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Dad’s Whole Grain Spicy Mustard & Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe

Dad’s Whole Grain Spicy Mustard & Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe

I love soft pretzels. I know they aren’t the healthiest option when it comes to snack foods, but there’s just something about them that keeps me coming back. I know I’m not the only one who is tempted by the enticing smells whenever they pass a pretzel vendor in a shopping center!

So in lieu of indulging in the less healthy options in either the frozen foods section of the market or the stands as I run my errands, I’ve learned to make them fresh at home. But before I get to the recipe, I wanted to share a bit of the story behind this delicious snack food.

Pretzels have a long history – they go all the way back to Europe in the early middle ages. It is said that they were invented by monks as a reward to children who said their prayers, but because there is little evidence proving their actual origins, it’s unsure as to whether or not the story is true.

Pretzels have served as the emblem for baker guilds in Germany since the 12th century and the German region of Alsace (now East France) is known for the earliest depiction of the pretzel. It kind of makes me sad that I didn’t have one while I was there.

Pretzels were introduced to the US during the 18th century and New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia quickly became renowned for their takes on the soft pretzel. As a fun side note, did you know that about 12 times as many pretzels are consumed in Philadelphia as anywhere else in the US? They also produce a whopping 80% of the country’s pretzels!


  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt


Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Do you have a favorite family recipe? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

© 2020 Shannon Kennedy & Eurolinguiste. All Rights Reserved.

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