Pretzels are one of the world’s oldest snacks. Great-grandfather Herman ate them in Germany as a boy and here in America as an adult. It was natural that they would find their way into the Berghoff bar. Traditionally, shaped pretzel dough is briefly boiled in water, just like bagels, before being baked. This brief boiling gives both pretzels and bagels shiny crusts and a very chewy texture. I omitted the step of boiling the shaped dough when I developed our pretzel recipe for the home kitchen, so this pretzel is easy to shape and bake. It has a nice soft crust, easy to bite, easy to chew. The pretzel is best baked and eaten on the same day. Pretzels are fun for kids and grown-ups alike to shape. We recommend eating these pretzels with any Berghoff beer or a frosty mug of Berghoff Root Beer.–Carlyn Berghoff and Nancy Ross Ryan
Fresh Baked Pretzels
- Quick Glance
- 35 M
- 2 H
- Makes 12 medium-size or 24 small pretzels
IngredientsEmail Grocery List
- Cheese Pretzels
- Add 2 cups (8 ounces) of grated white Cheddar cheese to the dry ingredients and proceed with the recipe. Or add 1 cup (4 ounces) of grated Parmesan cheese to the flour and proceed with the recipe, then sprinkle a second cup of grated Parmesan (4 ounces) on the egg white–brushed pretzels before baking.
- Caraway Pretzels
- Add 4 teaspoons of caraway seeds to the flour and proceed with the recipe. Top the pretzels with 1/2 cup of coarse salt before baking.
- Bacon Pretzels
- Add 1/2 cup of bacon bits (from a jar or package) to the flour and proceed with the recipe. Sprinkle the pretzels with kosher salt as needed and 1/4 cup of bacon bits before baking.
- Chocolate Chip Pretzels
- Increase the butter to 1/2 cup and the sugar to 1/3 cup, and prepare the dough according to the recipe. Add 1 cup of chocolate chips to the finished dough, kneading only long enough to incorporate the chips. Dust the baked pretzels with 1 1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar.
- Cinnamon-Raisin Pretzels
- Increase the butter to 1/2 cup and the sugar to 1/2 cup, and add 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon. Prepare the dough according to the recipe. Add 1/2 cup of dark raisins to the finished dough, kneading only long enough to incorporate. Dust the baked pretzels well with 1 1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar.
- Make half-size versions of any of the above by dividing the dough into 24 equal-size pieces and rolling into 12-inch-long ropes. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe as directed.
Recipe Testers Reviews
These fresh-baked pretzels are delicious and fun to make. When following the instructions, the resulting dough is so soft—the phrase “like a baby’s bottom” may be appropriate. It’s not at all sticky and therefore highly pliable, able to conform to any shape.
Once baked, the pretzels maintain their softness and are wonderfully chewy, even fluffy. A little salt makes them delectable, though they’re improved by any of the recommended variation ingredients, especially bacon. After all, bacon makes everything better. I highly recommend this recipe if you’re craving soft pretzels.
Even though the pretzels were best slightly warm, they were still quite good the next day— still soft but a bit chewier. They took a little coaxing to roll them into ropes but once that was accomplished, by using a little more flour on our hands and work surface, they were very easily shaped, even by our 10-year-old helper. The baking time was right on the money with this recipe, and the pretzels were nicely browned at exactly 14 minutes.