Soft Bavarian Pretzels are one of my favorite all-time snacks. Now that it’s Oktoberfest, I’ve had a hankering for them. I had a recipe that I picked up when I lived in Germany, but I lost it somewhere along the way. I found a German recipe that’s like mine and converted it from German to English, then from the metric system to US measurements. It wasn’t an exact conversion, so I had to play with the ingredients to get them to work. I also simplified the instructions by eliminating some steps that I felt were unnecessary.
I love these soft chewy pretzels, but they do take some work. Make sure you use a bowl large enough to capture the foam when you dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water. I didn’t the first time I made these. My granddaughter kept telling me that something exploded on the stove. I thought she didn’t like the color or smell of the yeast, so I waited for about 10 minutes before I found the mess on my stove (smelled like a beer exploded).
These days I use a KitchenAid® mixer with a dough hook attachment to make the dough. It’s easier to knead the dough using a dough hook then to knead it by hand. It motivates me to make some of my made from scratch bread recipes. Rolling out the dough and shaping the pretzels takes about 30 minutes. I’ve yet to find a way to shorten this process unless I give up the traditional pretzel for those adorable little pretzel bites. Make sure the rolled dough is at least 22 to 24-inches long (like a long pencil). I usually roll the dough until it’s the length of my cutting board, about 22 inches.
I generally start the baking soda bath and prepare the baking sheet when the pretzels have about 10 minutes left in the fridge. Expect a reaction when you dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water. The soda fizzles up like an erupting volcano science project. The bathing of the pretzels for 30 seconds in the soda bath creates the wonderful crispy outer shell of the pretzel. I like to sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt or sesame seeds. My kids like to dip the pretzels in cheese or mustard, but I love the taste of the salt and the chewy bread.
Soft Bavarian Pretzels
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 pkgs active dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 quart water
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- coarse Kosher salt
Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/4 cup warm water. Let rest until foamy, about 15 minutes.
Add flour, salt, 1 cup of water, dissolved yeast and softened butter to the bowl of a large mixer with a dough hook attachment. Set the mixer on low. Mix until dough is elastic, about 8 minutes. If the dough is too dry, add 1/4 cup of water, a tablespoon at a time. Remove hook. Let dough rest in the bowl for about 30 minutes.
Pinch off dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece between the palms of your hands to form a 22" rope. Make a U shape with dough, cross the ends over each other, twist twice, then lay ends on sides of the U. Place pretzels on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for one hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or sprinkle with coarse salt. Dissolve baking soda in 1 quart of boiling water. The water will rise and fizz as the baking soda and water mix. Place each pretzel in boiling water for 30 seconds. This process helps give the pretzel a crispy outer shell. Remove with slotted spoon and sprinkle with coarse salt. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake pretzels for 14-18 minutes or until brown.
DISCLOSURE: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click on a link and buy the product, I will receive a very small commission of the sales price at no cost to you.