This is probably my favorite recipe for soft homemade pretzels. Originally from Alton Brown, it worked perfectly the first time I made it because Alton Brown uses (and has pretty much always used) weights instead of volume. With weights, there was no guessing as to how much flour was needed.
In my opinion this recipe is perfect, and even a beginner (or someone who is just not good with dough) can make recognizable pretzels. Plus these taste infinitely better than store-bought due in part to the pride in baking them from scratch and also to the fact they have brown skins, soft and fluffy centers and can be eaten hot from the oven. If you want to take it a step further, brush a little butter on the pretzels when they come out of the oven.
Small Batch Homemade Pretzels
Sometimes I halve Alton Brown’s original recipe and make 4 giant pretzels with Platinum yeast. Here’s the recipe as I make it using a stand mixer and dough hook.
- 308 grams all-purpose flour, approximately 2 1/2 cups
- 1/2 package Platinum yeast (1 1/8 teaspoon)
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- ¾ cup very warm water (hottest out of the tap)
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Pretzel salt or Maldon sea salt
- Combine the flour, platinum yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the melted butter, then stir in the water to make a soft dough. You can use the paddle attachment or just stir with a heavy-duty scraper or spoon. For a small batch like this I usually just scraper it all together by hand.
- Attach dough hook and knead until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place until doubled. With Platinum yeast this process usually takes around 45 minutes at most.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil (I usually skip the oil). Set aside.
- Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
- Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface (this helps keep the ropes from breaking as easily) and divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, 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 onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
- Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg mixture and sprinkle with your choice of salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.