Pretzel Bread

When I was in Fort Myers last summer visiting my cousin Jaime, she introduced me to pretzel bread.  I am a lifelong soft pretzel fan, but had never seen it in loaf form, just the usual twists and nuggets.  The bread Jaime had was rich and buttery with a golden pretzel “crust” and lots of coarse salt.  It was addicting and delicious, and once I had it, I knew I didn’t want to live without it.

It took me awhile to get working on a batch myself, but this weekend’s snowstorm gave me the perfect opportunity. The extra step where you boil the dough in a bath of baking soda is what makes it pretzel bread, but don’t be alarmed by the extra step. It’s easy and kind of fun.

pretzel bread recipe

After just 25 minutes in the oven, they were perfect.  Also, anything that gets melted butter slathered on it right out of the oven can’t be bad.

pretzel bread butter

Having two small loaves is helpful for portion control, but it also makes this pretzel bread recipe perfect for gift giving. If you can part with one.

pretzel bread

My house smelled like that pretzel stand at the mall. It was awesome – and dangerous.

pretzel bread sliced

In an attempt to be civilized, I decided to make mini grilled cheese sandwiches with the bread using Cabot shredded cheddar, sliced onions, and fancy mustard.  The results were heavenly.  One of my top grilled cheeses of all time…

pretzel bread grilled cheese

Make this bread.  Make it right now!  It’s that good…

Pretzel Bread
Adapted from Two Bites in Suburbia

Ingredients
1 packet (2 1/4 tsps) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 – 120 degrees)
2 Tbsp. milk, room temperature
1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
3 Tbsps. melted butter, room temperature
1 tsp. coarse salt
3 cups bread flour (spooned and leveled)

4 quarts of water
1/2 cup baking soda

Coarse salt to taste
2 Tbsps. melted butter

Directions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, combine the yeast, water, milk, brown sugar, and butter.  Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes so the yeast come alive.
  • Mix in the coarse salt, then the flour, one cup at a time.  The dough will be tacky.
  • Spray a large bowl with cooking spray or coat with oil.  Transfer the dough to the bowl, flip to coat on both sides, and cover with plastic wrap for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.  Return the dough to the bowl, flip to cover both sides, and re-cover for an hour, or until roughly doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bring 4 quarts (16 cups) of water to a boil.  Gently deflate the dough and cut in half using a sharp knife or bench scraper.  Shape each half into a round loaf.
  • Slowly add the 1/2 cup of baking soda  to the boiling water (it will bubble).  Place one piece of dough onto a large slotted spoon and gently lower into the boiling water.  Use the spoon to flip the dough in the boiling water for around 20 seconds, then lift the dough out of the water with the slotted spoon – allow the excess water to drip back into the pot.
  • Set the dough onto a greased baking sheet.  Repeat the water bath with the remaining dough.  Sprinkle both rounds with coarse salt, then slash an X on the top of each with a sharp knife so the bread can expand while it bakes.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through.
  • Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter.
  • Enjoy like nobody is watching, meaning it’s okay to eat a whole loaf in one sitting.  You won’t be able to help it…

Yield:  2 small loaves

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Categories: Breads, Biscuits & Rolls

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54 Comments on “Pretzel Bread”

  1. January 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    Yum! On my trips to Germany, I also make sure to get some pretzel rolls or bread. Definitely my favorite, but before your post I had never seen a good recipe to recreate. Not to mention the cheddar grilled cheese is right up my alley too. Lovely post!

    • January 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

      Krista, I really think you will be happy with this recipe! If I am ever in Germany I will no doubt eat my weight in pretzel carbs!

  2. mgw
    January 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    Oh Aimee this looks sooo good. I know what I want you to make the next time you come home! I will happily let you mess up my entire kitchen too….

    • January 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

      It depends, Mom…who is going to clean the mess? :)

  3. January 23, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    as I was reading this I just kept saying “what what what what what???” in my head. I am so doing this. On a day that I am home alone. And don’t need to share!!

  4. January 23, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    That grilled cheese looks crazy good!

  5. January 24, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    The sandwich in that glorious cheese looks fantastic. I love pretzel bread, but have yet to make it myself.

  6. January 25, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    Grilled cheese is such a good idea with this bread. Although I would probably eat the whole thing by ripping off pieces before I had a chance to cut a slice…

  7. January 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    I love pretzles too! and to think you can transform it in to bread for sandwiches is amazing.

  8. January 25, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    Oh man, I definitely need to make this ASAP. Even in it’s day old state, it looks awesome.

  9. January 25, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    I won’t blame the bread, ha ha.. the pictures still came out great the next morning. …Wait, you were able to wait til the next morning to eat it?? ;) I’m ‘pinning’ this and will make it soon!

  10. January 26, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    omg i need this in my life!!

  11. January 26, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Total yum! I have never heard of pretzel bread but as soft pretzels are a weakness (luckily they don’t sell them here in Edinburgh or I’d be the size of a house) this must be tried. Loving the over-blown pale ‘split’, just like on the smaller, original version. I think this would be fabulous torn and dipped in honey-mustard.

  12. January 26, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    the pretzel bread looks delicious, and I love your idea to make a grilled cheese out of it! I would maybe even add some grilled jalapenos (although I tend to add them to pretty much every sandwich or burger I eat) and another cheese to have more than one (provolone or jarlsberg?). yours looked so tasty I just might do it right now!

