Soft Pretzels: #180 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Soft pretzels are boiled in baking soda water like bagels before they’re covered in salt and baked. This gives them their chewy yet fluffy texture. We made a batch of soft pretzels one recent weekend and they were gone before Monday. They’re lovely to have for lunch alongside a kale salad.

It’s part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($5 total for 8 large soft pretzels)

1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1 tbsp brown sugar – $0.08
1 ½ cups hottest tap water – free
4 ½ cups white whole wheat flour – $0.68
1 tbsp salt – $0.13
3 tbsp canola oil – $0.14
1/3 cup baking soda – $0.18
1 egg, beaten – $0.29
2 tbsp “Everything but the bagel” spice with salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion flakes – $1.40

Dipping sauce:
2 tbsp honey – $0.28
1 tbsp dijon mustard – $0.24
2 tbsp mayo -$0.50


1. Prepare the dough: in a small plastic bowl, mix the yeast and brown sugar, then add in 1/2 cup of the hottest tap water. Mix gently and briefly, then let it sit for 5 minutes to bloom the yeast so a thick foam forms on top.

In a large metal bowl, mix the flour and salt.

Add the remaining 1 cup of water and 2 tbsp of the canola oil to the yeast mixture, then pour the whole thing into the middle of the flour mixture. Stir it all together until a dough forms, then knead it with your hands for about 5 minutes.

Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour until it has doubled.

2. When the dough has risen, cut it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a thin rope and twist each end towards the middle to make a pretzel shape, pinching the ends into the dough to hold it together. Or get creative and make any shape you like.

Make a dipping sauce by mixing together the honey, mustard, and mayo.

3. Boil a large pot of water and stir in the baking soda. Once it’s boiling nicely, drop the pretzels in a couple at a time. After 30 seconds, flip them over for another 30 seconds boiling on the other side.

Put the boiled pretzels on a baking sheet, brush with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with the “Everything but the bagel” spice or any toppings you like. Bake at 450F for 10-15 minutes, until they’re nice and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and enjoy warm with the dipping sauce and perhaps a side salad.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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