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Homemade Soft Pretzels (No Knead, No Machine Recipe)

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Hi Bold Bakers!

Since I received my pizza oven from Italy, I have been doing a lot of bread making. Something that you have requested a lot is a great recipe for soft pretzels. I tried a few for you and I found this was the best. One huge thing for me is that it is a No-Knead Dough, so you get a great result with little work.

What is a No-Knead Dough?? It is a dough that you don’t need a machine for. You mix the dough by hand and you let the dough proof and ferment overnight.  You get great flavor and texture from the fermenting that I personally have not been able to achieve on a machine. It is my favorite method for bread making because it takes the guess work out of creating amazing doughs.

I have made many No-Knead Doughs on Bigger Bolder Baking, like my amazing  No Knead Cinnamon Rolls and No Knead Brioche Dough.

This is another recipe where I used my Alfa Pizza Wood-Fired Oven just like my Chocolate Dulce de Leche Empanadas. The results are so lovely and you can’t beat the feeling of making breads/doughs outdoors! So let’s get baking!

Homemade, No-knead, No-machine, Soft, Pretzels, Baked, Gemma Stafford, Bigger Bolder Baking, Baking, Baking videos, Recipes, How to make soft pretzels

As a bread baker I am obsessed with bread making. If you are a little weary of failing when it comes to dough, don’t be. This method of making doughs will make you feel like a professional once you see the results.

Homemade, No-knead, No-machine, Soft, Pretzels, Baked, Gemma Stafford, Bigger Bolder Baking, Baking, Baking videos, Recipes, How to make soft pretzels

4.8 from 8 reviews
Homemade Soft Pretzels (No Knead, No Machine Recipe)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 9
  • 3 cups (42Og/ 15oz) strong flour/ bread flour
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp yeast (I used active dried yeasy)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 10 ½ ounces water
  • To poach the pretzels : 6 cups (1½ litre) water
  • 6 tsp baking soda
  • egg wash
  • salt
  • melted butter, to brush pretzels
  1. In a large bowl add in the flour.
  2. Put yeast on one side of the bowl and salt and sugar on the side of the bowl.if you dd the salt on top of the yeast it will deactivate that yeast and your dough will not rise.
  3. Add in water and mix to form a dough. That's it, your dough is done!
  4. Wrap the bowl tight with film wrap and lay a bowl over it. Put it in a dry place at room temp and leave over night. A minimum of 12 hours, but up to 18 hours and let time do its magic. I do 18 hours 🙂
  5. The next day your double will smell boozy and bubbling. It is pretty incredible.
  6. Turn out onto a floured surface and divide into 9 balls and let it and relax for 2 minutes
  7. To shape: take each piece of dough and begin rolling them on the counter. Bang the dough on the counter like I do in the video and they will just naturally get longer and longer. Keep going until you reach 24 inches (60 cm). Twist the ends of the dough and press onto the the opposite sides of the pretzel.
  8. Put straight into boiling water with baking soda and poach for JUST 30 seconds, then place on a baking tray. This boiling step is the secret to firm skin and adds that definite pretzel flavor.
  9. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt
  10. Bake 450oF (225oC) for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  11. Serve immediately and enjoy!!!!
WW SmartPoints: 4
WW PlusPoints: 4
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 pretzel Calories: 152 Fat: 0 Saturated fat: 0 Unsaturated fat: 0 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 31g Sugar: 1g Sodium: 258mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 5g Cholesterol: 0

Some fun variations for this dough:

Pretzel knots

Homemade, No-knead, No-machine, Soft, Pretzels, Pretzel Knots, Baked, Gemma Stafford, Bigger Bolder Baking, Baking, Baking videos, Recipes, How to make soft pretzels

A fun variation for your pretzel dough is to make some pretzel knots. Rather then shape like a pretzels knot the dough like you would a pice of string. I sprinkled mine with fresh rosemary and served with mustard sauce.

Cinnamon Pretzels

Homemade, No-knead, No-machine, Soft, Pretzels, Cinnamon, Baked, Gemma Stafford, Bigger Bolder Baking, Baking, Baking videos, Recipes, How to make soft pretzels

I love these little cinnamon treats. I just cut the dough into small pieces and once baked I brushed with butter and tossed them in cinnamon sugar with a little pinch of salt. The reason there are only a few in the bowl is because I ate them while taking photos lol.





