Making homemade pretzels has been on my “must make” list for a long time. I love the taste and texture of the buttery, soft pretzels you often find at the mall or at an amusement park. That slightly salty, warm dough I find so tasty and I can smell them when they’re baking from a mile away it seems.
The other day, I was making pizza dough for my kids who wanted pizza for lunch. I had a little leftover pizza dough after we made the pizza and wondered if I could use the remaining dough to try my hand at making pretzels.
Before I get ahead of myself, let me tell you that the answer is a resounding YES!!
Pizza dough is so easy to make. If you don’t want to make the dough, no problem. Premade pizza dough such as Pillsbury’s dough in the tube would work perfectly fine.
To begin, break off a piece of the dough and roll it into a ball which is about the size of your palm. The dough ball in the picture looks larger than my palm. I rolled the dough into balls of varying sizes and concluded that the pretzels twisted better for me when they were approximately the size of my palm.
Roll the dough into a long rope as long as you’d like. I rolled mine out to about 15 inches long.
To shape the pretzels, first form a “U” with the dough. Take the right side and cross it over the left side, twist it and flip it up. Honestly, this part was challenging for me as you can tell from my pictures. Out of all the pretzels I made, I probably only got two that looked perfect. But you know what, my kids couldn’t care less. In fact, they loved the funny looking pretzels. If I were serving them for a party, then I’d be sure to practice getting the pretzels perfectly shaped. This is a fun activity for little hands, by the way. Let them create shapes with the dough. My daughter made pretzel balls and pretzel sticks in addition to her own “normal” pretzels.
The next step is to place the pretzel dough into a pot of boiling water that is mixed with baking soda. Confession time, I almost didn’t do this. I read several articles that insisted that this step was necessary and in the end, I believe it is. The baking soda and water mixture give the pretzels their unique pretzel taste so that they don’t taste simply like baked pizza dough.
After about 30 seconds in the boiling soda/water mixture, place the pretzels onto your baking sheet. Brush the tops with an egg wash and sprinkle a little kosher salt over the tops. Finally, bake them in the oven for 12-14 minutes.
For our pretzel balls, instead of sprinkling them with salt, we rolled them in a cinnamon and sugar mixture.
If you want to make pretzel sticks, simply cut your dough “rope” into 1 or 2 inch sections, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle them with salt.
- Homemade pizza dough (see below) store bought works as well
- 8 cups water
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 tablespoon egg yolk beaten with 1 water
- optional: melted butter and cinnamon-sugar
- optional: kosher salt
HOMEMADE PIZZA DOUGH
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 cup water warm
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
TO MAKE PRETZELS
- Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F.
- Roll a piece of the dough into a ball about the size of your palm. Set aside.
- Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the baking soda and stir.
- Roll the dough out into a 15-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope. Take the left end of the rope and cross it over the right end of the rope. Twist it and flip the ends up and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silpat.
- Place the pretzels into the boiling water, one at a time. Leave in for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large slotted spoon. Return the pretzels to the baking sheet.
- Brush the tops of the pretzels with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake until golden brown in color, approximately 12 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.
TO MAKE PRETZEL STICKS
- Slice the dough rope into 1 or 2 inch sections. Drop them into the boiling water/soda mixture for 30 seconds. Remove from the pot and place on baking sheet. Brush with the egg wash. Sprinkle with kosher salt and bake as directed.
TO MAKE CINNAMON SUGAR PRETZEL BALLS
- Roll the dough into balls. Place into the boiling water/soda mixture for 30 seconds. Remove from the pot and place on baking sheet. Brush with the egg wash. Do not add salt. Bake as directed. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter and roll in a bowl of cinnamon and sugar.
TO MAKE HOMEMADE PIZZA DOUGH
- Dissolve yeast in warm water.
- Stir in other ingredients and beat (20 strokes).
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap for about 20 minutes to let the dough rise.