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Just-baked soft pretzels on a cooling rack.

Buttery Soft Pretzels (Easy, No-Boil)


Description

Adapted from my brother-in-law’s most wonderful girlfriend, Vicki Roberts. 

Notes:

  • Yeast: If you are using active dry yeast, sprinkle it over the warm water with 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Let it stand for 15 minutes; then proceed with the recipe. 
  • Salt: I’ve been using fine sea salt in my bread recipes recently, but kosher salt is fine, too. 
  • Sugar: As noted in the post above, I tried several batches with lower amounts of sugar, and they just weren’t quite the same in texture, taste, and appearance. 

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 5 cups (640 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) instant yeast, see notes above if using active-dry
  • 1.5 teaspoons (9 grams) salt
  • 1/2 cup (110 grams) sugar
  • 1.5 cups (350 grams) warm water
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) neutral oil or olive oil

For finishing:

  • 1/2 cup (115 g) baking soda
  • 4 cups hot water
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the water and oil and stir with a rubber spatula until a shaggy dough forms. Use your hands to knead the dough briefly in the bowl, then turn the dough out onto a work surface and continue kneading until the dough comes together and feels tacky to the touch, about a minute. Alternatively, you can do this all in your stand mixer, which will take roughly 3 minutes total. (The stand mixer is my preferred method.)
  2. Place the dough back in the mixing bowl, cover with a towel or bowl cover and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour. Longer is fine, too. Dough will not necessarily double in volume. This is fine. 
  3. Heat oven to 425ºF.
  4. Turn dough out onto a work surface and portion into 12 pieces, using flour as needed if dough is sticky. Note: If you want identically sized pretzels, weigh your total dough, then divide by 12. (Each portion should roughly weigh 75 grams.) Also: Be careful about using too much flour here: it will make it difficult to roll out…just use a sprinkling to prevent the dough from sticking. 
  5. Roll each portion into a 12-inch (roughly) log. You’ll roll each piece longer afterward, but the brief rest will allow the gluten to relax, making them easier to roll out longer later.
  6. Once all the portions have been rolled, continue to roll each portion to 22 to 24 inches long. Twist each piece into a pretzel shape. See video or photos for guidance. At this point, I like to transfer the shaped pretzels to a lightly oiled sheet pan. 
  7. When all of the pretzels are shaped, dissolve the 1/2 cup of baking soda in 4 cups of hot water. You can use hot tap water here or boil 4 cups of water — I’ve been using my electric kettle. Stir to dissolve the baking soda.
  8. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. 
  9. Working with one pretzel at a time, drop it into the water. Use a spider to remove it and transfer it to a parchment-lined sheet pan. (Note: I like to drop the pretzel in top-side down, then I use the spider to remove it and flip it onto the sheet pan top-side up. I find dipping it top-side down ensures the top of the pretzel gets sufficiently coated in the baking-soda solution, which promotes more even browning.) Repeat until all pretzels have been dipped.
  10. Sprinkle pretzels with salt. Transfer pan — I like to bake one pan at a time — to the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. 
  11. Remove pan from the oven and immediately brush the hot pretzels with the melted butter. Transfer pretzels to a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining pan of pretzels. 
  12. Let cool briefly. Serve warm. Pretzels reheat nicely — I love them halved, toasted, and spread with butter. 
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: easy, no-boil, sugar, oil, yeast