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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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  1. Ufuoma on April 12, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    Hi Gemma. Can I use this recipe for bagels? The bagel recipe I have and tried is similar but was thinking of trying something differently the second time around as they came out flat when baked. Most of the bagel recipes call for kneading for at least 7mins before proofing for 1hr and not overnight. So can I adopt it for bagels?

    • Gemma Stafford on April 15, 2018 at 5:36 am

      Hi there,
      Actually bagels were traditionally made with a fermented dough, at least overnight, but usually longer, for texture and flavor, like a sourdough if you will.
      This would mean using the no knead method. You can also knead this a bit before you set it to proof//ferment. This dough is relatively foolproof, though I hate saying this! Sponging the yeast is also a good way to ensure success, unless you are using one which says ‘instant’ dried yeast.
      Do try it, even try it in two batches, one kneaded, one fermented. That is what I would do,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Ufuoma on April 15, 2018 at 9:09 am

        Thank you! Can you please explain what sponging the yeast is?

        • Gemma Stafford on April 16, 2018 at 7:29 am

          Hi there,
          This means activating the yeast, usually in the liquids to be used in the recipe. Normally you would bring the sponging liquids to blood temperature, that is when you put your finger into the liquid it should feel neither hot nor cold. A touch of sugar. Or honey will speed up the activation. This is really ‘proving’ to you that the yeast is good and active. A foam will form on top of the liquids after 5 mins or so, you stir this through before adding to the flour. Add ¾ in one go, then the remainder until the dough comes together in a clean ball.
          Instant dried yeast can be added directly to the flour, and I do this for no knead dough, but I tend to sponge the yeast for all other applications, it makes it foolproof!
          I hope this helps you,
          Gemma 🙂

  2. Liz on April 8, 2018 at 9:48 am

    I’m about to try making this for the first time, but was wondering if I could make this into a roll? I loved your cinnamon bread recipe and wanted to stick to your recipes.

    Thank you!

    • Gemma Stafford on April 8, 2018 at 10:44 am

      Hi Liz,
      Well actually I cannot see any reason not to! I suppose it will depend on the size of the roll. When you poach them they effectively cook, so you need to allow a little more time for this. I think the secret may be not to allow them to be too large. try it, and do let us know,
      Gemma 🙂

  3. Sarah on March 21, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    do you need baking soda in the boiling water ?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 22, 2018 at 4:19 am

      Hi Sarah,
      Yes, if you want a skin to form on the pretzels, this is what does it.
      Gemma 🙂

  4. frenso99 on March 16, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    I have made these 3 times so far. Getting better each time. Right out of the oven is best but the microwave can also bring them back to fresh too. Thanks. I don’t see where to add photo

    • Gemma Stafford on March 16, 2018 at 3:28 pm

      Hi there,
      Good, and thank you for adding this to our knowledge, I appreciate it,
      Gemma 🙂

  5. Raeesah on March 11, 2018 at 9:06 am

    Hi Gemma. I don’t know what happened. I followed all the instructions. Left it for just over the time you’ve mentioned it to prove. But the dough turned out so sticky it was practically impossible to shape them. Didn’t turn out well. Do you know what I could have done wrong?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 12, 2018 at 6:26 am

      Hi there,
      Flour in different places behaves in different ways, depending on how, when, where and type of wheat being milled.
      This alters the way liquids are taken up. Add the liquids to a bread dough/scone dough until the dough comes together in a clean ball, then stop! It really is about understanding the basics, if you over wet a dough it will stay wet!
      Try again, add 3/4 of the liquids in one go, then little by little until the dough forms,
      Gemma 🙂

  6. Pear on February 26, 2018 at 12:15 am

    Hi Gemma,
    The pretzels were very yummy when freshly baked but they turned tough and jaw-breaking chewy on the next day.
    Please kindly suggest what I possibly did wrong..

