3 rounded cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder (optional, but recommended)
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp butter
1 cup warm milk
Egg-wash and toppers (optional; see below)


  • Sift together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and yeast. Combine with butter and milk to make a dough, kneading until satiny (due to the schizophrenic leavening, be prepared for an unusual texture until the dough finally "comes together" into a smooth mass). Set dough in a greased bowl in a warm spot, and allow to double in bulk (or mix and rise in your bread machine, using the Dough cycle).
  • Put a large pot of water on to boil. Add a teaspoon or two of baking soda to the water, if desired. Do not salt or sweeten the water.
  • Punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll or cut each piece into a rope 18-20 inches long, and twist each rope into a pretzel (use a dab of warm water to cement the joining-points if need be).
  • Optional: At this point, cover the pretzels lightly with paper towels and allow them to rise for half an hour in a warm place.
  • Slide pretzels into water with a slotted spoon or broad spatula, and boil each one until they float to the top. Remove them immediately to a lightly greased cookie sheet.
  • The pretzels can be baked as-is, but are more pleasing when they are glazed with an egg-wash and topped with coarse salt or caraway seeds. To make an egg-wash, beat a single egg and a dash of water with a whisk until completely blended, and brush the tops of the pretzels with it. Sprinkle the topper onto the glazed surface.
  • Bake in a preheated 400º oven until golden. This will take approximately 15 minutes, but monitor the pretzels carefully after 10. If you are using an electric oven, bake the pretzels on a high rack, or the bottoms will overbrown. If no egg-wash was used, brush the pretzels very lightly with melted butter as they emerge from the oven.
  • Serve fresh and hot with a handy supply of deli mustard! Other tasty dippers and toppers range from garlic butter to melted cheese or even caramel. Note that this recipe makes some satisfyingly thick pretzels - if you enjoy slightly thinner ones, the dough may be divided 12 ways instead of 8.