Try It OR Buy It: SOFT PRETZELS / by Anthony Michael Contrino

Photo by Andrea Patton Photography

Photo by Andrea Patton Photography

I’ve never met a soft pretzel I didn’t like.  If you’ve never made a yeast dough, this is a good place to begin.  While the recipe may sound a bit complicated, it’s actually relatively simple.  All you need is some patience.  These are best served the day they are made and pair well with Cheesy IPA Fondue or Smokey Mustardy Mayo.


Soft Pretzel Bites

Makes about 4 dozen 


For the pretzel dough:

1 cup warm water (110 degrees)

1 1/4-ounce package instant yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

2/3 cup baking soda


For the egg wash:

1 egg

Pinch of Kosher salt

Fleur de sel

Combine the water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Whisk to combine.  Dissolve the salt in the melted butter and add to the yeast mixture; whisk to combine.  Add the flour.  Using the dough hook attachment, mix until all the flour is incorporated.  The dough will be slightly tacky, but should not stick to your finger.  If necessary, add an additional 1/4 cup of flour.

Lightly flour a clean work surface.  Kneed the dough for 5 minutes, until smooth.  Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a bowl that has been coated with non-stick spray.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  Punch down the dough, flip and rise an additional 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil.  Add the baking soda.

When the dough has risen, cut it into quarters.  Place plastic wrap over any dough not in use to keep it from drying out.  Roll each quarter into a rope.  Use a knife or bench scraper to cut the dough into 1/2-ounce pieces, about the size of a half dollar.  Roll the pieces into balls, and in batches, cook the dough in the boiling water for 30 seconds.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked dough balls onto a sheet pan lined with a silicon baking pad.

Repeat the process until all dough has been boiled.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  

Meanwhile, make the egg wash.  In a medium bowl, combine the egg and Kosher salt and whisk vigorously to combine.  Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the dough balls with the egg wash.  Sprinkle each ball generously with fleur de sel.  

Bake the pretzel bites for 15-20 minutes, until deep golden brown.  Cool at least 15 minutes before serving.


• Super Pretzels are available at most supermarkets nationwide.  Throw them in the oven right before serving.

• The Philly Pretzel Factory has been banging out pretzels since opening their doors in 1998.  Available up and down the east coast, they take pre-orders.  Their products are ready-to-serve, however, it won’t hurt to throw them on a grill for a minute or two to warm them up.