Homemade Soft Pretzels
I love making homemade soft pretzels, and everyone loves eating them. While making pretzels might seem intimidating at first, once you get the twisting, shaping, and boiling parts down, it’s pretty easy to make fresh pretzels at home. Even if your pretzel twisting skills aren’t quite perfect yet, no one will complain about a “rustic” pretzel. If you Google any soft pretzel recipe, it’s likely vegan except for maybe an egg wash or butter coating.
The baking soda bath gives pretzels their golden brown sheen, and the chewy, pretzel-y flavor. The recipe I loosely followed here originally called for an egg wash before baking (much like bread dough), so I decided to try using aquafaba as an “egg” wash to add another layer of golden sheen. It turned out awesome, so I highly recommend using chickpea liquid when a recipe calls for an egg wash.
While making regular pretzels is fine and dandy, I’ve made quite a few pretzel variations in my time. There’s a recipe in Cheers to Vegan Sweets for Pumpkin Beer Pretzels that’s fun to break out in the fall, sometimes I twist them into different shapes, and since it just popped into my head, sometime in the future I will definitely try making pizza with pretzel dough as the base. But right now it’s summer, so I decided to stuff some pretzel dough with vegan cheese, and Field Roast Frankfurters for Cheesy Pretzel Dogs! This dough recipe will make regular old pretzels, or you can stuff them with veggie dogs and cheese. Your choice.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe and Cheesy Pretzel Dogs!
Makes 12-16 pretzels and/or pretzel dogs
Pretzel dough recipe adapted from Alton Brown
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegan margarine or coconut oil, melted
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
3-4 tablespoons aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
Coarse sea salt or pretzel salt for topping
Combine water, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl, if you are making the dough by hand. Let sit until the yeast starts to bubble.
Add half of the flour, and the melted margarine, and stir with the dough hook attachment or with a large spoon. Gradually add the rest of the flour, mixing between each addition. Knead the dough with the dough hook for 4-5 minutes, or 8-9 minutes by hand, until the dough is smooth and easily forms into a ball.
Oil your mixing bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 50 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Grease or line with parchment paper two baking sheets. Set aside.
Combine the 10 cups of water and baking soda in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. On a floured surface, divide dough into 12-16 pieces (depending on what size pretzels you want). Roll each piece into a log, then fold and twist into pretzel shapes. Set on the prepared parchment.
Place 1-2 pretzels at a time in the boiling water and let boil for 30 seconds on each side, then remove from the water with a large slotted spoon and return to the baking sheets. Repeat until all pretzels are done.
Brush the top of each pretzel with aquafaba and sprinkle coarse salt on top. Bake until golden brown, 13-15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving with mustard.
Cheesy Pretzel Dog Variation
Instead of making pretzels out of your pretzel dough, you can stuff them with veggie dogs and cheese to make pretzel dogs! Or do like I did and make a mix of pretzels and pretzel dogs.
Taking one of your pieces of dough, roll it out flat on a floured surface, slightly bigger than your veggie dog. Sprinkle shredded vegan cheddar cheese on your dough (or you could slice little cheese pockets in the veggie dog and stuff the dog with cheese, if you’re using a wedge of cheese!), and place the veggie dog in the center. Roll the dough around the veggie dog, pinching the seams to seal. Boil according to the instructions above, then brush with aquafaba, sprinkle with coarse salt, and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until golden.
Serve with mustard and your favorite hot dog toppings.