Sunday, August 21, 2011

Whole Wheat Soft Pretzels

In the afternoons, I tend to get really bored driving around by myself for work.  Radio is the only thing to keep me company, and although I was always a strictly-music type of gal, hearing the same songs over & over can wear on you.

So lately I have been listening to a radio show where these two guys, Deminski & Doyle, have people call in and comment about things.  They'll take something that's in the news, something in their life, a political issue, or even just a random thing they saw and turn it into a question.

Like, "What's a movie that you can never resist watching when it's on TV?"

Or, "Should NJ limit the amount of times you can get married?

I have been wanting to call in for a while, and when I heard the question "What was the shortest time you ever held a job?" I knew I had the perfect story for them.

When I was 16, the summer after my sophomore year of High School, I got a job at an ice cream & candy place on the boardwalk.

I showed up for work the first day, and the manager (a middle-aged woman) told me my shorts were too short and to go home, change, and come back.

I was shocked.  My mom was somewhat lenient with my choices in clothes, but she also would never let me leave the house in something completely inappropriate - especially for a job. 

So I stood there dumbfounded for about 10 seconds, then I walked out and never went back.

But the best part of the story is that I just went a little ways down the boardwalk, to a frozen yogurt stand that was managed by a young guy.  I told him the whole story, and asked if he was hiring.

I think he was a little taken aback, but he said something along the lines of "If you work here, you can wear as short of shorts as you like."

And not too long after I started, I became his assistant manager.  It was a lot of hours for a 16 year-old but it was a fun job.  And as I told you a few weeks ago, I ate my weight in frozen yogurt that summer.

Surprisingly, I really never got too tired of eating it, but every now & again I needed a break.  Luckily, the stand next door sold giant soft pretzels and the Latino guys that worked there would trade us yogurt for pretzels.

I'm pretty sure the statute of limitations has passed so it's ok to tell you that now ;)

But those pretzels.... ugh. Insanity. 

Eating just one probably exceeded your weekly allotment for carbohydrates, but it was sooo totally worth it.

And ever since then, soft pretzels have been on my (long) list of food weaknesses.

I got it in my head recently that I wanted to try to make soft pretzels at home, incorporating whole wheat flour.  I haven't had the best luck with yeast in the past so I typically try to avoid recipes that use it, but I threw caution to the wind.

And if you read my post a few days ago, you would know that the first attempt was pretty much awful.

But Take Two came out perfect.

I was about to throw "thankfully" into that last statement ... but I'm not exactly thankful that I ate half the batch in one afternoon?

Whole Wheat Soft Pretzels

  • 1/2 C. + 2 T. warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 t. rapid-rise, dry active yeast
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C. whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 C. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 C. hot water
  • kosher salt for sprinkling
  • melted butter, for brushing tops after baking (optional)

Dissolve yeast in warm water, and let sit 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees and grease a baking sheet.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine brown sugar, salt, and flours.  With mixer on low, pour in yeast & water mixture, and mix only until well-combined and no flour streaks remain.  Dough should form a smooth ball.  (However, do not knead – the dough will become overworked & tough).

Cover bowl with plastic & let dough rise until doubled, at least 20 minutes.  (FYI – I was too impatient to let the dough rise, but the pretzels still came out great.  Just sayin’.)

Divide dough in 6 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a skinny rope, applying even pressure to get a uniform width, until about 18 inches long.  Grab each end of the rope and cross one hand over the other to form into a pretzel shape*.

Once all pieces are formed, make the dipping solution: Dissolve baking soda in hot water, and pour into a pie plate or other shallow dish.  Dip each pretzel into mixture, front & back, then place on greased baking sheet.  Sprinkle tops with kosher salt (or other toppings) OR you can bake them plain then brush melted butter over tops before sprinkling with toppings.  Place in oven and bake about 10 minutes, until pretzels are puffed & browned.

Remove from baking sheet and cool slightly before eating (or adding toppings).  Pretzels are best when consumed immediately, but they can be frozen or kept in an airtight container for a day or two and reheated later.

*Note: There’s no need to limit yourself to just a pretzel shape.  You can get creative and make your dough into letters, braids, nuggets, etc.  Just make sure you adjust the baking time if you want bite-sized pieces – check after 5 minutes for doneness.

Recipe Adapted from


  1. Soft pretzels are a serious weakness for me too. I'm so stoked to try out this recipe!

  2. Pretzels are on my list but I am so scared to make them! (Too many bad expirences with yeast). So glad your 2nd try came out beautifully!!! The braid looks amazing.

  3. I love homemade soft pretzels. They are a little time intensive, but oh so good! These look perfect!

  4. I like your work story! i once worked in a cafe for 3 hours and was then called and offered a better job scince then uptill now I have never had a job more than a year(im 27) but have had many great jobs, I've been in my current job a year and a half and im getting itchy feet hahaha

    On another note I'm addicted to pretzels and will be making these

  5. I love soft pretzels too! They are one of the reasons that I like going to baseball games! :) Great recipe!

  6. GREAT story about the short shorts! Sounds like it all worked out for you in the end. Right down to your desire for soft pretzels! And yours are beautiful! : )

  7. Glad you worked out the pretzels! They looks great!

  8. Oh I don't blame you for eating half a batch in a sitting. They look fantastic! I am hosting a recipe party at my blog if you might be interested in submitting. I'd love to have you join in the fun :)

  9. These look fabulous! I probably would have eaten half a batch as well! GREAT yogurt/pretzel story, too!

  10. Looks delicious! I think I will have to add these to my "to bake" list. :)


  11. These pretzels look amazing. I would have ate the entire batch I'm sure. Better have others around to help with the damage. I loved reading your story. It made me laugh. Just wanted to let you know that today is the last day to enter a giveaway on my blog. If you are interested please check it out.

  12. I walked out of a place right before it opened because they told me it had to be the #1 priority in my life. I was 17. Work was so not (and will never be) the #1 thing in my life.

    These pretzels look great!

  13. Your pretzels look perfectly delicious! They are a weakness of mine too - I head straight for the pretzel stand whenever I go to the mall!

  14. I love soft pretzels! The only time I'm smart enough to avoid them is when the calorie count is listed. These look absolutely delicious, I wish I had one right now in fact! I'll definitely have to try this recipe out.

  15. I'm a big fan of soft pretzels too! Your version looks stunning!

  16. These look a-mazing! I love soft pretzels and will definitely try this recipe.

  17. The pretzels look absolutely great! Just beautiful! And I bet they taste fabulous too... Thank you for sharing :)

  18. Just hopped over from Tatertots & Jello! I've been wondering how to make yummy hot pretzels...I can't wait to try this recipe! Thanks.

    If you get a minute, hop over:

  19. These are fabulous. I love that they are fat-free too (until I added all that melted butter on top). Usually I use my bread maker to make pretzel dough, but this whole wheat version intrigued me. Since pretzels only take 10 min. in the oven, this is something I can bake even in the summer! Thanks for the recipe.


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