Learn more about the development of this recipe in my related post, How to Make Soft Pretzel Breadsticks
These pretzels breadsticks are every bit as warm, toasty, and satisfyingly chewy as classic twisted pretzels, but easier to dip and share. Best served hot from the oven, or within 1-2 days. Reheats well in a toaster oven. Try serving with Whipped Pumpkin Butter or Pimento Cheese.
If you wish, you can brush the pretzels with beaten egg after boiling and before sprinkling on salt. This will provide an attractive sheen, but dampens the toasty flavor of the crust.
Special Equipment: Standing Mixer with Dough Hook attachment, instant-read thermometer, 12-inch skillet with cover, 2 baking sheets, parchment paper, sharp knife or razor blade for slashing dough
|3 cups (16.5 ounces) bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon (6 grams) table salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup very warm (110 degrees) water
|Place ingredients in bowl of standing mixer. With spoon or spatula, mix together to form a rough dough.
Using standing mixer fitted with dough hook attachment, mix at low speed until smooth elastic ball forms, 5 to 7 minutes. The dough will be rather stiff.
Transfer dough to large lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat lightly with oil. Cover with kitchen towel and set in warm spot until puffy and doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours (may take more or less time depending on ambient temperature).
Adjust oven rack to middle position, and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Press the dough down with your fist to deflate, pressing out any large air bubbles, and transfer to lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into 14 equal pieces, about 2 ounces each.
Press one piece of dough into a 5 1/2 x 2 inch rectangle of even thickness. Roll the dough into a cylinder along the long edge (like a jelly roll). With seam facing up, tuck ends of dough up, then pinch ends and center seam well to seal.
Set aside with seam facing down. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough. Cover shaped breadsticks with a towel.
6 cups water
3 tablespoons baking soda
|In 12-inch skillet, add water and baking soda. Stir well to dissolve baking soda in water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Gently place half of breadsticks in boiling water, top side down, for 30 seconds. Using wire skimmer or slotted spoon, carefully flip breadsticks to other side and boil for 30 seconds. Remove breadsticks and drain well. Repeat with remaining breadsticks.
|Very coarse salt, such as Maldon sea salt, or pretzel salt||Transfer breadsticks to prepared baking sheets, spacing at least 2 inches apart. Using sharp knife or razor blade, make 3 diagonal acute slashes along the top of each breadstick, and sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, until pretzels are deeply browned. Place baking sheets on wire racks to cool. Serve hot.
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what makes a pretzel bread taste like pretzel and not just any other bread? 🙂
I was looking for the toasty brown flavor for the outside of the pretzels that comes from being boiled in the lye solution, traditionally, before baking. Also, the salted top and the right amount of soft pretzel chew! Have you tried making pretzels before?
What a fabulous recipe and instructions! 🙂
Hello! I have tried this recipe twice now and both times my dough has not risen nearly as much as yours. It seemed odd to me that you just add all ingredients and start mixing, so the second time I decided to disolve the yeast in the hot water before adding and had similar results. It could be the Mississippi humidity here, but I’m not sure what more I can do. Thoughts?
Hi Kristin! So nice to hear from you! I’m sorry to hear that you have been having this issue. I do have some thoughts on the possible culprits.
Have you tested your yeast to be sure it is still active? I store mine in the fridge, and it can stay active even after the expiration date. Try taking 1/4 cup of rather hot (110 degrees F) water, dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in it, then stir in 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast (about 1 packet). If the mixture bubbles up and doubles its volume (increases to 1/2 cup) in 10 minutes, your yeast is good.
What is the temperature of the water you are using? Yeast can be fussy about water temperature. Are you taking the temperature of the water with a thermometer? The recipe calls for 110 F water, but you can try 120 F water, which may help compensate for the cooler temp of the dry ingredients when the water is added to them. Stay away from 130 degree water as you can kill the yeast. It should not be necessary to dissolve the yeast in the water separately.
The humidity shouldn’t be a problem, but the ambient room temperature can affect the rising time. If your room temperature is cool, your dough will take quite a bit longer to rise and conversely if it is really warm it will rise more quickly. Wait until your dough has doubled (or more) in volume, which is more important than letting it rise for a specific amount of time — the 1 1/2 hours listed in the recipe is just a reference point for this reason. When you push your thumb into the surface of the dough, an indentation should remain and start to disappear, and the dough shouldn’t be pushing pack at you. If you want to speed things up, put the covered dough in a warmer spot. You can try putting your oven on the ‘warm’ setting to get the inside to about 90-100 degrees, turn it off and proof the dough in there.
Thanks for your efforts, and don’t be shy to ask more questions if needed. I hope this helps, and please do let me know how your pretzels turn out!
All the best,
Hi! I tried making these, and they were delicious! I am somewhat new to making bread in any form though, so I hit a bit of a snag and I’m not sure where I went wrong. After letting my dough hook do its thing for 7 minutes, I didn’t seem to have a dough at all but rather a horribly sticky blob that became hopelessly stuck to everything it touched. I tried letting it knead longer, with no success. I tried adding a considerable amount of flour, a little at a time, and it just didn’t seem to help much. I was afraid to add too much flour. Finally I just went with it, and even though the sticky dough was hard to work with, they tasted great! Any pointers I can try next time to get a better consistency? I’m not sure if it makes a difference, but it was really hot and humid on the day I made these. Thank you so much!
Hey Heather! I’m so glad your attempt at least tasted yummy. Thanks for posting your question! Let’s see. The humidity could have an effect, but I would be surprised if the flour from a single batch could be drinking up that much from the air. The dough is only about 50% hydration (or half as much water to flour, by weight), much lower than I would associate with what you describe. Perhaps the type of flour you used is the culprit. Did you use bread flour (I usually use King Arthur or Gold Medal brand unbleached bread flour) and measure by weight? Cake or pastry flour could fail to provide the gluten structure needed, and measuring with cups or scoops can yield quite a bit of variance due to how compacted the flour gets (See this post for more info on measuring by weight). Did the dough reach a smooth elastic consistency with the dough hook, and then become sticky and flaccid? If so, the dough could be over-kneaded. If none of these ring a bell, you could try backing off some of the water, maybe by 2 tablespoons, and see if things are looking better. I do hope this helps. Good luck to you and I hope you will let me know how the next batch turns out. I’m thinking of the smells that fill the house when these are in the oven, and feeling inspired to make them myself :)! –Jennifer
Ah! I did use bread flour, but measured with a cup instead of by weight. I actually just got a food scale the other day, so I guess now I have a good reason to use it 🙂 The dough never reached the smooth elastic consistency, so I don’t think it was over-kneading. Thanks so much! I plan to make more soon, because there is a huge amount of leftover beer cheese dip in my fridge begging to be eaten. I’ll let you know how they turn out!