How to Make Pretzels

I always wanted to learn how to make pretzels from the first time I tasted one. I cannot even remember when that was now but the taste was never forgotten. Back then, for me there was only one kind of pretzel; the chewy salty kind. I never thought at that young age that I would ever be able to make them. I really thought that by some “miracle “a big factory had to make them; never in a home kitchen.


My keen interest led me to learn more about how to make pretzels. Not only did I find so many different types and recipes, I realized that the word “pretzel” is a shape more so than a food. Supposedly monks came up with this shape many centuries ago. I do not know about the name source but this accounts why there are so many very different recipes. We have my favorite “salty soft pretzel” but we also have ones with various flavorings, hard and sweet pretzels. The recipes which I referred to as “pretzels” are made with yeast. I have other recipes without yeast like “cookie” or “cracker” pretzels. 

How to Make PretzelsHow to Make Pretzels
Rolling the Pretzel DoughRolling the Pretzel Dough
Shaping the PretzelShaping the Pretzel
Shaped PretzelShaped Pretzel

The original German pretzels (maybe others also) were dipped in a solution of lye and water. This was done before baking. This one step held me back for a while from learning how to make pretzels. This was the only recipe I had at the time and dipping in lye did not sound very appetizing to me. This solution is what makes the outside chewy texture but still sounds unappealing. I think of “lye” in soap making, not for cooking. Anyway, it is difficult to find for purchase. Today the preferred dipping solution is baking soda and water. It is much more appetizing and works quite well!


NOTE: When learning how to make pretzels, most cooled pretzels can be frozen in sealable freezer bags. Thaw at room temperature or microwave each on high for 20 to 30 seconds.

GERMAN PRETZELS

German PretzelsGerman Pretzels

How to make pretzels; another German recipe.

  • 4 Cups flour
  • 1 Package dry yeast
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 ½ Cups warm water (Divided)

Dipping Solution

  • 4 Teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 Cups warm water
  • Coarse salt

Measure flour into a large bowl; make well in center.

Add yeast, sugar and 2 tablespoons of the warm water in the well.

Carefully stir ONLY the ingredients in the well.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let stand 10 minutes.

Add remaining warm water, oil and salt to bowl.

Beat flour into mixture until well blended.

Turn mixture out onto floured surface; knead until smooth.

NOTE: Add enough flour during kneading if too sticky.

Place dough in greased bowl turning to coat all sides.

Cover bowl and let rise in warm place until doubled in size.

Punch dough down; and divide into 12 parts.

Roll dough into pencils about 20 inches long; shape into pretzels.

Place pretzels on floured cookie sheets; let rise until doubled.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 425F degrees.

Dissolve baking soda in warm water.

Dunk pretzels one at a time in the warm water mixture.

NOTE: I use a slotted pancake turning to lift in and out of water.

Place on greased baking sheet; sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. 


SWEET YEAST PRETZELS

Sweet Yeast PretzelsSweet Yeast Pretzels

How to make pretzels with sugar? These are called sweet pretzels but are not really sweet. They have about the sweetness of dinner rolls even though they are sprinkled with sugar. If you like them sweeter try a light powdered sugar glaze drizzled over when warm.

  • 6 cups flour (Divided)
  • ½ Cup sugar (Divided)
  • 2 Packages active dry yeast
  • 2 Cups warm milk (About 112F to 115F degrees)
  • Grated lemon peel of 1 lemon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 ½ Cups softened butter
  • 4 Beaten egg YOLKS
  • WHOLE eggs (Beat 2 together AND 1 separately)

For topping

  • 3 Tablespoons extra fine sugar (Or colored sugar or cinnamon sugar)

Stir the yeast into 1 CUP of the warm milk in a large bowl.

Stir in about 2 CUPS of the flour and 2 TABLESPOONS of the sugar until blended.

Cover and let stand about 1 hour in warm place until well risen.

Mix together remaining 1 cup warm milk, remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, butter, yolk and 2 eggs.

Sift remaining 4 CUPS of flour into another bowl; stir in lemon peel and salt.

Combine yeast mixture, egg mixture and flour lemon peel mixture.

Turn dough out onto floured surface; knead about 10 minutes until fairly stiff and smooth.

Divide dough into about 36 pieces; roll each into 12 inches long ropes.

Shape each rope into pretzel shapes; place on buttered baking sheets.

Cover pretzels and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350F degrees.

Brush pretzels with remaining 1 beaten egg.

Bake 20 minutes until or golden brown.

Sprinkle pretzels with extra fine sugar; cool on rack.


SOFT PRETZELS

Learn how to make pretzels that are soft.

  • ¾ Cup warm water (105F to 115F degrees)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Package (1/4 Ounces) active dry yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon table salt
  • 2 ½ To 3 Cups flour
  • ¼ Cup baking soda
  • 6 Cups boiling water
  • 1 Egg white (Beaten)
  • Coarse salt

Combine warm water, sugar and yeast in large bowl; stir to dissolve.

