Making Homemade Soft Pretzels

Whole_Wheat_Soft_Pretzels

Brace yourself.  The recipe I am about to share with you is INCREDIBLE!

Ask anyone who’s ever tried them.  People have even called me the “Pretzel Lady”.  (I’m sure they’ve even called me the “Beautiful Pretzel Lady” and the “Unbelievably Intelligent and Witty Pretzel Lady” behind my back.)

I used to sell these at our local farmers market each week.  On my best week, I sold over 100 of them in less than 17 minutes (yes, I timed it).

Here is the recipe and the step by step tutorial on how to make Laura’s Amazing Soft Pretzels:

Ingredients:

1 cup water
2 Tablespoon yeast
2 teaspoon honey
2 1/2 cups milk
1 stick butter
1/2 cup honey
4 teaspoon sea salt
8 cups whole wheat flour (more if necessary)
butter
salt

(You can make these with white flour and white sugar if you want to have a delicious mound of empty calories…but I have found that using these healthier ingredients does not make us like these pretzels any less!)

Okay, here are the directions for preparing the pretzels that are to die for:

In a large bowl, mix 1 cup warm water, yeast, and honey.  Stir this together and kind of mush the yeast around.  Let this sit for a few minutes while you do the next step.

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Melt a stick of butter in a large saucepan.

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Add honey, butter, salt, and milk.  Heat this to 120 degrees.

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Pour milk mixture into yeast mixture and stir.

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Stir in 8 cups of flour, 2 cups at a time. (add more if you need it)

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Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes.

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Plop it into a bowl, cover it and let it rise for 1-1 1/2 hours.

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And it should look like this:

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Pull it out of the bowl and knead it a few times to get the air out.  (Sorry, no picture of that process…my picture takers were out of the room.)

Pull a ball of dough, about the size of your fist off and get ready to make your very first pretzel! (such a proud moment)

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Roll it into a long snake.

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Then do this:

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Then twist it again to look like this:

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Then pick up the ends and pull them down to the bottom.  (And please make no snide remarks about my blueish, boney hands.  It is always a little cold in my house and my hands are never quite warm AND I inherited my Nana’s boney hands and I know my Nana would have never allowed her hands to be put on a blog while she lovingly told you how to shape a pretzel because she was ashamed of her boney hands, but I’m okay with it.  I’m not embarassed at all.  Not one bit.)

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And then, it should look like this.  And if it doesn’t, just undo it and try again.  By the time you get to the end of shaping your big blob of dough into pretzels, you’ll have the hang of it and be able to talk on the phone, make a grocery list, check your email, tie someone’s shoe AND shape a pretzel, ALL AT THE SAME TIME!

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I forgot to take a picture of a pan full of unbaked pretzels.  So, after you shape each pretzel, put them on a cookie sheet about an inch apart.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Melt a stick of butter in a saucepan.

Right when you take the pretzels out of the oven, slather them with butter.  Lay it on thick.  Don’t hold back.

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Then sprinkle salt over them.

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And, if at all possible, eat one right out of the oven.  They are good two days later too, but OH MY GOODNESS, you HAVE to eat one right out of the oven!

With a glass of milk.

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And if you really want to have fun, shape some into hearts for Valentines Day!

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This recipe makes 20-24 pretzels.

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Comments

  1. says

    WOW! I just made these because I saw them in your post today. Holy cow, they are good! Mine look like fat puffy pretzels, but they taste incredible! Since it made so much dough, I still have plenty of dough left to practice, but Gideon and I are seriously enjoying them right now! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    LOVE this!!!! Miss you guys!

    [Reply]

  2. Mayira says

    I made these for the first time last week, and before they were even gone, my kids were already asking me to make more. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  3. Jen says

    I went to a pretzel rolling demo in Frankenmuth, MI (a German Village) and they said that there was meaning to the way they are folded. According to them, the “inventor” wanted to teach his kids how to pray, so the folding and twisting was to represent the arms being folded in prayer and the 3 holes to be the Holy Trinity. After doing a quick search, there is no documented evidence of this, but it seems Italian munks used it in the same way to reward kids who they taught.

    [Reply]

  4. Bridgette says

    hi . do you really use 4t. salt? sounds like a lot. thanks

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, it does sound like a lot, but that is the correct amount.

    [Reply]

  5. says

    We tried this recipe and it was great!!! I ate most of it cause I’m a bread freak but
    It was amazing!!! Thanks for this post! Gonna try the honey whole wheat bagels recipe next.

    [Reply]

  6. Allison says

    Hi, we just tried these pretzels and they were fabulous. One question: how do you store them? We covered the leftovers in a plastic container, but in the morning they were mushy and the salt had been absorbed. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I make sure they have completely cooled, then I store them in a ziplock freezer bag.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Hi! I have my first batch in the oven, as I type! Do they freeze
    well or do you store them on the counter?
    I hope you and your family are doing well!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, these do freeze well, but I also store them on the counter if I know we’ll be eating them within a few days. We’re doing great – awesome to hear from you!