    • Gemma Stafford on February 26, 2018 at 3:02 am

      Hi Pear,
      I am happy you liked this recipe.
      Pretzels are eaten freshly baked! You would not buy these in a store as day old bread. All baked goods are best eaten fresh, breads in particular.
      If you wish to keep them for a few days, freeze them, well wrapped, individually, they will defrost really quickly.
      I hope this helps,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Pear on February 26, 2018 at 7:06 am

        Thank you so much for the fast respond! I thought so too about the freshly baked idea. I compared them with soft pretzels from Auntie Anne’s which were very soft and still soft on the next day. Even the German version from a supermarket was still softer than mine despite leaving out till the evening.

        Auntie Anne’s ones aren’t poached in the baking soda solution. They are dipped in the warm solution instead and there’s no fat it their dough. Ahh I’m so lost……

        • Gemma Stafford on February 26, 2018 at 7:32 am

          Hi there,
          I think this is to do with preservatives! Commercial bakers do things differently to small bakeries. They need to give a shelf life to the stores they supply.
          I do not know after that, most home baking, particularly of bread, is best consumed fresh.
          Gemma 🙂

          • Pear on February 26, 2018 at 9:24 am

            Thank you so much for your kind suggestions. Really appreciated and please keep up your passions. Honestly, when I wanna bake something, I go to your website or your Youtube channel first.

          • Gemma Stafford on February 27, 2018 at 6:27 am

            Thank you, you are a Bold Baker so, officially!
            Gemma 🙂

  7. Riley on February 17, 2018 at 6:57 am

    Is it ok to proof for 24 hours or is that way too long?

    • Gemma Stafford on February 17, 2018 at 8:40 am

      Hi Riley,
      No that is not too long, it will be good. Really traditionally they are fermented for a long time, it will add to the texture and flavor, go for it!
      Gemma 🙂

    • JeNell mertz on February 19, 2018 at 10:45 pm

      Can these pretzels be frozen or refrigerated after the “baking soda” boil? Will they lose their integrity? I’m looking to preprep these… Then be able to pull them from the fridge and bake them. Thanks! (I’ve never had success with dough before I used your recipes and methods!)

      • Gemma Stafford on February 21, 2018 at 4:25 am

        Hi there,
        Really I think this will not be a problem for you.
        When you think about it, when they are boiled they are partially baked. Cool them as quickly as possible, cover down well with cling wrap or foil, to exclude the air, and chill down. I suggest you give this a trial run, test the method, that is what I would do!
        Many commercial bakeries sell part baked goods, to be finished in store.
        Please let us know how this worked for you, it will be interesting!
        Gemma 🙂

  8. Clover on February 9, 2018 at 7:04 am

    Dear Gemma, can I check once my dough has been proofed for 18 hours, can I set aside half of it to do the pretzels, and the other half of the dough to be put in the fridge / freezer, so that I can make another batch in the next few days?

    Thank you!

    • Gemma Stafford on February 10, 2018 at 6:02 am

      Hi there,
      Sure you can, that is a perfect way to do it. When you remove it from the fridge portion it to what you wish to use and keep. Then bag it, wrap it well, you can oil the bag if you wish. When you remove it from the freezer, remove the bag as soon as possible, then allow to proof, and bake!
      Gemma 🙂

  9. Romina on January 27, 2018 at 1:28 am

    I just finished making my pretzels it just has to grow, but when I was making it, it was tooooo sticky and it took me almost 2 hours to fix it ( I used hand mixer the last 5 minutes of mixing it). I added more flour to it like a lot, will it ruin my pretzels?

    • Gemma Stafford on January 28, 2018 at 3:26 pm

      Hi Romina,

      No it shouldn’t ruin your pretzels. Everyones flour absorbs liquid differently. It sounds like your flour didn’t need all the liquid.

      Hope they worked out ok,

  10. Debra McEwen on January 12, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Just found your amazing site and ready to try the pretzels. Question is, can minced jalapenos be added to crazy dough? We love this variation but don’t want to ruin the process. I love making bread but have problems now that hands are aging. Absolutely love your interesting recipes. Thank you.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 12, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      Hi Debra,

      Delighted you found my site, welcome!! Absolutely add jalapeños in there, and some cheddar even. Bread is great like that where you can add lotos of flavors in and it won’t mess with the recipe.

