These are the World's Greatest Soft Pretzels, you know the ones I'm talking about! They're huge, soft, buttery and salty, not to mention totally addictive. This is a family recipe we've been making for years and one that's a favorite at our house.
Make the dough: In the bowl of your mixer, combine the warm water with the yeast and lightly stir. Let this mixture rest for about 10 minutes until the yeast dissolves. In another large bowl, mix the salt, sugar and flour together. When the yeast dissolves, add the flour mixture and the warm milk to the mixer bowl. Using the dough attachment, mix everything until the dough comes together and is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes.
Let the dough rise until doubled in size: Let the dough rise until it doubles in size in a greased bowl, and covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap. It should take about an hour but it depends on your environment and your yeast.
Form into pretzels: Punch down the dough and divide it into 9 equal pieces. Take each piece and roll it into a long rope, about 3 to 4 feet long and about 1 inch in diameter. Shape each rope into a pretzel shape and place them onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Allow the pretzels to rise again for another 15 minutes.
Prep the oven: Preheat oven to 500°F.
Boil the pretzels: In a large pot, make a bath with the baking soda and boiling water. Using a large spoon, lower each pretzel into the water and leave in for about 30 seconds to a minute. You don't have to wait until they float. Return the pretzels to the baking sheet using a large spatula. Brush them with melted butter and sprinkle them generously with the sea salt.
Bake: Transfer the baking sheet to the oven on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. When you take them out of the oven you can brush them again with butter and serve them hot and/or with mustard or your favorite dipping sauce.
These pretzels are pretty big so you can only fit 2 or 3 pretzels per baking sheet comfortably.
You can easily double or half this recipe but simply doubling or halving all of the ingredients. You can do this right in the recipe card. Simply hover or click on the number of servings in the recipe card. When the slider comes up, just move it to the number of pretzels you want to make and the ingredient amounts will automatically be updated as needed.
You can use this recipe to make either pretzel bites or pretzel breadsticks.
Don't skip the step for boiling the pretzels in the baking soda water. This is what gives the pretzels that signature chewy crust and their incredible pretzel flavor.
Pretzels are one of those baked goods that have a short shelf life and are best eaten right way. You can wrap them tightly in plastic but what I normally do is let them cool completely then wrap them in a clean dish cloth then store them in an airtight container. Make sure they are cooled completely otherwise the container will fill with humidity causing the pretzels to get soggy.
Another thing to consider, is not adding salt to the pretzels because salt makes the pretzels soggy. Pretzels can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze them for up to 1 month.