Soft Pretzel Recipe & Technique

soft pretzel recipe og image

This recipe is from The Culinary Institute of America’s book, The Young Chef: Recipes and Techniques for Kids Who Love to Cook.

Makes 8 large pretzels


Adult help: Yes

Kitchen gear: Medium and large bowls, stand mixer with dough-hook attachment, plastic wrap, parchment paper, baking sheets, cooling rack.

Hands-on time: 40 minutes.

Total time: 2 hours 10 minutes.



For the dough:

4 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons active dried (instant) yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons honey
4 1/2 teaspoons salt

For the dipping solution:

4 cups water
3 tablespoons baking soda

For sprinkling:

Coarse kosher or sea salt


1. For the dough: Use a fork to whisk together the flour and yeast in a medium bowl.

2. Combine the warm water, butter, honey and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough-hook attachment. Add the flour-yeast mixture. Beat on low speed for about 1 minute, until blended, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes, or until a smooth dough forms.

3. Cover the mixer bowl tightly with plastic wrap and put in a warm, draft-free place to rise for about 20 minutes. The dough should nearly double in size. (If it doesn’t rise, start over with new ingredients.)

4.Place the dough on a clean work surface, then divide it into 8 equal pieces. Use both clean hands to roll each piece of dough into a log that’s about 6 inches long. Loosely cover all the logs with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 15 minutes.

5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

This is where the pretzel shaping begins. The photographs are numbered with each of the five steps.


6. Uncover; working with one dough log at a time, roll each one under your palms to form a rope of dough that is 30 inches long and slightly thicker in the middle than on the ends.


7. Hold one end of dough rope in each hand. Cross the ends to form an “X,” with the thicker part of the rope forming an egg-shaped “O” at the bottom.


8. Twist the ends of the pretzel dough around each other.

9. Fold the ends down over the “O.” Press the ends to the bottom of the pretzel, leaving about 2 inches between them.

10. Make sure the ends are firmly pressed in place. Transfer each one to the baking sheets (4 per sheet) as you work, spacing the pretzels at least 2 inches apart.

11. You’ll need to let the pretzels rest and rise again, this time on the baking sheets. Cover them with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes (at room temperature). The pretzels should about double in size.

12. Uncover the pretzels. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, so the pretzels form a skin. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

13. Meanwhile, make the dipping solution: Combine the water and baking soda in a large bowl, stirring until the baking soda has dissolved.

14. Working with one at a time, dip each chilled pretzel in the solution. Return them to their places on the baking sheets. While the pretzels are still wet, sprinkle them lightly with salt. Discard the dipping solution.

15. Bake one sheet at a time (middle rack) until golden brown, 14 to 17 minutes. Transfer the pretzels to a wire rack to cool.

About the book:

The Young Chef

Aspiring chefs turn to The Culinary Institute of America for top-tier training—and now younger cooks can too. Coauthored by chef-instructor (and parent) Mark Ainsworth, this book is for kids ages ten to fourteen who love to cook or who want to learn how, from the perspective of the nation’s best culinary college. It begins with techniques—from key cooking methods to staying safe in the kitchen to how food fuels your body—then augments those lessons with more than one hundred recipes for dishes that kids (and their families and friends) will love, from Chinese “Takeout” Chicken and Broccoli to Mexican Street Corn Salad to DIY Hummus to Raspberry Shave Ice.