5 Jul 2007

Pretzel Baking

Posted by khk

In a previous post I claimed to know a thing or two about pretzel baking… I guess it’s time to deliver the proof:

Here is my recipe:

  • 500g (1.1lb) bread flour (I use all purpose when I’m out of bread flour)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 350ml(1 1/2 cups) warm milk
  • 40g (1/3 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 pkg. yeast


Mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt and yeast) with a stand mixer on low.


Melt the butter in the microwave and mix it with the warm milk. Make sure that the mixture is not too hot, otherwise the yeast will die a horrible death (and the pretzels will be pretty dense). Add the milk/butter mixture to the mixing bowl and wait until everything comes together.


It may be necessary to add one or two table spoons of water. Mix for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove the dough from the bowl, spray the bowl with cooking spray, and put the dough back into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for three hours in a warm place, or over night in the fridge.

Heat the oven to 425F.

Divide the dough into eight pieces (I usually end up with about 112g per piece). Roll the dough into a long rope. Make sure that the middle part is thicker than the ends.


I usually do this in two steps: First I roll out all pieces to about 12″ – this gives the dough some extra time to rest. In the second step, I bring them to the full 24″ that I need to form pretzels.


Form the pretzels and let them rest for a few more minutes.

While forming the pretzels, bring a pot with water to boil (about 1qt) and add about 1/3 box of baking soda.


Once the water is boiling, submerge one pretzel at a time and boil it for 15 seconds. After taking the pretzel out of the water, put it on a baking sheet that is covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle with pretzel salt while the dough is still wet. This helps the salt to stick.


Cut the thick part of the pretzel length-wise with a very sharp knife.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375F and place the baking sheet(s) into the oven. Rotate the sheets after about 10 minutes.


Bake for about 25 minutes.


Take the pretzels out of the oven and cool them on a cooling rack.




As usual, you can see higher resolution images when you click on the images on this page.

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15 Responses to “Pretzel Baking”

  1. […] bag. So let’s see what I need… OK, I’m out of baking soda (I guess I made to many pretzels lately), but I can probably get by without, there is enough baking powder in the recipe so that it […]

  2. These are beautiful! Totally authentic-looking, even without the lye (laugen). Great, it’s encouraging! Makes me want to try again.



  3. I found this page from the link you posted on the sugarlaws pretzel page and I have to say, I like this one a lot better. I think it’s the butter/milk instead of water/oil. I wasn’t sure what kind of yeast you used (active or fast) so I used fast because of how the recipe played out. I did one batch after 20mins of rising and one after 3hrs and I have to say that extra rise time made a decent difference – they were DELICIOUS! The first batch was fine but not as light. I also didn’t have a scale to measure out the flour so I used a conversion calculator which told me 1.1lb was approx. 3.1 cups but I had to add about a half cup during kneading because it was REALLY sticky so maybe 1.1lbs is more like 3.5 cups. Or maybe I should just buy a scale =)

    Anyway, thanks a bunch for the recipe! An entire batch lasts about a day in the house – maybe two.



  4. Emily,
    you may want to try a scale – I usually have to add a little bit more milk/water to the mix to reach the dough consistency I like.
    Also, try to let the dough rest in the fridge over night (I’ve done that up to two days), that will improve the taste and texture even more. Three hours is just the minimum you can get away with.

    I don’t think the type of yeast matters that much if you let the dough rise for a few hours, I think right now I’m using active.

    When I started out making pretzels, I found a bunch of recipes online, but nothing that gave the the flavor and texture I was looking for, so I started with the most promising recipe and modified it. After about 10 rounds of experiments, I ended up with what you see on this page. I think they are pretty good 🙂



  5. […] dry – Leader’s recipe gets it right (it took me quite a bit of experimenting to come up with my recipe). I’m not yet convinced that his baking soda/water ratio is correct, and I don’t want […]

  6. Have always loved a soft pretzel. I want to try your recipe.
    One question I have… can these be baked in a convection oven?



  7. I’ve never used a convection oven, so I don’t have any first hand experience. Usually, when you adjust time and or temperature, you should be able to do anything in a convection oven that works in a regular oven. I would start by setting my timer for 10 minutes early, and then check the color. If they look good, take them out, if they are a bit too light, give them a few more minutes. I’ve experimented quite a bit with that recipe and my oven, and I know it works for me. Make a couple of batches and see if you can come up with something you like.



  8. I would love to try your recipe, it sounds delicious and doable. Your pretzels look gorgeous and that golden colour wow lovely!



  9. “While forming the pretzels, bring a pot with water to boil (about 1qt) and add about 1/3 box of baking soda.”

    Could you let me know how many oz or grams for 1/3 box of baking soda?




  10. Is there egg in this recipe?



  11. Ellen, that would be 1/3 of a 16 oz box of baking soda. And no, there is no egg in this recipe.



  12. Do you ever use sourdough or whole wheat? How do you alter the recipe? I have the KAF whole grain and baking guide books, and some discarded sourdough starter, I found your limbo on their site – IDEALLY I’d like to make WW sourdough pretzels, maybe even with chiles and cheddar – that’s my goal. I’ve made bagels (boiled) before with good results so I’m looking to try pretzels. Plus you can’t buy something like that, especially here in Juneau. Thanks for posting the recipe!



  13. […] http://www.khk.net/wordpress/2007/07/05/pretzel-baking/ View more posts in: […]

  14. Hi! This looks great, thanks for sharing! If I wanted to freeze the shaped pretzels for future baking, would I do the baking soda bath before freezing, or later when I want to bake them? If done later, do you think I would have to completely thaw the pretzels first? Thanks!



  15. Steph, the way I do this is, I freeze the baked pretzels. They then go straight from the freezer into my (convection) toaster oven for about 4 minutes at 350F and they come out perfect.



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