Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Alton Brown's Homemade Soft Pretzels

Who doesn't love a good soft pretzel?  Yes, it's easy and quick to grab one (or three) during your trip to the mall or while at the ball field catching your favorite team play.  But, they are usually pretty pricey.  Making them at home costs next to nothing and is probably easier than you think. Yes, there is a little time involved, but it's totally worth it!  Be sure to start with fresh, good-quality yeast and then all it takes is following this recipe from Alton Brown.  Prepare the dough.  Allow it to proof.  Shape the pretzels.  Give them a quick plunge in boiling water.  Bake until golden perfection and enjoy!

I followed Alton's recipe to a tee.  His recipe is rated "5 STARS" on the Food Network's website and has received rave reviews.

Yields 8 pretzels.


1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt or other course salt
Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula.

Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture. Sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Rotate pans in oven halfway through baking.  Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with warmed cream cheese, mustard or cheddar cheese sauce.

NOTE:  A little melted butter can be brushed on the pretzels after removing them from the oven, if desired.  Just kind of "dot" the butter on so not to brush off all of the salt.

Best if eaten the same day.


  1. Beautiful! I've been wanting to try AB's recipe for a long time now. Looks perfect!

    1. Thanks, Lori! I made these the first time using yeast the was about to expire, but there were way too dense and didn't rise very well. But, using super fresh yeast the second time made all the difference! They were total bliss! Nothing like a good soft pretzel!