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Lina Kulchinsky's Soft Pretzels

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This recipe for homemade chewy pretzels comes from Sigmund Pretzel Shop owner Lina Kulchinsky. Martha and Lina made this recipe on Martha Bakes episode 503.

  • Yield: Makes 1 dozen

Photography: Bryan Gardner

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, Episode 5090

Ingredients

  • Warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 2 (1/4-ounce) packages rapid-rise yeast
  • 3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar, divided
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 4 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces, plus more for serving
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup pale ale-style beer
  • Pretzel salt
  • Toppings: poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cheddar cheese, and Gruyere cheese
  • Mustard, for serving

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together 2 cups warm water, yeast, and 1/2 cup brown sugar; let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together flour and coarse salt using your hands. Add butter and continue to mix with your hands until mixture is crumbly. Add yeast mixture and, using your hands, mix until a shaggy dough is formed and water is absorbed.

  3. Using the dough hook attachment, mix dough on medium speed until dough is tight, elastic, and smooth, 6 to 8 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator; let chill at least 8 hours and up to overnight.

  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  5. Roll dough out into a 14-by-12-inch rectangle. Cut dough into one dozen 12-inch-long strips, each about 1-inch wide.

  6. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out each piece into a 30- to 33-inch-long rope (about 3/4-inch thick), starting from the center and working toward the ends. Make a "U" shape with the rope and cross the ends over, pinching at the bottom of the "U" to form a pretzel. Return to baking sheet and repeat process with remaining dough.

  7. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In a large saucepan, combine 8 cups water, baking soda, beer, and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer pretzels, one at a time, about 30 seconds, holding them under the surface of the water, if necessary, using a spider or slotted spatula. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and repeat process with remaining pretzels.

  8. Sprinkle pretzels with pretzel salt and desired toppings; transfer to oven and bake for 5 minutes. Rotate baking sheet, and bake until deep brown, 4 to 6 minutes more. Remove from baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm with butter or mustard.

Reviews Add a comment

  • s.keller1
    30 APR, 2017
    Have tried pretzels several times. Made these with lye. Turned out perfect! Just beautiful. Tasted salty as pretzels should. So proud!!!
    Reply
  • MS12273372
    24 JAN, 2016
    These were terrible, 4 tablespoons of salt has to be a misprint.
    Reply
  • klmccabe89gmai
    22 JAN, 2016
    Just finished these and they were a mess. Made exactly as recipe described and they were soooooooo salty. They also fell apart when they went in the boiling water. We ended up with mounds of supersalty pretzel like substance. Very disappointed. Going back to Alton Brown's recipe. That one is a no fail.
    Reply
  • kieler95
    18 JAN, 2011
    These pretzels are definitely too salty. Need to cut down salt probably by half. This is coming from a person who doesn't even brush off the surface salt on a soft vendor pretzel. Has anyone tried this recipe with AP flour instead of the recommended bread flour? Did you notice any difference in texture? Also has anyone figured out a more fool-proof way of getting the pretzels out of the pot without them falling apart?
    Reply
  • bellysmom
    27 APR, 2010
    These are delicious! Made them twice already. I too have made Alton Brown's pretzels which are very good- until you try these. Both times I made them exactly as written, except for the 8 hour rise in the refrigerator. The first time I did the overnight rise and the dough was extremely difficult to work with. The second time I let the dough proof for 2 hours in a warm place. Made a big difference in how the dough behaved. I did not find these pretzels too salty. Highly recommend.
    Reply
  • bellysmom
    27 APR, 2010
    These are delicious! Made them twice already. I too have made Alton Brown's pretzels which are very good- until you try these. Both times I made them exactly as written, except for the 8 hour rise in the refrigerator. The first time I did the overnight rise and the dough was extremely difficult to work with. The second time I let the dough proof for 2 hours in a warm place. Made a big difference in how the dough behaved. I did not find these pretzels too salty. Highly recommend.
    Reply
  • ABSIV
    24 MAR, 2010
    RE: Salt From the video segment, Martha commented on "A lot of Salt". Lina specified 1/4 cup of PRETZEL salt for the dough. Cheers!
    Reply
  • ljanson
    2 MAR, 2010
    these sure look good.. i did try it exactly how the recipe said... with 4 tbls of coarse salt... i used kosher salt.... absolutely too salty.. im a woman who likes salty things... i bet it should be 4 tsp.... i would return this pretzel if i bought at a stand or somewhere i paid for it .. next time im going to use the 4 teaspoons and see if it would work better. they do brown nicely... my teens ate them reluctantly.... we all liked the texture of the pretzel ...
    Reply
  • Mouseofvirtue
    1 MAR, 2010
    I dont have a bread hook, does anyone know how long to knead the dough for? Every time I attempt to bake bread the dough always gets tough when I knead it , I dont know why.. that's why I'd be nervou to try this!
    Reply
  • HildaC
    28 FEB, 2010
    this is a fantastic recipe- if you add too much salt on top just scrape off as much as you want and the residue is nice because its just a bit salty . I have made pretzels before and this recipe is the best!!!
    Reply