(Approx. reading time 1 min 54 secs)
I first started making pretzels a few months ago when I decided paying £3 a pop was just too much of a hit for my bank account to take. I’m not going to lie, they were terrible. From the shape (which is still pretty terrible), to the texture (which I’ve now finally nailed after many, many tries).
Making pretzels is pretty much like making bread: you need yeast and quite a lot of time. However, if you’re short on both, pretzels made with baking powder are 100% possible. No, the texture is not exactly the same, but they’re still delicious. And they can get you out of a bind when it’s 8pm and you forgot to buy your kid’s school snack for the following day (not that I have ever been in that situation, of course!).
Choosing the ingredients
All the ingredients needed to make soft pretzels are pretty straight forward, and if you do any baking or get used to having my 10 basic ingredients around, you’ll have them for sure. The absolute cheapest more bare-basics options will work a treat. No need for fancy ingredients, unless you’re feeling fancy of course!
Before you do anything else, pre-heat your oven to 190 C (375 F). When baking the temperature is important, so get yourself an oven thermometer if you don’t have one.
In a bowl, mix 330 grams (2 3/4 cups) of plain flour, 50 grams (1/4 cup) of sugar, 55 grams (1/4 cup) of butter, 180 milliliters (3/4 cup) of milk, 1 tablespoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Mix until you have a pliable dough, it should feel soft like playdough not like bread dough.
Honestly, you don’t really need to give your pretzels a fancy shape. Pretzel sticks are a thing for a reason.
But, if you’re feeling fancy, this guide will give you some fun ideas. I apologise in advance for linking to a pinterest pin, the original link doesn’t work in every country sadly.
The dough is quite soft, so it’s best if you shape them straight on the baking tray. Just make sure you leave enough space between them, as they will grow to almost double their original size.
Try to shape the pretzels as fast as possible. The baking powder becomes activated the moment you mix it with the wet ingredients.
This recipe is quite basic but it can easily be made savoury or sweet depending on the toppings you choose: cheese, salt, cinnamon, sugar, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, mixed herbs… or you can leave it plain and dunk in a cup of coffee (or tea).
You can ‘stick’ the toppings by painting the pretzels with egg or milk.
Or you could add some of those flavouring to the dough itself when mixing it. Just keep in mind that the texture might change and you could need a bit more or a bit less flour.
Bake in an oven pre-heated to 190C (375 F) for about 15 minutes. How long will depend on the size and thickness of the pretzels, so keep an eye on them!