I’m not even going to gum up this post with a whole schpeal about how everyone loves soft pretzels and how easy these are to make and how they taste exactly like the famous Auntie Anne’s pretzels from the mall, though all of those things are true.
I’ve searched for the perfect pretzel recipe for years and this year, I finally found it and now I am finally ready to share it. Not like it was a huge secret, but you know, whatever. This pretzel is slightly sweet and can be topped with cinnamon and sugar, or brushed with garlic butter and dipped in melty cheese. I suggest both.
Whole Wheat Soft Pretzel Twists
2 cups milk
1 1/2 Tbs active dry yeast (2 packets)
6 Tbs brown sugar
4 Tbs butter, room temperature
3 1/2 cups white flour, plus 1/2 cup as needed
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup baking soda
2 cups warm water
Melted butter (for brushing onto the fresh pretzels)
Dipping Sauce (optional)
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
1. Warm the milk on the stove or in the microwave until it is 110 degrees, pour into a large bowl and whisk in the yeast until it is dissolved. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. It should have little bubbles around the bowl.
2. While your yeast is working, mix together the flours, brown sugar, salt and butter in a bowl. The easiest way to blend in the butter is with your fingers, rubbing them together until the butter bits are flaky and well blended.
3. Whisk your flour mixture into your yeast mixture one cup at a time until you have no choice but to use a wooden spoon. Towards the last 1/2 cups of flour, the mixture will get very tough and you will have to start kneading. Folding and pressing the dough onto itself and working in any loose flour. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle it with more flour. It’s up to you. You’ll knead for about 5 minutes and you’ll know you are done when the dough is no longer wet and sticky and forms into a nice ball.
4. Grease a large bowl with a little bit of oil and put in your dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and put it somewhere warm for an hour. I like to put it on top of my stove. When the hour is up, the dough should have doubled in size.
5. Right now the dough is full of air, so punch it down to make it a little more manageable. Split the dough into 12 equal pieces.
6. I roll the chunks into balls, which makes them easier to roll into the rope shape. From here on, I do not use flour on my counter top. The flour leaves everything too slick and the dough doesn’t stay in the shape you want. The counter top allows natural friction for excellent shaping.
7. Roll the smaller chunks into long ropes. If you want to get technical, they were around 25 inches long.
Pick up the rope and put the two ends together and twist the dough onto itself, leaving an open loop at the end.
To make the twist complete, put the joining end through the loop and twist once. Bam! Pretzel twist.
8. Put your finished twist onto a sheet tray while you work on the others.
9. Once all of your twists have been completed, take your warm water and dissolve the baking soda into it. Dunk your twists onto the water mixture and put back on the sheet tray. The baking soda gives your pretzels that pretzel-y crust. Sprinkle on some salt at this time if you’d like.
10. Let your twists sit and rise for 10 more minutes before baking. Then get those suckers in the oven for 7-9 minutes or until golden brown and brush with melted butter.
Go ahead and dip them in cheese dip, marinara sauce or some more melted butter.