I haven’t shared a recipe here in a while, but I felt inspired to bake something this past weekend. Ryan and I were headed to a game night, which meant we had a rare night out as a couple. It felt like a good time to contribute something yummy and since pizza was on the menu, I decided to make the best easy pretzel knot recipe. Caveat – I’ve never made pretzels before. I’ve tried my hand at bagels though, and I really wanted to make something other than my dinner rolls, so I decided to give it a go. The best part of this recipe is that the work is minimal! Once the yeast does its thing, your labor is minimal, and that’s my kind of baking. Want to try?
The Best Easy Pretzel Knot Recipe
There is no substitution for fresh pretzels. You know those ones that are crunchy on the outside, soft and steaming on the inside, and taste good with just about anything? These are those pretzels, and they’re ridiculously cheap (and easy) to make! Yes, you’ll have to do a little cutting, a little rolling, and a little twisting, but for the most part, the dough does its thing on its own. With a stocked baking pantry, you can probably make these with ingredients you have on hand, too!
Homemade Pretzel Knot Ingredients
- 2 1/4 tsps active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp finely granulated white sugar
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (not hot!)
- 1/2 stock (4 tbsp) soft melted butter (not hot!)
- 4 3/4 cups all purpose flour (I used a combo of almond & gluten free flour, and it worked great!)
- 2 tsps kosher salt
- 10 cups water (this is for the baking soda bath and separate from the other water you will need)
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 egg mixed with water
- coarse salt for sprinkling
- olive oil for your working surface (you can use any neutral oil)
- 2 baking trays
- parchment paper
I had originally planned to make bigger pretzels, and I figured my dough would lend to about 8-10 big pretzels. When I decided to go for knots instead, this recipe actually yielded 16 palm-sized soft pretzel knots, and I’m just going to tell you all now – we ate them all.
How to Make the Soft Pretzel Knots
- Combine your warm water, yeast, and 1 tbsp of white sugar in a small bowl. Mix gently and set it aside for 5 minutes. The sugar and warm water will activate your yeast and make it soft and foamy. Note that if this doesn’t happen, you’ll want to pour it out and try again.
- In a larger mixer (either electric or hand), combine your flour, tbsp kosher salt, and make a small divot in the center. Pour in your melted butter.
- Once your yeast mixture is primed, add it to the divot in the mixer, and start mixing it on a low speed. Slowly raise the speed to a low/medium and mix with a dough hook until the dough forms into a ball and pulls away from the sides of the ball. If it’s too sticky, dust with a bit more flour. If it’s not fully combined, add a tsp of water until it is. Be careful with your ratios.
- Once your dough ball is formed, cover it with cling wrap or a towel, and set in a warm, dry place for one hour or until it’s doubled in size. Pro-tip: you could be like me, forget about it, come back two hours later, then continue, and it will still work 😉
- After your dough has risen, bring your 10 cups of water and baking soda to a low rolling boil.
- While the water is heating, lighting oil a working surface with olive or another neutral oil, and shape your dough into a log. Cut out small pieces, roll them into long “snakes,” then twist them into knots, taking care to ensure the ends are pressed against the dough.
- Once the water is boiling and you’ve shaped your knots, drop each one into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon or spatula, and place on your parchment-lined baking sheets. You want to make sure they’re not too wet when you place them, so make sure they’ve dripped off the excess first.
- Use your egg/water mixture to lightly brush an egg wash over each pretzel knot. You can do this with a pastry brush or, if you’re cheap like me, just use your hands!
- Sprinkle lightly with coarse salt, then pop them in a preheated oven at 450F for 20 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown.
Fresh out of the oven, your homemade soft pretzel knots will smell like heaven and taste even better! I recommend gobbling them up quickly because, while they’re good reheated, they’re best fresh! If you do reheat them, make sure you do it on low in the oven to maintain that texture, as a microwave will make them more chewy. We served them with a parmesan dipping sauce, but I think they’d work well with mustard or marinara, as well! Needless to say though – these is the best soft pretzel knot recipe, and they were a hit. In fact, Ryan’s been asking when I’ll make them again. Maybe this weekend?!
Tell me – have you ever made pretzels?