  7. flgirl says

    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for all your wonderful recipes. In your recipes that call for milk do you use whole, 2%, 1% or skim? Does it make a difference to the pretzels?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I use whole milk, but I think any kind will work in this recipe.

    [Reply]

  8. Crystal says

    HI Laura,
    Approximately how many pretzels does this recipe make? Because I’m the only who is going to eat it and I might need to halve this recipe! Also, can I leave out the butter? I’m on search for the healthiest whole wheat pretzal!

    Thanks (:

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I don’t recommend leaving out the butter – I think that would change the recipe too much. However, I feel that butter is a very healthy ingredient – it is a “real fat” that our bodies recognize and can utilize. This recipe makes about 20-24 pretzels.

    [Reply]

  9. Rebekah says

    I tried this recipe yesterday, and my dough did not rise. Any ideas why? The yeast undoubtedly activated, I didn’t heat the milk mixture past 120 degrees, and I kneaded the dough for 7 minutes. They only thing I can think of is that I kept adding more flour since the dough seemed interminably sticky during the kneading process. I don’t know much about bread-making, but would too much flour inhibit the rising process?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    No, adding more flour would have been fine. I’m puzzled by why the yeast died on you, especially since your milk wasn’t over 120 degrees. :(

    [Reply]

    Kris S. Reply:

    You might try testing your thermometer. If it is off it will kill the yeast as you shouldn’t go above 120 deg.

    [Reply]

  10. Annie says

    Mine were huge!!! Maybe I should portion them smaller next time? But they were so yummy!!!!! My family is so proud. I need more shaping practice, but they won’t mind eating my experiments.
    Thanks!!

    [Reply]

  11. says

    On a whim I decided I MUST have some homemade pretzels ASAP. So I did a google search for whole wheat pretzels in hopes that I could find one that didn’t have any “junk” in it. That’s how I found you. I am in love with your pretzels. I melted into a puddle on the ground they are so good. You weren’t kidding. Thank you for that, now I am off to explore the rest of your recipes!

    [Reply]

  12. Amy says

    Can you freeze the dough prior to cooking? I would love to make these for a birthday party and was hoping I could make the dough in advance and just bake them the morning of???

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve not tried doing that for pretzels but I do think it should work.

    [Reply]

  13. Misty says

    Hi! Just wondering what kind of flour is best for these? I have soft white wheat, hard white wheat, and hard red wheat. I just hard red wheat for my bread but your dough looks like a lighter color.

    My kids will love having these!

    Thanks!
    Misty

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Any of them will work fine. Laura uses hard white wheat for hers.

    [Reply]

  14. rachel says

    would like to make these ahead and freeze, what would you recommend for reheating? absolutely love your blog and all the recipes!

    [Reply]

  15. Ruby J. says

    Has anyone ever made these using a stand mixer or Bosch? My dough doesn’t seem to be rising, & I used my Bosch (needed for 5 minutes). I used a thermometer, too.

    [Reply]

  16. Cindy says

    Did I miss it or do you not need to do a baking soda bath BEFORE baking pretzels? And if using white sugar in place of honey is that an even measurement exchange… half cup of honey is half cup of white sugar? Thank you for sharing your recipe.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I don’t do a baking soda bath on mine. You can use white sugar in equal exchange in this recipe. Hope you enjoy it!

    [Reply]

  17. Amber says

    These look fantastic! I was wondering…did you use regular whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour for these?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I use white whole wheat. :)

    [Reply]

    Amber Reply:

    I thought they’d looked white! :) Thanks…I will definitely be giving these a try!

    [Reply]

  18. Belinda says

    We made these today for a special treat. I halved the recipe and used freshly ground hard white wheat and they were perfect. Thank you for a great recipe.

    [Reply]

  19. Jackie says

    Hi. I’m new to bread/pretzel making. What do I do if I need to let the dough sit longer than 1 – 1 1/2 hours?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    If you’re asking what to do if you aren’t available after 1 or 1 1/2 hours, the dough may rise up out of the bowl, but it will still be okay. If you’re asking what to do if the dough hasn’t risen enough in 1 1/2 hours, it is okay to let it rise longer. :)

    [Reply]

  20. Inge says

    In my search for the best storage solution I came across your recipe. I will probably trey it just because I am comparing different recipes. I find it odd that you don’t use the hot baking soda dip before baking. My better recipes have all used it.
    My best recipe uses a food grade lye bath. Since I grew up eating pretzels in Germany, I can say that the lye bath has given them the best taste, texture and appearance.
    One of my recipes actually requires that you freeze the shaped and risen pretzels before dipping in hot baking soda water, then spread with eggwash and sprinkle with pretzel salt. The best thing about this recipe is that you can prepare a bunch and bake only as many as you want.

    [Reply]

  21. Christina says

    Love, Love, Love this. They are so yummy, I can’t wait to eat another one right now. Thank you for sharing.

    [Reply]

  22. says

    I have tried a number of homemade soft pretzel recipes and this one is the keeper. My whole family loved them and I like that it made 24 big pretzels. I’m freezing a bunch and look forward to the real treat of having a homemade pretzels a couple more times without all the work. Thank you!

