Crafting Comfort: A Guide to Basic Soft Pretzels

There are few aromas as enticing as the warm, yeasty scent of freshly baked bread wafting through the air. And when it comes to comforting, classic bread treats, soft pretzels certainly hold a special place. Whether enjoyed as a snack on the go, a cozy treat on a rainy day, or a crowd-pleaser at gatherings, soft pretzels have a universal appeal. In this guide, we’ll delve into the art of crafting basic soft pretzels from scratch, unlocking the secrets to their chewy texture and irresistible flavor.


To embark on your soft pretzel journey, gather the following ingredients:

1 and 1/2 cups warm water (110°F to 115°F)

1 packet (2 and 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Cooking spray or vegetable oil for greasing

10 cups water

2/3 cup baking soda

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling


Activate the yeast: In a small bowl, combine warm water, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and active dry yeast.

Mix the dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, remaining sugar, salt, and melted butter. Pour in the activated yeast mixture and stir until a dough forms. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.

First rise: Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size.

Shape the pretzels: After the dough has risen, punch it down to release the air bubbles. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a long rope, about 20-22 inches in length. Shape the rope into a pretzel by forming a U-shape, then crossing the ends over each other and pressing them onto the bottom of the U.

Second rise: Place the shaped pretzels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover them with a clean kitchen towel, and let them rise for another 15-20 minutes.

Preheat the oven: While the pretzels are rising, preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C).

Boil the pretzels: In a large pot, bring 10 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, carefully add the baking soda (it will bubble up) and stir until dissolved. Boil the pretzels, one or two at a time, for about 30 seconds per side. 

Bake: Once all the pretzels have been boiled, sprinkle them with coarse sea salt and bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Enjoy:They are best enjoyed warm, either on their own or with your favorite dipping sauce such as mustard, cheese sauce, or even Nutella for a sweet twist.


With their crispy exterior, chewy interior, and delightful flavor, homemade soft pretzels are a rewarding baking project that’s sure to impress friends and family alike. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a novice in the kitchen, give this basic soft pretzel recipe a try and experience the joy of crafting your own delicious comfort food from scratch.


Q: Can I use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast?

  1. A: Yes, you can substitute instant yeast for active dry yeast in equal amounts. However, you can skip the activation step and mix it directly with the dry ingredients.

Q: Can I freeze the pretzel dough for later use?

  1. A: Yes, you can freeze the pretzel dough after shaping it into ropes. Place the shaped pretzels on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezer bag. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before boiling and baking.

Q: How do I store leftover soft pretzels?

  1. A: Store leftover soft pretzels in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. You can reheat them in a toaster oven or microwave for a few seconds to regain their freshness.

Q: Can I make sweet pretzels instead of savory ones?

  1. A: Absolutely! You can customize your pretzels by brushing them with melted butter and sprinkling cinnamon sugar before baking. Serve them with a sweet glaze or dipping sauce for a delightful dessert twist.

Q: What if I don’t have coarse sea salt for sprinkling?

  1. A: No worries! You can use kosher salt or even regular table salt as a substitute for coarse sea salt. Just be mindful of the intensity of the saltiness and adjust accordingly.

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