Cheat Code: Pizza Dough Pretzels
Pretzels of all kinds are a great snack. Hard pretzels are yummy, and easy to take on the go, but I think we can all agree that soft pretzels are the superior variety. If you don’t, then you might want to stop reading this post now, since, spoilers – this post is about soft pretzels. The main downfall to soft pretzels is that you generally have to put on pants and leave the house to get one, unlike hard pretzels which are usually already there. You can always make your own those times that you’re craving a soft pretzel but also don’t want to go to the mall or other pretzel selling location, but as we discovered when we made the Pretzel Pizza, making pretzels from scratch is kind of a pain in the ass. It’s kind of actually less work to just go buy one.
However! We have come up with a method for making pretzels at home that is not a total pain or a ton of work. It does require putting pants on temporarily to go get the initial base ingredient, but once that part’s done you can totally have a no-pants pretzel party.
We first came up with the idea when we started putting a baking soda wash on our pizza crusts to help them brown. Erik realized it made the crust taste a lot like pretzels. So finally one day we decided to just buy some pizza dough and use it to make pretzels to see how it would turn out. The good news is, it worked! They don’t taste exactly like the pretzels you can buy, but they’re certainly close enough. They’re also cheaper too. One pizza dough makes about 8 pretzels, which comes out to less than a dollar per pretzel. I’m pretty sure you can’t buy pretzels for less than a dollar anywhere – certainly not in NY anyway.
Here’s what you need to do to get your own yummy soft pretzels:
Buy a pizza dough. We always recommend getting it from a pizzeria, but if you don’t have any around, pizza dough from a grocery store will probably suffice. How many pretzels you get depends on the size of the dough you have – grocery store dough is usually smaller than pizzeria dough, but you should be able to cut the dough into 6 – 8 pieces. It’s easiest to just cut it into wedges.
While you’re working, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take each piece and roll it out into a log, like you used to do with Play-Doh when you were a kid. It should be fairly thin, since it’ll puff up while baking, but not so thin that it breaks. You should aim to have your log be about 12 inches long. Pizza dough is springier than pretzel dough, so you may have to work to get it to roll out long enough.
Once long enough it’s time to twist it into the signature pretzel shape. You may want to watch the people at Aunt Anne’s make pretzels as a study guide first to really get the movement down.
Place your pretzels on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush them with a baking soda wash of 2 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in ¼ cup of water. Sprinkle them generously with salt. Ideally you want to use a large grain salt. At very least use kosher salt.
Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the pretzels are nice and brown and the dough is cooked though.
Once out of the oven, while still warm, brush the pretzels with melted butter. Don’t be shy about it.
Eat once cool enough to handle but still warm.
These pretzels take a fraction of the time as making them totally from scratch does, and taste just as good. Also you’ll have leftovers that you can freeze and reheat whenever you want. A win-win all around!