    [Reply]

  23. Erika says

    Not sure if anyone has ever commented on this idea, but today I made the pretzels into “pretzel bites” like someone else suggested. We were having spaghetti for lunch so I decided to toss the pretzels bites in parmesan cheese after I put butter and salt on them. Love these pretzels with and without parmesan!

    [Reply]

  24. cmsatx says

    First time baking. This was a great ice breaker for me. Easy to make tastes great, I’m a huge fan now!! sent your Blog to everyone I know know. :)

    [Reply]

  25. Pamela Kelly says

    I was wondering if you kept them warm while selling, perhaps in a basket with towels or foil? Did you have any condiments available such as mustard? We have a Farmer’s Market in our town, and I’m receiving an Ankarsrum mixer this week, so was wondering if I might try your idea! It’s definitely out of my comfort zone, though, as I am a concert pianist:-). Thanks ahead for your feedback.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    We didn’t do anything but bag them up and sell them to customers as is. :)

    [Reply]

  26. Paula says

    You mention putting honey in with the yeast and also honey with the butter and milk. Is the 2 tsp of honey divided (one for each part of the recipe)?

    [Reply]

    Kristin Reply:

    The 2 teaspoons of honey gets mixed in with the yeast to bloom it. There is an additional 1/2 cup of honey, that gets mixed in with butter.

    I can’t wait to mix up a batch of these in my kitchen-Aid. I bet they will be delicious dipped in honey mustard. They will also be perfect to send with my daughter for her school snack!

    [Reply]

    Paula Reply:

    Thank you, I totally missed seeing the additional 1/2 cup honey when I was reading the recipe. It must have been too late at night.

    [Reply]

  27. Rachele says

    I would love to make these for my boys but a couple of them are allergic to milk, so I was wondering what you would suggest to substitute the milk and butter??

    [Reply]

    Kristi Reply:

    I have the same problem at my house. I was thinking I would use either soy milk or water in place of the milk, and coconut oil in place of the butter. It won’t be near the same though, I’m sure. There’s also Earth Balanace you could use in place of the butter – it has more of a buttery taste than coconut oil, but I believe coconut oil is much healthier. Let me know if you try something that works out!

    [Reply]

  28. Melissa says

    where is the 4 tsp. sea salt supposed to go in? It was never mentioned in the baking method, except the sprinkling of the salt on top at the end!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Sorry I had left out that info. I just updated the post to include adding salt!

    [Reply]

  29. Lisa says

    Can i use instant dried yeast? And just add it in with the flour? Instead if proofing.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve never done it this way before, so can’t say for sure… :)

    [Reply]

  30. Jennifer says

    :) I have the same bony blueish hands. And, they are just like yours-attached to a great person..lol! :) Thanks for the great recipe!

    [Reply]

  31. Kate says

    Did you ever try putting in pumpkin puree to make pumpkin pretzels? I have seen other recipes for it, but your basic recipe is super easy and quick rather than the massive time it takes with the other ones (and one complete flopped on me even though it got great reviews and I am a pretty good baker). I was just wondering if you ever tried exploring other flavors? :) either way happy baking.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve never tried. That sounds like a great recipe for fall!

    [Reply]

  32. JoAnne says

    Hi,
    I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried making these with a sourdough starter? I kinda winged it last night with my whole wheat sourdough starter and this recipeand made them, turned out pretty well but they could use a little tweaking. Thought I’d see if you’d tried them this way and/or if you had any suggestions.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I haven’t tried it with sourdough starter. Glad to hear you gave it a try!

    [Reply]

    JoAnne Reply:

    So I tried the recipe again yesterday with whole wheat sourdough starterand they turned out great! Here’s how I subbed for ingredients.

    Omit water and yeast for 2 cups of sourdough starter
    reduce flour to 4.5 cups of flour (4.5 cups-ish) :)
    reduce milk to 1.5 cups, I also used buttermilk
    I mixed all ingredients in my stand mixer then allowed it to rise as the original recipe states
    I then formed the pretzels and allowed them to rise once more overnight. I did not do this the first time and I think it made all the difference! I made these alongside this recipe for regular whole wheat pretzels and I think the texture of the bread was almost exactly the same.
    I also used coconut oil and cinnamon/sugar at the end and they were so yummy! I think next time I might actually roll the dough into the cinn/sugar before I shape the pretzels for an added touch of sweetness. I really love this original recipe as well as the sourdough. The only reason I made them with sourdough was because I had starter overflowing on my countertop and I just couldn’t bare to throw it out!

    Thank you Laura for the fabulous pretzel recipe! We really love it! and it feels so good to feed your family yummy food they love that’s truly wholesome!

    [Reply]

  33. Susan says

    Our family has recently had to go dairy free. I made these today and subbed Palm shortening for the butter and almond milk for the milk! They were delicious and the “littles” enjoyed helping.
    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  34. Fanny says

    These look wonderful! Can they be made in a bread machine?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Neither Laura nor myself have tried to make them in a bread machine. Good luck if you do, hope it works great for you!

    [Reply]

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