Pretzels are an amazing snack. There are so many different varieties to love, whether you’re enjoying sourdough, cinnamon, ballpark, or Bavarian pretzels. We could go on, but we’d sound a bit like Bubba from Forrest Gump.
One we didn’t mention is a homemade pretzel, and why would we? Isn’t it difficult to make the special dough and shape? You’d actually be surprised at how easy (and quick!) it is to make your own fluffy, delicious soft pretzels. With our recipe, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making your own for years!
Quality pretzel dough is the most important aspect of a good pretzel. Sure, toppings can take a pretzel to another level and make it amazing, but without a solid foundation, they’ll end up chewy or tasteless. Luckily, making pretzel dough is pretty straightforward and foolproof. If you’ve made any kind of dough before, it’ll be familiar.
There are two routes you can take to make your dough, and ultimately the pretzels, flavorful. The first way is to season the dough (like adding a little extra sugar or cinnamon for a sweet pretzel). A bit of salt will be important to enhance the other flavors in the pretzel, but our recipe also uses some butter to give it some fat.
The second route involves using half the amount of water and replace it with an equal amount of beer. Usually, you’d use a pilsner or a light beer, though some people do use a dark beer. Using beer adds a lot of flavor, especially for savory pretzels.
Taking a lump of pretzel dough and forming the pretzel may seem difficult, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy. After two or three pretzels, you’ll be able to do it in your sleep. Here are the basic steps:
Next, you’ll need to make a baking soda bath to dip the pretzels in. By quickly dipping them in, you’ll be completing an essential step as this process creates the deep brown, soft and fluffy inside that Bavarian soft pretzels are famous for. In Germany, they use food-grade lye, which can be highly corrosive and should be handled with gloves and goggles. Baking soda is less intimidating to work with and has a similar effect.
Here is where you can add a bit of extra flavor to your pretzel. Depending on how you’ve seasoned it up to this point, you may want to go a more savory or sweet route. For example, if you used a little extra sugar in making the dough, make a sweeter pretzel. If you used beer and less sugar, a savory pretzel is a good option. Before you add any seasoning or toppings, you’ll need to do a water or egg wash. This will help adhere your seasonings to the pretzel and give your pretzel an appetizing shine.