This is our basic pretzel dough recipe. It is the foundation of most of our pretzel recipes on this site. You have the option here for both a quick and long rise process.
Basic Pretzel Dough Recipe
- 3 ¼ Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Water 120 ml between 100-115 degrees
- 2 ¼ Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
- 1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter Room Temperature
- 2 Teaspoons Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Food Grade Lye
- 6 Cups Water
- Preheat oven to 225 (this is where you will place the dough as it rises). We usually sit it atop our toaster oven. If your oven is built into the wall then just leave the dough on the counter at room temperature.
- Add water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir until combine. Let it sit for 7 minutes until the mixture is foamy. (See notes)
- Add the flour, unsalted butter and salt to the yeast mixture and mix using a large spoon or stand mixer with a dough hook until combined about 1 minute or until the dough is pulling away from the bowl.
- Pour the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 7 minutes.
- Oil a large bowl with vegetable oil and add the dough. Top with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for 1.5 hours (i.e. on top of a stove or oven/toaster oven) or in the fridge for 8 hours.
- Lye or Baking Soda Solution
- Gather safety goggles, disposable rubber gloves, stainless steel pot, long stainless steel stirring spoon. Put on safety goggles and rubber gloves. See notes for more safety precautions.
- Take the stainless steel pot and fill it with 6 cups of water. Add the lye to the pot and heat on high until you see steam. Then turn the heat off and set aside for about 5 minutes until you no longer see the steam. Make sure that the area you work in is well ventilated. Do not inhale the steam.
- Dip the pretzels in the lye bath for 30 seconds. (See notes) Then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and top with pretzel salt. If you prefer to not work with food grade lye, you can use a baking soda bath instead. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes. When the pretzels come out of the oven they will have a beautiful mahogany color to them. Enjoy!
- If you opt to use baking soda instead of lye, follow these instructions:When using the baking soda bath you will need to bake ¼ cup of baking soda at 250 degrees for 1 hour. Then you will need a stainless pot with 8 cups of water. Add the baked baking soda to the pot of water and cook on high until you it simmers. Use a stainless steel spoon to mix the solution to make sure the baking soda dissolves. Then turn the heat to medium to maintain a simmer. You are ready to dip your pretzels for 30 seconds then cook.
- After all of the dough has been dipped in the lye or baking soda solution be sure to clean the pot, any utensils and work area. You can pour either solution down the drain. Clean the pot, utensils and work area with soap and warm water.
- After the dough has rested cut the dough into 8 equal parts. Take a section and roll the dough into a long rope about 20-24 inches. Twist the two ends together and then fold them over to make the pretzel shape. Or shape the dough as you desire and set aside on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Bake at 425 degrees for 10- 12 minutes. Baking times can vary, be sure to start checking at around the 10 minute mark.
- If the mixture does not foam up the yeast could be bad or dead. If after 7 minutes you do not see any foam forming on the top, then start the first step over with new yeast.
- If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook the mixing will be a little easier but a hand mixer or a wooden spoon will work good as well.
- The dough could also be frozen up to 1 month. To use just place the frozen dough into the fridge overnight. Then lay it on a floured surface and shape as desired.
- Cooking with food grade lye can be scary but as long as you take the necessary precautions you will be just fine. Always wear safety goggles, long rubber gloves, long sleeve shirt and pants. You don’t want to get drops of the solution on your skin. If you do get some of the lye on your skin immediately pour vinegar on the spot and wash with warm soap and water. The vinegar neutralizes the lye. If you wanted more information about food grade lye check out (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lye) for more information.
- When using the baking soda bath you will need to bake ¼ cup of baking soda at 250 degrees for 1 hour. Then you will need a stainless pot with 8 cups of water. Add the baked baking soda to the pot of water and cook on high until it simmers. Use a stainless steel spoon to mix the solution to make sure the baking soda dissolves. Then turn the heat to medium to maintain a simmer. Next, you are ready to dip your pretzels for 30 seconds then cook.