In honor of national pretzel day, I am giving you the scoop on how to make perfect soft baked vegan pretzels. I developed this recipe last December for an edible holiday gifts class and have been just waiting for the right time to share it. Well, I got your pretzels right here!
These pretzels make a great snack and are really easy to make. If you’re looking for a healthier version, you can make these whole wheat too. I like to double the recipe and freeze the extra baked pretzels for a convenient snack later down the road.
You know, most soft baked pretzels involve the use of lye or an egg wash to get that nice glossy exterior. Since I’ve made these healthy and vegan, the exterior will be less glossy and may crack a bit. One way to get a little extra browning in the oven is to use baking soda. These pretzels get poached so to speak in simmering water with baking soda, salted, then baked. If you take a sharp knife and make a cut at the base of the pretzel, then you will allow some of the steam to escape while the pretzels bake. Thus, there will be less cracking.
I like to form the pretzels with a double twist in the middle so they hold their shape, and I keep them relatively small to medium in size. Feel free to play around with other shapes like pretzel rope, balls, or anything you can think of. You may want to adjust the baking time depending on how dark or light you like your pretzels. I know that this is a personal preference, and while I love my pretzels dark and crunchy, I know plenty of you like them soft and golden. Get your beer and mustard ready and enjoy these while they’re nice and fresh!
Soft Baked Vegan Pretzels
Yield: 4 pretzels
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ tablespoon active dry yeast
¾ cup water, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour*
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
7 cups water
2 tablespoons baking soda
Kosher salt, for sprinkling
- Proof the yeast: Combine ¼ cup warm water, maple syrup, and yeast. Stir until yeast dissolves and begins to foam.
- Make the dough: In a bowl or stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, combine proofed yeast mixture, flour, oil, salt, and remaining ½ cup water. Knead on medium low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl (approximately 6 minutes). On a lightly floured surface, form dough into a ball.
- Place dough in a clean bowl coated with a little bit of olive oil. Cover and allow dough to rise in a warm place for 50 minutes until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 450° and line a sheet tray with parchment paper, set aside. Meanwhile, bring 7 cups of water to a boil with baking soda in a pot or sauté pan.
- Form the pretzels: On a lightly oiled work surface, cut dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each piece out to a 24-inch long rope. Shape into a pretzel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Carefully drop each pretzel, one at a time, into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spatula and place on the parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle each pretzel liberally with kosher salt. Using a sharp knife, make a 2-inch incision across the bottom (the pretzel will expand during baking).
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Notes: If you would like to try whole wheat flour, then I recommend 1 cup all purpose and 1 cup whole wheat flour.
Special thanks to @karenkiane5 for capturing a video during my class at the Natural Gourmet Institute. Check out the raw dough getting simmered.