Classic Pretzels

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Classic Pretzels

star rating (14) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

These old-fashioned "Philadelphia-style" pretzels are almost like bagels -- smooth and shiny on the outside, chewy within.

1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups room-temperature water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 cups King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons non-diastatic malt powder or sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons baking soda, for the water bath

Mix the sugar, water and yeast; stir to dissolve. (If you're using instant yeast, skip this step, simply combining all of the ingredients at once.) Add the white wheat flour, malt, salt, and enough unbleached flour to make a soft (but not sticky) dough. Knead well, place in a bowl, and let rise till doubled.

Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a log, and shape the logs into pretzels. In a large pot, boil together 6 cups of water and 2 tablespoons baking soda. Put 4 pretzels at a time into the boiling water, and cook for 1 minute. Transfer boiled pretzels to a lightly greased baking sheet.

When all the pretzels have been cooked, paint them with an egg glaze (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water) and sprinkle with salt or seeds (if desired), then bake in a preheated 450°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the pretzels are well-browned. Yield: 16 soft, chewy pretzels.


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  • star rating 09/16/2014
  • Philly Bob from Philly, PA
  • I'm from Philly. For those who ask about the baking soda, it's what gives the pretzel flavor. No baking soda, NOT pretzels, just baked bread dough. It's not about the color, it's about the pretzel flavor. Take my advice to the bank!
  • star rating 12/21/2011
  • Terri from Cedar Rapids, IA
  • I really can't comment because I didn't make it yet, but the recipe looks. My kids have egg allergies, so I am always looking for good egg-free recipes. Is there a substitute for the egg before baking?
    You can use an egg replacer to brush on the dough, or just lightly brush it with water or butter. It's basically to help brown the tops and adhere the toppings. If you have any other questions, please give us a call on the Baker's Hotline. ~Mel
  • 02/13/2011
  • Greymoya from KAF Community
  • A little request...could you list the baking soda in the main ingredients? I have never made pretzels, and chose this recipe because I had all the ingredients on-hand. I didn't realize I'd need baking soda until the dough was rising, and I don't have baking soda in the house! Would have been nice to know that ahead of time.
    I'll let the recipe team know. Sorry about the difficulty. Frank @ KAF.
  • star rating 01/10/2011
  • bemuse from KAF Community
  • From a Philly girl who is well acquainted with good soft pretzels, these were great! I've tried other recipes before, and this was by far the best. A few thoughts: For storing: a lot of people up this way store extra pretzels in the freezer. People will buy a bunch from a local pretzel bakery and stash them in ziplock bags in the freezer. To re-heat, you can use the microwave, but the oven or toaster will give you better results. For baking: I left out the egg wash on the second batch and they turned out just fine. The second batch also had a little time to rise before I poached them in the baking soda bath. Next time, I'll give the first batch a little time to rise, too. Yummy!
  • star rating 01/10/2011
  • Jennifer75 from KAF Community
  • Delicious! I used brown sugar instead of the barley malt extract, and they turned out great-- chewy yet soft and just salty enough, with that distinct pretzel flavor. They were also very fun to make!
  • star rating 03/12/2010
  • Dave V from Massachusetts
  • Great recipe. Easy and great tasting. Will definately make again.
  • star rating 02/07/2010
  • Leeanna from Washington
  • The baking soda and water foamed making it impossible to see the dough. I really blundered this process, pretzels too large I guess. Then I found the finish on my pot was stripped away. I think I'll stick to muffins, bread and cakes.
  • star rating 01/29/2010
  • Angela from TX
  • I thought these were a bit salty, but my kids loved them. I like that they are half whole wheat! I put them in a plastic container and they were a bit stale the next day (which is what happens with my other homemade pretzels, too). What's the best way to store pretzels?
    Pretzels are at their best when fresh. You might consider refreshing them by putting them in the oven to reheat and enjoy the day after baking. Refresh = 350' for 10 minutes. Irene @ KAF
  • 01/28/2010
  • Angela from TX
  • How would the results differ if one used non-diastatic malt powder (as is used for the bagel recipe on this site) instead of baking soda in the bath?
    The non-diastatic malt will give the exterior a sweeter taste than the salty one that baking soda gives. Molly @ KAF
  • star rating 01/03/2010
  • Tracy from Clifton Park, NY
  • This recipe came out great. I didn't have both flours or the malt so I just used all purpose flour and sugar and didn't have any problems. My son had fun helping to make the pretzels. As a twist I took defrosted hot dogs and wrapped them in the dough for lunch and they came out perfectly.
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