“Soft, crunchy, salty, 10/10.” —­Max, recipe tester, age 11

safety
  • Uses the oven
  • Uses the microwave
difficulty
  • Advanced
time
  • 1¼ hours, plus 1 hour rising time, plus 10 minutes cooling time
yield
  • Makes 6 pretzels

hey curious cook—

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Prepare Ingredients

Dough

2 cups (11 ounces)
bread flour
1 teaspoon
instant or rapid-­rise yeast
2 teaspoons
kosher salt
1 tablespoon
packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon
vegetable oil
¾ cup (6 ounces)
room-­temperature water
Vegetable oil spray

To Finish and Bake

1 tablespoon
baking soda
½ cup (4 ounces)
water
1 teaspoon
pretzel salt (or kosher salt)
3 tablespoons
unsalted butter

Gather Baking Equipment

Stand mixer with dough hook attachment
Whisk
4-­cup liquid measuring cup
2
bowls (1 large, 1 small microwave-­safe)
Plastic wrap
Rimmed baking sheet
Aluminum foil
2
cooling racks
Oven mitts
Spoon
Ruler
Bench scraper (or kitchen shears)
Pastry brush
1
 
2 cups (11 ounces)
bread flour
1 teaspoon
instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 teaspoons
kosher salt

For the dough: In bowl of stand mixer, whisk together flour, yeast, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Lock bowl into place and attach dough hook to stand mixer.

 
2
 
1 tablespoon
vegetable oil
1 tablespoon
packed brown sugar
¾ cup (6 ounces)
room-­temperature water

In 4-­cup liquid measuring cup, whisk together oil, brown sugar, and ¾ cup water until brown sugar has dissolved.

 
3
 

Start mixer on low speed and slowly pour in water mixture. Mix until no dry flour is visible, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and knead dough for 8 minutes. Stop mixer.

 
4
 

Transfer dough to clean counter and use your hands to knead dough for 30 seconds, then form dough into smooth ball.

Kneading Dough Photoset

Place heel of your hand in center of dough ball and press down and away from you.

Fold dough over. Rotate dough and repeat pressing, folding, and rotating until dough looks smooth, about 1 minute.

On clean counter, use your cupped hands to drag dough in small circles to form smooth ball.

 
5
 
Vegetable oil spray

Spray inside of large bowl with vegetable oil spray. Place dough in greased bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise until doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.

 
6
 

To finish and bake: While dough rises, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set 1 cooling rack in baking sheet and spray well with vegetable oil spray.

 
7
 
1 tablespoon
baking soda
½ cup (4 ounces)
water

Combine baking soda and remaining ½ cup water in small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave until water looks clear, 1 to 2 minutes. Use oven mitts to remove bowl from microwave (be careful—bowl will be hot). Use spoon to stir mixture until baking soda has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.

 
8
 

When dough is ready, transfer dough to clean counter. Gently press and stretch dough into 6-­inch square, popping any large bubbles. Use bench scraper to cut dough into 6 equal 1-­inch-­wide strips. Cover dough strips loosely with plastic.

 
9
 

Use your hands to stretch and roll 1 piece of dough into 22-­inch-­long rope (keep remaining pieces covered), then shape into pretzel, following photos below. Place pretzel on greased cooling rack in baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough strips, spacing pretzels about 2 inches apart on rack.

Pretzel photos 1&2

Shape rope into U, with curve at bottom and ends facing away from you.

Hold ends of ropes and twist twice near top of U.

Pretzel photos 3&4

Fold ends over toward bottom of U.

Press ends into bottom of U, spaced about 1 inch apart.

 
10
 
1 teaspoon
pretzel salt (or kosher salt)

Use pastry brush to paint tops and sides of each pretzel with water–­baking soda mixture (coat pretzels well for even browning, then discard extra mixture). Sprinkle tops of pretzels with 1 teaspoon pretzel salt.

 
11
 

Place baking sheet in oven. Bake until pretzels are deep golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

 
12
 

Use oven mitts to remove baking sheet from oven (ask an adult for help). Place baking sheet on second cooling rack and let pretzels cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes.

 
13
 
3 tablespoons
unsalted butter

While pretzels cool, melt butter (see “Food for Thought,” below, to learn how to melt butter). Use clean pastry brush to paint pretzels all over with melted butter. Serve warm.