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Garlic Soft Pretzels

Garlic Salt Pretzel

Plain, salt-topped soft pretzels are one of the best snacks out there. They’re a great combination of chewy, crispy and salty – and they’re actually very easy to make at home. As good as they are when plain, however, it’s also easy to see them as a blank canvas for all kinds of other toppings. Much like a plain pizza, it can really be customized to suit individual tastes with the addition of extra toppings.

I used garlic salt to top off these pretzels and really give them a lot of flavor. This is one of those instances were garlic powder – or even already made garlic salt – is a great ingredient to have on hand. It’s perfect for sprinkling on top of the pretzel to give it an even coating and keep the outside of the pretzel crisp. While a clove of fresh garlic could be rubbed onto the dough to give it some flavor (as is often done with garlic bread), using dried spice really works out much better as a topping.

Getting back to pizza for a minute, the dough for these pretzels is one that I’ve used for pizza in the past. It’s made in the food processor and has a nice elasticity to it that makes for a chewy pretzel. The dough can also be mixed by hand, if you prefer or don’t have access to a food processor. The dough is dipped into a baking soda and water mixture before baking. Not only does this help the salt adhere, but it gives the outside of the pretzels an extra bit of tangy flavor that really makes them pretzels and not just breadsticks.

Garlic Salt Pretzels

Garlic Salted Soft Pretzels
1 1/4 tsp instant or active dry yeast
1 cup water, warm (100-110F)
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 oz) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 cup (4 oz) cake flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
coarse salt, for topping
garlic powder, for topping

2 1/2 tbsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups warm water

In the bowl of a food processor, combine dried yeast, flours, salt and sugar and pulse to blend. With the motor running, stream in water. Process for 1-2 minutes, until dough becomes smooth and satiny. Add an extra tablespoon of flour if the dough is too wet, but after a minute or two the dough should start to pull into an elastic ball that is only slightly sticky.
Divide dough into two and shape each piece into a ball. Place on a lightly floured surface and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap or a clean dish towel. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Dissolve baking soda in warm water in medium bowl.

Preheat oven to 400F.
Take the two pieces of dough and gently deflate on a lightly floured work surface. Divide each into four equal pieces (for a total of eight). Work with each piece individually and roll out into a log/snake (like you might do with clay) about 20 inches long. Bring the ends of the dough up into a U shape. Cross the arms over once, then once more. Fold the crossed part down to the base of the U and press lightly into place.
Repeat with remaining dough. Let pretzels rise for about 10 minutes, then dip each pretzel into baking soda mixture and place on parchment covered baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with coarse salt and garlic powder (or garlic salt).
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
Serve immediately or cool on a wire rack.
Pretzels can be reheated by baking them in a 350F oven for about 5 minutes, but are best they day they are made

Makes 8

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  • marie
    January 9, 2009

    you mention 500 degrees and also 400 degrees; sound great to make without 2 risings…which do we use?

  • Brit
    January 9, 2009

    Mmmm, sounds much less complicated than the pretzel recipe I typically use. Is the pizza stone really necessary? I don’t have one :/

  • Nicole
    January 9, 2009

    Brit – The baking stone (and the mention of the higher baking temperature) was a typo. You absolutely don’t need one – just use a regular baking sheet, preferably lined with parchment paper.

  • Marcia
    January 9, 2009

    I bought an 11 cup food processor as my Christmas present. If I make this Sun and take them to school Mon, my students will be so happy.

    I have not made pretzels since my own children were in MS. i think they might be good with cinnamon sugar too. I bought a McCormick’s grinder the other week and it worked great on a toasted bagel this morning.

    I will lay a piece of parchment paper on my baking stone. It lives in the oven 24/7.

  • Dani
    January 10, 2009

    u make them seem so easy to make!!!! i can almost taste them 🙂

  • CookiePie
    January 10, 2009

    Those looks soooo great! I’ve never made pretzels, always wanted to try — you’re inspiring me!

  • bakingblonde
    January 11, 2009

    Oh my, those are going on my list to make for the Super Bowl for sure!

  • Tom in Boston
    January 11, 2009

    I cannot wait to try these! Think I will try sea salt *and* cinnamon sugar (separately). Thanks for the concept!

  • Scott at Realepicurean
    January 11, 2009

    I love pretzels – they used to sell fudge / chocolate covered ones in the shops (some big brand) but that seems to have disappeared here. Shame.

  • Jamie
    January 11, 2009

    I make pizza dough once a week and never stopped to make pretzels which I often crave. I’ll try this with the baking soda mixture – does this replace poaching them briefly in boiling water?

  • Nicole
    January 11, 2009

    Jamie – Yes, it does. The baking soda gives them a great flavor and contributes a chewiness (perhaps not quite as much as a poached pretzel, which will be a little more bagel-like) to the outside. Plus, it takes a lot less time and effort than the poaching method.

  • Shannon
    January 12, 2009

    I was thinking of making these for some friends, but 8 will not be nearly enough. If I double the recipe, what does that do for the rising times? Is it a significant difference?

  • Nicole
    January 12, 2009

    Shannon – You should be able to double the recipe, but you might want to make two batches because most food processors are not equipped (either in size or motor strength) to handle that much dough. Rising time should be about the same.

  • Farmgirl Susan
    January 13, 2009

    Nic, these look so good! I’ve been meaning to try making homemade pretzels for more years than I care to admit. Your recipe may have just put that goal at the top of my To Do List! ; )

  • EBPitcher
    January 19, 2009

    Um – what if you don’t have a food processor? I do have a kitchenaid mixer. Will that work?

  • Megan
    March 18, 2009

    What does the baking soda do to the pretzels? Does it make them rise in this case as well? I have been experimenting with bagels recently and they have not been rising- I was thinking of assing some baking soda to my bagels to puff them up a bit

  • shakir
    April 16, 2009

    what is the price ?

  • aangita
    August 29, 2009

    EBPitcher – if your kitchen aid has a dough hook then it will work, just don’t over knead the dough.

  • ashtrash
    September 10, 2009

    woooow! these look simple wonderful, my dad is a chef and always makes pizza’s with his own doe, but he never seems to get around to making me pretzels, you have inspired me to make them myself, i have always thought they were very difficult to make, but you have proved me worng.

    thankyou alot


    September 21, 2009

    I arouse all well-connected word at bakingbites.com! Thanks admin

  • This is one of those instances were garlic powder – or even already made garlic salt – is a great ingredient to have on hand.

  • Nad
    September 5, 2013

    i made pretzels for the first time today but i only used wooden spatula to mix the ingredients and i forgot to knead it. Still, the pretzels came out great! Thank you for the recipe. They’re really easy to make even for beginners like me.

  • Lisa
    May 3, 2014

    These are quick and easy and awsome with my homemade vodka sauce….

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