Alton Brown and Soft Pretzels

Home made Soft Pretzels
Ok, its well into October.. time to make some pretzels.

Pretzel Bite
Last week I went to Alton Brown’s Good Eats 3 book signing! Alton spoke for a good hour to a store packed with fans and then signed hundred of books. He was a little goofy, just like in Good Eats, and had everyone laughing in no time. The talk covered everything from tips on cooking, his personal and professional life, opinions on Italian motorcycles, to obesity in America and his own battle with a diet coke addiction.

Alton Brown Good Eats 3 Book Signing

Pretzel Dough Consistency Steamy Concoction Boiled Pretzel Egg Wash Brushing Cool on Rack Normally I’m more of an observer, but when question and answer time came I couldn’t resist the opportunity. So I shot up my hand and wouldn’t you know? Alton Brown called on me. Whoa! So, my “conversation” with Alton Brown went something like this:

me: “What is your favorite recipe from the book?”
Alton: “This cookbook? Good Eats 3?”
me: “Yes” (doh! How could I mess up a question?! doh!)
Alton: “Crockpot Lasagna, hands down. The best lasagna you will ever have… take it to a gathering and everyone will devour it in seconds. Mind you this is not for those of you on a diet. Its seriously addictive.. but don’t make it without the goats milk powder, thats the key to everything meshing just right… Thanks for asking that question.”

Yep, thats right, he thanked me. After that I was determined to blog about the crockpot lasagna, but alas, I just haven’t gotten around to finding goats milk powder. Maybe one day soon, sounds like the perfect football Sunday meal. But, what I did have in the pantry was everything I needed for these awesome pretzels. They came out perfect.. PERFECT… hard to mess these babys up. The best part of making these pretzels was the misty swirling smoky pot of boiling water with baking soda. I felt like my kitchen turned into a laboratory and I was a mad scientist. Very cool. This was serious fun in the kitchen, and serious good eats.

Recipe: Soft Pretzels

Summary: adapted from Alton Brown’s Good Eats 3


  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour (4 1/2 cups) but I used more as needed until dough was right consistency)
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter melted
  • vegetable oil for bowl and pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg yolk whisked with splash of water (egg wash)
  • pretzel salt


  1. In a stand mixer, combine the warm water, sugar, salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top, wait 5 minutes to foam.
  2. Add flour and butter and mix on low speed with dough hook, then up speed to medium for 5 minutes. Dough should be sticking on the hook and pulled away from the sides.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl. Oil the bowl. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it set for an hour to rise (double its size) in a warm place.
  4. Heat oven to 450F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush the paper with oil.
  5. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a boil in a large wide and shallow skillet or roasting pan.
  6. Meanwhile, place your dough on an oiled surface. Cut into 8 pieces. Roll out into a rope and shape your pretzels. Place them on your baking sheet.
  7. Drop a pretzel gently into your boiling water. Wait 30 seconds. Pull it out with a wide flat spatula. Place back onto baking sheet. Repeat.
  8. When all pretzels are boiled, brush them with egg and salt them.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 13 minutes. Cool on a cookie rack. Enjoy!

Preparation time: 1 hour(s) 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

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12 thoughts on “Alton Brown and Soft Pretzels

  1. Wow! it looks great! I’ve made pretzels before, but they didn’t look as good!


  2. Thank you for this recipe! As sod’s law has it, my boyfriend has been craving pretzals like mad (and the pretzals e get here are, frankly, less than substandard) so I’ll probably be whipping these out sometime tomorrow thanks to this! And I loved the story of the book signing.

  3. It was really cool to see him in person, I think everyone was smiling and laughing for the full hour he talked and he wouldn’t leave until everybody’s book was signed. Very classy. The pretzels were awesome.. don’t be afraid to add more flour until you get the right consistency, not too tough, but it should be sticking to the hook. I think I used almost a cup more than was called for, not sure why that was but they turned out great. Have fun!

  4. Thanks Amanda, they were really tasty too! Your blog sounds fun, love the name.. going to have to check it out today!

  5. I LOVED this recipe! I just tried it last night, and the pretzels turned out beautifully. For some reason, any pretzels I’ve tried to make in the past have never been this good. I’ve got all kinds of ideas for my next batch now….cinnamon sugar, raisin, jalapeño, etc. The possibilities are endless! Thanks.

  6. Your flour amount is off, on the FN website it lists 4 1/2 cups flour, same with five other food blogs who were trying out Alton’s recipe, I’m glad I was suspicious and checked (my dough was so loose, like the Momofuku mother dough recipe) because I’m sure it was too squishy to roll and boil.

  7. Thanks Jennifer, I updated the post! I really played it by ear on the flour until I got the right consistency as described from the directions (Dough should be sticking on the hook and pulled away from the sides.). When it does that, its ready. I hope your pretzels were tasty!

  8. Can these be made in advance? If so, can I assemble them, and chill, then boil and bake the next day? Or, can I assemble and boil, then chill overnight, then bake the next day? I’m making the dough now, but prefer to bake them right before the party. Thanks for your guidance, anyone!

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