Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Nate and I have a new addiction.  Homemade pretzels. 

I had no clue you could make pretzels at home.  The things you learn in the ripe old age of 30. 

I also learned how to use the broil feature on our oven for the first time last week.  I blame 8 years of college for making me miss out on learning these amazing life features.

Our recent reader survey also said that recipes were your least favorite posts.  I give my readers what they want post what I want.

Homemade Pretzels by Decor and the Dog

These pretzels are so good that you are going to be begging for recipes from me.  Seriously.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown. (Side note: I fell asleep to Alton Brown for about 2 years straight.  Nate had a slight addiction to ol’ Alton.  Man knows his pretzels.)

Yields: 8 pretzels.  (We use half of the dough for the two of us.)


  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • Butter (melted) for brushing (~1-2 tablespoons)
  • Optional: Kosher salt for cheese dipping pretzels or cinnamon/sugar for sweet pretzels.

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Mmm, foam.

Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and place into greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap. 

Sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.  We turn on our fireplace and shut the office door.  Instant sauna.  I suggest napping during this step.  Mmm, napping.


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. (I bold this step because I always forget it.)

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope.



To make the traditional pretzel shape: 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.



To make the pretzel bites: Slice the rope into ~1 inch pieces.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds.


Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Drain the best you can.  Place on a baking sheet.

To make pretzels for cheese dipping:  Brush the top of each pretzel with the melted butter and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 10 – 12 minutes. Brush with remaining melted butter before serving. Serve warm.

Cheese sauce recipe:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (Shred your own for better taste/consistency!)
  • Kosher salt
  1. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 30 seconds, whisking constantly.
  2. Slowly whisk in the milk until no lumps of flour remain.  Stirring constantly, bring the milk to a simmer over medium-low heat until it thickens, about 3-5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the shredded cheese until all of the cheese has melted. 

To make pretzels for cinnamon/sugar:  Brush the top of each pretzel with the melted butter. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 10 – 12 minutes. Dip into melted butter and then into cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Serve warm.


Enjoy!  We found that the pretzels weren’t very good later in the day so enjoy them quickly!

Homemade Pretzels by Decor and the Dog

Are you a pretzel fan?  Did you know you could make them at home or did you think they were only a mall specialty?  Did you know you could bake brownies without a box mix?  Yeah, learned that one recently too.  Life’s miracles.


  1. Nice. Thanks for the tutorial. Seeing as I live in Philly (the soft pretzel capital), we have soft pretzels coming out of our ears here. My favorite bakery in Swoyersville makes pretzel donuts.. unbelievable.

  2. Mmmm I love you. Mike and I just had mall pretzel bites this weekend and we were talking about making our own. We did once with a box mix from Crate and Barrel and even those were so good. I think our bread maker has a recipe for the dough. Hm....

  3. Oh yum! I normally don't go for pretzels because they are too salty for me. But soft and sugary ones - yes please!

  4. I've been toying with the idea of making homemade pretzels some day with Matea....I think you've sold me on it. Thanks for the tip on eating them right away. Do you suppose you could freeze the dough?

    1. I have no clue on freezing. It would be worth a shot though!

  5. Yeay, I had seen the pretzels on your instagram account, and couldn't wait for you to post about them. I will be making these soon, thanks for sharing.

  6. Yum. Too bad I'm back to low carb eating :oP Maybe you should just make them on Saturday and bring me a bite since the girls and I will be practically in your backyard :o)

  7. Delish! Also, Alton Brown is awesome - I actually made Bill a Date Night Jar for Christmas and there def is a 'Good Eats Night' date in there somewhere! :)

    (There normally would have been a post up about it already, but my computer went for a swim...)

  8. I think I haven't made homemade pretzels because yeast is scary to me. There are temperatures and chemical reactions and it's all a little intimidating. But that pic of the cinnamon sugar ones is pretty tempting.

  9. Yum! I've been thinking about trying bagels, which has a very similar process to these pretzels.

  10. Yes. Now this is a recipe I can get behind. There goes the New Year's Diet.

    I too am an Alton addict. Anthony still falls asleep to him. Partially because I am actually watching Good Eats and it literally puts him to sleep.

    Those cinnamon sugar bites look too good. Dangerously good. Just one question. For the bites, do you dunk them in the boiling water for 30 seconds too or is it a shorter duration because they're smaller?

    1. We still did about 30 seconds on the bites too. We did a bunch of them at a time. As long as they have enough room to float without sticking together!

  11. Um, hi. I love everything about this post. I think I will yield myself 10 pretzels tonight. I probably won't do the cinnamon thing though. I have a cinnamon allergy so... death probably won't be in the picture tonight. But, I can definitely handle the carbs and the cheese, and the sodium. mmm.. I'm tingling thinking about it. Thanks!

  12. Recipe post. Boring. Didn't read.

    JK, these look amazing. I wish I had kosher salt on hand so I could make them today!

  13. I'm sure I voted recipe's as my least favorite - but we LUV soft pretzels and I've always passed up the boxes I've seen in the grocer's freezer section. I just printed out your recipe, it may sit on my (un)tidy countertop corner for a couple of months but I WILL be attempting these down the road :)

  14. Ditto Rachel. Recipe posts are the worst. Just kidding.

    Mmm, pretzels (said like Homer Simpson). I'm sure Nate will appreciate that. I think I'll have to try these sometime.

    And also, your photography is looking pretty awesome, my friend.

  15. YUM! These look so good. I was drooling over them on Instagram already. I will definitely have to try these. Thanks for sharing!

  16. uuuum can you bag up some of those cinnamon nuggets and send them my way. YUM.

  17. I was waiting for the recipe...and now that you've shared it...I think I'll just take my chances and hope I can convince YOU to make them for me sometime. :) :) :) Looks easy enough...but a bit time consuming for my impatient self...and I don't have a am I coming over?!?!?

  18. These look so amazing. I want to reach through the screen and eat them. And Rick LOVES soft pretzels, so I am pinning this!

    I mean, these look terrible and never blog about recipes again.


  19. Mmmmmm I love pretzels and these look amazing!

  20. Mmmm.... if only we didn't have to wait for the dough to rise. Actually, it's probably a good thing so I don't make/eat these every day!

  21. Oh yum! I haven't had a pretzel in some time, now I want to visit the mall and grab one! Or stop being lazy and make my own... maybe...

  22. I love pretzels - who knew you could actually make them at home - not me.

  23. OMGeeeeee. I adore pretzels and those images are actually making my mouth water. I WILL be making these. My son is also a cinnamon toast addict so I'll be making these sweet ones for the kids. See I do like recipe posts:)

  24. Um. I am 34 and I didn't know you put pretzels in boiling water and then in the oven. These look really good!
    ~Kelly @ Corner of Main

  25. Something you don't know about me - I'm soft pretzel obsessed. I eat one every time I go to the mall and have even been known to buy the frozen ones. But I know my weakness. And this many steps is too much for this girl. So you can just bring them over anytime. I like mine ready for cheese dipping. Please and thank you.

  26. I am a pretzel goddess to my friends and family. I have gone to a friends house walked in and everyone was smiling standing next to most of the ingredients. I use a recipe with no rise time though.

  27. Heck yes, you post what you want! Especially if it has to do with delicious pretzels. Nom.

  28. You can also make your own bagels at home, but it's quite labor intensive. It's really only worth the effort if you're using funky spices to flavor them.

    Oh, and in Philadelphia, you find soft pretzels everywhere, not just the mall ;)

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