The Science Nerd

Tag: pretzels

Homemade Pretzels

April 29, 2013

First attempt at making pretzels

I love pretzels!  I’m partial to salty snacks anyway, but there is just something about that flavor, it’s one of my favorites.  So, when Gayle told me that Friday was “National Pretzel Day” I knew we had to try to make pretzels.

I went Friday afternoon and purchased the ingredients we would need, which wasn’t difficult – the ingredients were things like flour, oil, salt, milk and yeast.

The first step was to add the yeast to some warm milk and let it sit.

Ready to make the dough

While the yeast was activating, I mixed the flour and salt.  Then I added water and oil to the yeast mixture and mixed it all together.

Needs more flour

The dough was very sticky, so I needed to add more flour, in fact, I added more than I thought I would need to, but it all worked out.  I placed a towel over the bowl and let it rise.

(Im)patiently waiting


After an hour, I kneaded the dough for a minute or so and then formed it into 8 balls.  Gayle came to check out the progress and decided that the balls were boring, so she made a circle and a pretzel shape.  We let the dough rise for another 15 minutes.  While waiting, I got the hot water bath together by mixing salt and baking soda in a pot of water and set it on the stove.

Pretzel ring in boiling salt water

When the water was boiling, I added the dough 2 or 3 balls at a time and let them boil for about a minute, then placed them on a greased cookie sheet.  Each pretzel was scored with a knife and sprinkled with coarse sea salt.

Adding salt to the pretzels before baking

After they had all been boiled, they were placed in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but they looked great – and tasted great too. Just like soft pretzels!

Fresh from the oven

The balls were a bit doughy because they were so thick, so next time we will probably roll them all out into shapes so there is more outside surface area.  The recipe I used made 8 large pretzels, and we only ate two of them.  We placed the rest in a Ziploc bag, but by the next day, they were soggy and not very good.

The next time we make them we will just make enough to eat right then and freeze the rest of the dough or make them when we are having people over to help eat them.

Here is the recipe:


The Dough

3 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 1/4 cups milk, slightly warmed

1/2 cup water, slightly warmed

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

The “Bath”

3 1/2 cups water

1/2 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons baking soda

In a small container, mix yeast with warmed milk and let rest for 10 minutes. Whisk 3 1/2 cups of flour and salt in a large bowl.

Add canola oil and warmed water to yeast mixture. Pour into bowl with flour and salt. Knead in the bowl until dough is mostly smooth. Only add more flour if your dough cannot be easily handled.  The dough will be somewhat stiff. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and put in a warm place to rise for one hour.

Punch down dough and knead in bowl for one minute. Cut dough into 8 pieces. (Cut more pieces if you would like smaller size rolls.) Shape the dough as desired. Place on a well-greased surface. Let the dough balls rise for 15 minutes.

While the dough balls are rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and get the pretzel “bath” ready. In a large pot, bring water, salt, and baking soda to a rolling boil. Plunge three dough balls into the water and let them “poach” for 1 minute total. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a well-greased baking sheet. With a serrated knife, cut 2-3 lines across each roll and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until pretzels are a rich brown.

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