Let yeast mixture stand until bubbly about 5 minutes.

Add table salt and 1 cup of flour to the yeast mixture; beat well.

Stir in as much of the remaining flour (About 1 ½ cups) to make a soft dough.

Knead dough on floured surface using as much of the remaining flour to prevent sticking.

Knead until smooth and elastic about 10 minutes; cover with inverted bowl for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 12 equal parts; roll each part into 20 inch long rope.

Twist rope into pretzel shape; place on well greased baking sheet.

Let pretzels rise (Uncovered) for 30 minutes until almost doubled.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 400F degrees.

Add baking soda to 6 CUPS boiling water in non aluminum Dutch oven.

Over MEDIUM HIGH heat carefully lift with spatula 1 or 2 pretzels at a time.

Lower into boiling water; cook about 15 seconds until puffed.

Remove from water draining well; place on greased baking sheets.

Brush pretzels with beaten egg white; sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake about 20 minutes; remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

OPTION: To make rye pretzels prepare recipe substituting ½ cup of rye flour for ½ cup regular flour and add 1 tablespoon caraway seeds.


SOFT BEER PRETZELS RECIPE

Learn how to make pretzels that are soft and are made with beer.

  • 1 Bottle (12 Ounces) beer (Heated to 110F to 115F degrees)
  • 1 Package (1/4 Ounces) active dry yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons salt
  • 4 to 4 ½ Cups flour
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda

Topping

  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • Coarse salt

Stir yeast into warm beer until dissolved.

In large bowl combine butter, sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons salt and yeast mixture.

Add 3 cups of flour; beat on medium speed of mixer until smooth.

Stir in enough remaining flour to form soft dough (Dough will be sticky).

Turn dough onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic 6 to 8 minutes.

Place dough in greased bowl turning to coat top; cover with plastic wrap.

Let rise in warm place until doubled about 1 hour.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 425F DEGREES.

Punch dough down; divide and shape into 8 balls.

Roll each ball into 14 inch long ropes; twist into pretzel shape.

In large Dutch oven bring water and baking soda to a boil.

Carefully drop pretzels 2 at a time into boiling water; cook 30 seconds.

Remove pretzels with a slotted spoon; drain well on paper towels.

Place pretzels 2 inch apart on greased baking sheets.

Beat together in small bowl egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water.

Brush yolk mixture over pretzels; sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown; remove from pan to cooling rack.


SOFT PRETZELS

Learn how to make pretzels dipped in melted butter. 

  • 1 ½ Cups warm water 112F to 115F degrees
  • 4 Teaspoons yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 ½ cups flour

Dip Before Baking

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 Teaspoons baking soda
  • Coarse salt
  • Melted butter

Combine water, yeast, oil, salt and brown sugar in large bowl.

Stir in flour until soft dough forms; turn out onto floured surface.

Knead adding more flour as needed until no longer sticky.

Place in greased bowl turning to coat top; cover with plastic wrap.

Let dough rise until doubled about 45 to 60 minutes.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 500F degrees.

Divide dough into equal parts (Depending on size of pretzels you desire).

Roll dough into long ropes and shape into pretzels.

Combine warm water and baking soda for dipping.

Dip pretzels in mixture and place on greased baking sheets.

Sprinkle pretzels with coarse salt; bake until brown about 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and dip pretzels in melted butter.


PRAYER PRETZELS RECIPE 

Learn how to make pretzels with no rising time.

  • 1 Cup warm water (112F to 115F degrees)
  • 2 Packages dry yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 Teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 Egg (Beaten)
  • Coarse salt

Combine and mix warm water, yeast, sugar and flour.

Knead on lightly floured surface and divide into equal parts.

Roll each part into pretzel shape and place on tray.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 400F degrees.

In large pot add baking soda to pot of boiling water.

Drop pretzels in boiling water one at a time; boil 5 seconds.

Place pretzels on buttered baking sheets; brush with beaten egg.

Sprinkle with coarse salt; bake about 12 to 15 minutes.


WHOLE WHEAT CHEESE PRETZELS RECIPE

Learn how to make pretzels with whole wheat and cheese. 

  • 1 Package dry yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ¾ Teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ Cups warm water 112F to 115F degrees
  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese shredded
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 Egg white
  • 2 Tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 425F degrees.

Dissolve yeast, sugar and salt in 1 ½ cups warm water; let stand 5 minutes.

Combine flours and cheese in a large mixing bowl; add yeast mixture.

Beat on low speed of mixer until well blended.

Knead on floured surface until smooth about 5 minutes.

Cut dough into 32 equal parts; shape each into a ball.

Roll each ball into 14 inch long ropes; twist into pretzel shape.

Place on baking sheets coated with cooking spray

Beat egg white with 2 tablespoons water; brush each pretzel.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned; makes 32.


ZOAR PRETZELS RECIPE

Learn how to make pretzels like the historical village made in Northeastern Ohio.

