frankly, don’t really care.  I admit there have been moments during good ‘ol Good Eats that I’ve wandered off.  While not all food science is über captivating to me either, I must say that I am a fan of your recipes.  I really enjoy most of your recipes.  So here’s my shout out!

soft homemade pretzels

Soft Pretzels – perfect texture on the outside, soft and chewy inside

Take these soft pretzels.  Who would have thought I’d gift my friends with homemade pretzels?  I mean, these are a treat usually reserved for mall meanderings.  Until I stumbled upon this fab recipe.

soft homemade pretzels

perfect homemade pretzels, buttery and salted

OK, why not?  I am a sucker for carbs.  And, I was hosting bake club at my place soon, so I gave it a test run.  It was phenomenal.   Us Bake Club gals made a bunch of these chewy, dense snacks to dangle in front of our hungry hubbies and kids.

soft homemade pretzels

homemade pretzels in the making

The fun, funner, funnest part about eating soft pretzels is deciding how to eat them.  Buttered, salted, plain, spicy mustard, sweet mustard, cheese sauce, parmesan, cinnamon sugar… the possibilities are endless.  We devoured our pretzels lightly buttered, with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.  My kids stuffed themselves with cinnamon sugared ones.  Something for everyone.  Mmmmm!

soft homemade pretzels

chewy pretzels, just out of the oven

How will you eat your pretzels?


1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115F)
2 TB white sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
3/4 stick regular butter, melted
vegetable oil
2/3 cup baking soda, in 10 cups of water
2 egg yolks and 1 TB water, beaten together
Toppings:  coarse sea salt, butter, mustard, cheese, cinnamon sugar, parmesan, etc.

Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl, mixing it in a little.  Let sit until mixture (yeast) foams.  Add flour and butter.  Mix until well combined (can use stand mixer; I mixed by hand).  Knead until dough is smooth and no longer sticks to bowl (about 5 min).  Put dough into well oiled bowl and turn dough so it is oiled on all surface areas.  Cover with damp towel and set in warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.  The actual time it takes to double depends, of course, on the temperature.  If the room is cool, I set my dough in the oven, with only the light turned on.  If you do that, just make sure you remove the dough before preheating oven!

Preheat oven to 450F.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, and spray with oil.
Bring baking soda/water mixture to a boil in large pan.

Divide dough into 8 equal pieces.  Roll out each one into a 1 1/2 – 2 ft rope.  Lightly oil working surface if needed.  Making a U-shape with rope, cross the ends over each other and form pretzel shape.  Press ends tightly in, so they don’t come apart while baking.

One at a time, carefully lift and place each pretzel into boiling water for just 30 seconds.  This gives it that wonderful outer texture.  Return to parchment-lined pan.  Brush tops of pretzels with egg/water mixture.  If desired, sprinkle lightly with coarse salt or your choice of topping.  Bake 9-10 min., or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and brush with butter (or not).  Cool on rack a few minutes before taking a bite.  And another.  And…

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from Alton Brown

18 Responses to “Perfect Homemade Pretzels, Soft and Chewy”

  1. trkingmomoe July 17, 2012 at 7:31 am #

    Reblogged this on Trkingmomoe's Blog and commented:
    These look great. I have been looking for a recipe like this and I hope you will enjoy too.

    • chewoutloud July 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

      Glad you like it 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Geraldine July 18, 2012 at 12:03 am #

    These pretzels look soooo good!! 🙂

  3. ashley July 18, 2012 at 4:33 am #

    I’m obsessed with homemade pretzels. Can’t wait to try these! 🙂 Love your blog

  4. satcha July 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    how many grams is a “package” of active dry yeast? thanks,

  5. mydearbakes July 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    You are so a talented baker! This is so amazing! =)

  6. sweeterpart July 22, 2012 at 12:03 am #

    These look like they turned out wonderfully! I made my own pretzels today and they were a little bland-I like that the recipe you used had butter inside the dough instead of sprinkled atop! Thanks for sharing!

    • chewoutloud July 22, 2012 at 5:45 am #

      I’m sure your pretzels were still delish! Thanks for visitng, sweeterpart! 🙂

  7. eatzybitzy July 22, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    I love Pretzelssssss!!! I actually liked many of the recipes from Alton Brown 😛 they worked out perfectly but I have never tried this one.

  8. chihuachsund December 27, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    i notice the recipe calls for oil for frying,but there was no frying involved 🙂 I assume this is for the bowl it rises in and lubing the work surface? My yeast for this recipe is activating, and my butter is melting as I type this, I can’t wait to taste these!

    • chihuachsund December 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

      also, why do you spray the parchment paper?

      • chewoutloud December 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

        To ensure pretzels easily remove from paper, but you can try it without. 🙂

    • chewoutloud December 27, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      Yes, the oil is for bowl rising. 🙂

      • chihuachsund January 5, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

        thanks, they turned out WONDERFUL, making another batch tonight!


  1. Soft Pretzel Sticks | A HEALTHY LIFE FOR ME - July 25, 2012

    […] Perfect Homemade Pretzels, Soft and Chewy ( […]

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