We love Alton Brown’s homemade pretzels recipe and they never fail to make an occasion Special! I’m not too keen on the fixins featured in good eats though. We much prefer serving our soft pretzels in homemade beer cheese dip. This complementary dip is made with extra sharp cheddar, smoked gouda and accented with spicy flavors.
The film strip below shows the steps taken to execute this amazing recipe.
Homemade Soft Pretzels
Alton Brown does it best when it comes to Soft Pretzels. It takes some doing, but once they come out of the oven you won't want to wait for them to cool. We like to use a Cast Iron Baking Sheet, but a half sheet pan and parchment paper works too.
- Stand Mixer with Dough Hook Attachment and Large Bowl
- Cast Iron Baking Sheet & 2 Half Sheet Pans
- Tea Towel & Spray Bottle (or sub Plastic Wrap)
- Dough Cutter, Pastry Brush + Rubber Gloves
- Sauté Pan (~1.5-2" Tall and 12-16" Wide)
- 1 1/2 cups warm water 110-115 degrees F
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- 22 ounces all-purpose flour
- 2 ounces unsalted butter melted
- Vegetable oil for the bowl and pan
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Pretzel salt
- Combine the 1 1/2 cups warm water, the sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside for 5 minutes, or until the mixture foams.
- 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, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl, then oil it well. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with oil. Set aside.
- Bring the 10 cups water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a 12-inch straight-sided saute pan or a roasting pan (something wide and shallow is best).
- Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto a lightly 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, and, 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 on a half sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
- One by one, place the pretzels in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return them to the sheet pans, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture, and sprinkle with pretzel salt.
- Bake until dark golden brown in color, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
With experience making soft pretzels I’ve learned a few key points:
- Apparently it isn’t required to activate the yeast anymore (like Alton does in Good Eats). I like to be on the safe side though, as it is a lot of work to go through if you have an expired batch of Active Dry Yeast (ADR).
- If you use a cast iron baking sheet we recommend preheating the griddle prior to the first batch.
- Freeze the ones you’re not going to eat (especially with Salted Pretzels) then take them out of the freezer and bake at 350F for 5 mins to reheat.