  • 1 Cake (2 Ounces) compressed yeast (OR equivalent) 
  • 2 cups milk (Scald and cool)
  • 1 Cup water
  • 6 to 8 Cups sifted flour
  • 6 Tablespoons lard (OR solid shortening)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon salt

Dip

  • 1 Tablespoon lye (Substitute 1/3 cup of baking soda for the lye in the 2 quarts of water).
  • 2 Quarts water
  • Salt

Combine the ingredients as for rolls.

Mix to medium dough; let it rise for 20 minutes.

Cut off pieces of dough the size of an egg.

Roll and shape into pretzels.

Place on cloth on warm baking board; let rise.

Dip each one into hot lye water (1 tablespoon lye to 2 quarts water)

Place on greased cookie sheets.

Sprinkle with salt and bake in 400 degree oven until brown.

These will be about 3 inches across with crisp crust and soft inside.


HOW TO MAKE PRETZEL RECIPE

Learn how to make pretzels with whole wheat flour.

  • 5 Cups whole wheat flour PLUS for rolling
  • 1 Ounce cube yeast (Or 1 tablespoon dry)
  • 4 ½ Cups warm water (Divided)
  • 1 to 2 Teaspoons salt
  • Butter for greasing trays

Dipping

  • 4 Tablespoons baking soda
  • 3 Cups boiling water
  • Coarse salt for tops

Sift flour and measure 3 CUPS into a large bowl; make well in center.

Crumble yeast in the well; add 3 ½ CUPS warm water to well.

Stir to a batter beginning in the well pulling in the flour from sides.

Cover with a clean towel; let batter rest about 10 minutes.

Dissolve 1-2 teaspoons salt (Depending on your taste) in 1 CUP warm water.

Add remaining 2 CUPS flour and saltwater to the batter.

Turn out onto floured surface; knead vigorously until smooth and elastic.

NOTE: Add more flour if needed.

Shape into ball and place in greased bowl; cover with plastic wrap and towel.

Let rise 1 ½ hours at room temperature; butter baking sheets.

Place oven rack in center of oven; PREHEAT OVEN TO 425F degrees.

Punch dough down on lightly floured surface; divide into 12 equal parts.

Roll each part into a 20 inch long rope thinner at ends and thicker in middle.

NOTE: Cover dough with damp cloth while working on ropes.

Twist dough ropes into pretzel shapes pressing down the ends.

Bring remaining 1 ½ CUPS water to a boil in a shallow pan.

Remove from heat; stir baking soda into boiling water to dissolve.

Dip 1 or 2 pretzels at a time into soda water for 30 seconds; spoon liquid over tops.

Place pretzels on buttered baking sheets; sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes until brown and crisp; cool on wire rack.


POPPY SEED PRETZELS

Learn how to make pretzels with poppy seeds and no dipping.

  • ½ Teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/3 Cups warm water (112F to 115F degrees)
  • 2 Teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ Cups flour
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons coarse salt

Dissolve sugar in water; sprinkle in yeast and let stand 5 minutes.

Sift flour and salt into mixing bowl; stir in poppy seeds, yeast mixture, butter and ONE egg.

Blend mixture to a soft dough; cover and let stand until doubled in size.

Turn dough out onto floured surface; knead until smooth.

Divide dough into about 30 parts; roll into ropes and shape into pretzels.

Place pretzels on greased baking sheets; let rise until doubled in size.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 400F degrees.

Beat remaining egg and brush over pretzels.

Sprinkle pretzels with coarse salt; bake about 10 minutes until crisp and golden.


WHEAT PRETZELS RECIPE

Learn how to make pretzels with additional whole wheat flour. 

  • 2 ¾ to 3 ½ Cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Packages dry yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 Cups milk
  • 1/3 Cup sugar
  • 1/3 Cup solid shortening
  • 3 Tablespoons PLUS 2 teaspoons salt (Divided)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 Cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 Egg WHITE (Beat slightly)
  • Coarse salt

Combine in mixing bowl 2 ½ CUPS of the all purpose flour, yeast and baking powder.

Heat and stir milk, sugar, shortening and salt until warm (112F to 115F degrees).

Add warm mixture to yeast mixture beating on low speed of mixer.

Beat in eggs; increase speed to high and beat 3 minutes.

Stir in whole wheat flour; stir in enough remaining all purpose flour for soft dough.

Turn out onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic.

Incorporate enough all purpose to make a moderately stiff dough.

Place in greased bowl; cover and let rise until double about 1 ¼ hours.

Punch down; cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 24 parts; roll each part into a 20 inch rope.

Shape into pretzels; place on floured tray and let rise 30 minutes.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 400F degrees.

Combine 3 TABLESPOONS salt with 2 quarts water in large pot.

Bring to a boil; add a few pretzels at a time.

Boil 1 to 2 minutes (NOT crowded); drain on paper towels and pat dry.

Place pretzels on greased baking sheets.

Mix egg white with 1 tablespoon water; brush on tops of pretzels.

Sprinkle pretzels with coarse salt; bake about 20 minutes and cool.

› Pretzels

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