  13. January 28, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    Reblogged this on Green Paw-Paw and commented:
    I’ve got to make this sometime. My tummy’s rumbling just looking at it.

  14. January 30, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    Just found your recipe (and blog) through Pinterest, and cannot wait to try this bread!

    absolutely wonderful post!

  15. January 31, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    All right, I’m doing it. I finally found an excuse to make this. Tomorrow afternoon, we’re having a bunch of people over for lunch. The menu: Roasted cheddar broccoli soup, PRETZEL BREAD, and a delightful honey peach sorbet to top it all off. I can’t wait!

  16. February 1, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    Well, Aimee, I made the pretzel bread. And I was lucky I was able to grab some of the crusts before it vanished. :) We had 8 people over for lunch, and those two loaves of pretzel bread totally disappeared. It was SO good! Thank you thank you thank you for this post!!!! All the wonderful accolades I got from our guests today were SO gratifying, and I was so humbled and grateful to have had access to recipes like this to make people so enthusiastic about their food.
    Thanks a million.

    • February 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

      Hannah, I am so delighted to hear that it was a success and that your guests enjoyed it! It is so humbling for ME to have someone make one of the recipes I post, and then share that it came out alright (phew!) – thanks for sharing and I hope you keep visiting!

  17. February 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Yummy! I think I need to try this. I’m also a fan of soft pretzels. After all, they go so well with beer. :) I also love Fort Meyers, FL. I spent a week there while in high school and have such fond memories. It’s always fun to bring back food memories from a good trip.

  18. February 17, 2012 at 12:03 am #

    Gorgeous bread! Great idea using it for grilled cheese

  19. March 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    This makes me want to cry with joy.

  20. Anonymous
    April 27, 2012 at 2:56 am #

    THe word is addictive ….. Grrrrrrrrr

  21. July 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    Oh wow, this looks amazing! I have only just found your blog and this is the second recipe that I have bookmarked. I had better look up some excercise blogs straight away!!

  22. Amber
    August 28, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    Do you think this would work in a bread machine?

  23. Makenzie Mason
    October 7, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    This is RIDICULOUS delicious. I’m not going to fit into myw edding dress if I keep making this.

  24. Mary
    November 3, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    I just made this and it is sooo yummy! And it smelled so wonderful when it was baking in the oven. I followed the recipe exactly and came out perfect! Thanks for the great recipe!

  25. Dawn
    November 4, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    Can you make this in a bread machine? Thanks

  26. Devyn
    November 4, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Is this one of those recipes that you can or cannot double straight off? There are some baking recipes that I never double because things don’t turn out the same….anybody doubled this one yet? IT was FANTASTIC when I made it with just the two loaves! Thanks in advance!

  27. superscout
    November 6, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon warm water
    brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture.
    It’ll give it a deeper color and crunchier crust.

  28. Jacy
    November 19, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    can this be made in a bread machine?

    • November 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

      Hi Jacy – I’m not sure! I’ve never ventures into the world of bread machines, but if you try it, let us know how it came out! Thanks.

  29. December 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    2013 is the year I start making bread, and I am starting with this!! Would you be so kind to tell me what exactly is “bread flour”, as I’m sure this must be critical to the taste and texture?

  30. Kay
    January 4, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

    I made this bread today and it was absolutely outrageously delicious! So mad I didn’t double the recipe because it did not last. I know for next time. :)

  31. Stacey
    January 19, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    just made this- so good! thanks for the recipe and tips :)

  32. Vicki
    January 20, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    I know this is probably a silly question but I’ve never made bread before. Do I need to use the dough hook when mixing or just the regular paddle? Does it make a difference?

    • February 7, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

      Hi Vicki – use the paddle to start, and when it’s clear the job’s getting too tough for it just stop the mixer and switch over to the hook. :)

  33. Kat
    January 31, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    Can you freeze the second loaf and bake at a late time?

  34. Staci
    February 6, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    This bread is pure evil!!!

  35. Jenna
    February 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    I really would like to try making this today. All I have is All Purpose Flour. Can I use that and get the same results??

    • February 7, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

      Hi Jenna – the bread flour has a higher gluten content, so if you use AP it won’t rise as high, but should still come out fine. Let us know how it turns out!

  36. Daphne
    February 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    I just made this and it was awesome! It was also fairly easy which is great too! :). Thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe!

  37. Sarah Cool
    March 6, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    I just made this bread and wanted to say thanks for a GREAT recipe! You made it super easy to follow along. I used regular AP flour for anyone reading, and it turned out great. YUM – this bread will be in regular rotation.

  38. May 11, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    Just made this tonight – I can’t normally make anything taste good and this tastes AMAZING! Thanks for the recipe!

  39. hajo
    July 13, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    Umm, you are deflating the dough, shaping it round, soaking and then immediately baking it? No rise before baking? Hmmm, me confused…

    • August 18, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

      Hi Hajo, The dough has a small rise, then is kneaded before the long rise, then is shaped and boiled for 20 seconds before heading right to the oven. They’ll look a little funny before they go in, but the heat works its magic and they come out beautiful.

  40. November 23, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

    It was so delicious, thank you so much, I have a happy family!

  41. Anonymous
    January 24, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

    Delicious!!!!! Well worth the baking soda explosion. I’ll follow instructions and pour it in slowly next time :)

  42. February 21, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    PS – I use King Arthur All Purpose, which has a high gluten content. I actually like it better than their bread flour.

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