Hard pretzel rods made from scratch! Perfectly salty, crunchy, dippable. Snack time will never be the same.
For the dough:
- 1 cup warm water (110 to 115°F), divided
- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar, divided
- 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the baking soda bath:
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 cup baked soda*
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water (egg wash)
- 2 tablespoons pretzel salt or coarse sea salt
- *NOTE: Baked soda is not another term for baking soda. It’s actually baking soda that has been baked, which provides a more alkaline boiling mixture so you don’t have to use traditional lye. To make baked soda, spread baking soda on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 250°F for 1 hour. That’s it!
- In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup warm water and 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar. Add yeast and stir to dissolve. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes until slightly foamy.
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, stir remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar, both flours and salt until combined. Add yeast mixture and remaining 3/4 cup warm water; stir until a dough forms.
- Knead dough by hand on a lightly floured surface 5 to 10 minutes until smooth, satiny and elastic; OR, knead dough with dough hook attachment in stand mixer on medium speed 5 minutes until smooth, satiny and elastic. Shape dough into a ball and place in a large bowl lightly greased with oil or cooking spray. Cover bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place 1 hour until doubled.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Punch down risen dough and divide into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a roughly 9-inch-long rod (about 1/4-inch wide) and place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Cover loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap or a lightweight kitchen towel and let rise 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F. Prepare the baking soda bath: In a large saucepan, bring water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add baked soda* and 1/4 cup brown sugar; stir to dissolve.
- Carefully drop a few dough rods into simmering bath. Poach 15 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon or tongs and return to lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough rods.
- Brush tops of rods with egg wash, then sprinkle with salt. Bake 33 to 38 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking, until rods are a deep golden brown and hardened. Cool pretzels completely on pans.
- Fully cooled pretzel rods can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Note that these pretzels will not be as hard and crunchy as store bought varieties. That said, they will still have a delightful, snappy crunch and slight chew, along with the classic pretzel flavors.
- These pretzels taste best the day they are made. As is the case with most homemade pretzels, they will lose their traditional texture the next day and beyond — that said, they’ll still be tasty for up to 1 week.
- To freeze: Fully cool fully baked pretzel rods. Transfer to a Ziploc bag, seal and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
Keywords: baking soda bath, pretzel salt, homemade pretzels, pretzel rods