      Happy Baking!

  11. Iceman on December 12, 2017 at 11:14 am

    My pretzels are stuck with parchment paper at the bottom. I have almost flooded with oil on the paper and still glued.


    • Gemma Stafford on December 13, 2017 at 3:28 am

      Hi there,
      This is not parchment! There is a difference between Grease Proof paper, and Parchment. Parchment is coated with silicon and it will not stick!
      Grease proof needs to prepared, by buttering your pan, sticking the paper to that, and perhaps buttering again. Alternatively use a well buttered/oiled pan, on which you have sprinkled a little flour, shake it to distribute the flour, and you will have a reasonable non stick surface.
      I am sorry you have had trouble with this, it is a learning curve!
      Gemma 🙂

      • Iceman on December 14, 2017 at 9:58 am

        Thank you for the advice.

  12. Swati on December 11, 2017 at 5:07 am

    Hi ,

    My oven goes only upto 200°C . Would this affect the texture of the pretzels ? What should be the cooking time in that case ?

    Thanks !

    • Gemma Stafford on December 12, 2017 at 3:23 am

      Hi there,
      What it affects in the ‘oven spring’, that is the pop the bread gets when it enters a hot oven. It sounds like you are using an OTG, I think you can try it, it will be good, but keep an eye on the bake without opening the oven too often. Because of the small cavity of this oven, and the proximity of the elements to the bake, it can be really quick to bake, you will need to monitor it,
      Gemma 🙂

  13. Farishta on December 7, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Hi, I was wondering if I could use All Purpose flour?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 8, 2017 at 4:17 am

      Hi Farishta,
      Yes! do check the protein content, it should be about 11%. Strong bread flour is about 13.5% and this represents the gluten, so really, it may take a touch longer to proof, but it will work for you,
      Gemma 🙂

  14. Iceman on November 30, 2017 at 2:21 am

    It raised after 15 hours BUT the dough came out very rubbery and can’t shape the pretzels. When I bake to balls, its very hard outside and not cook inside.

    Total DISASTER !

    • Gemma Stafford on November 30, 2017 at 5:54 am


      Something sounds off. This is not normal. what do you mean you can’t shape them? was your dough too soft to shape?

      If so something went wrong with the making of the dough.

      Let me know,

      • Iceman on November 30, 2017 at 10:46 am

        Yes its very soft and sticky plus rubbery. I m going to try it again.Wish me better luck second time.Cheers

        • Gemma Stafford on November 30, 2017 at 7:17 pm

          Good luck!! It sounds like someone went wrong so seconds time a charm. 🙂

  15. Iceman on November 29, 2017 at 2:11 am

    Hi Gemma,

    I started making the dough. It has been 3 hours and its not growing . I was wondering if 1/4 teaspoon of yeast is too little.Keeping my fingers crossed till tomorrow .

    • Gemma Stafford on November 30, 2017 at 5:18 am


      hold your nerve. It takes 18-24 hours. I guarantee it grew over night. Let me know 🙂


  16. Kavithrra Gunalan on October 30, 2017 at 4:39 am

    Hi Gemma,
    This is a very good recipe. I followed the instructions but i made a slight mistake on the amount of water poured but the dough looked ok so i added a bit more flour and i continued the recipe. The pretzel was hard. Can you tell me what went wrong?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 30, 2017 at 6:24 am

      Hi there,
      I am not sure! If the dough looked ok it was probably best to proceed. A wet dough is always preferable to a dry one. It is easy to correct it at the stage of shaping for the second proofing. Usually a well floured table/surface will sort it out for you.
      Do try again, if this was your first time to bake yeast breads, then well done, you have learned a lot!

  17. laurence on October 4, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    can I leave the dough for more than 18 hours, like 24 hours?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 5, 2017 at 1:26 am

      Hi Laurence,
      Yes, but in a cold place. The dough will continue to ferment, and it will develop a ‘sourdough’ flavor and some of the characteristics of sourdough too, being chewy!
      Try it, I would suggest placing it straight into the fridge after mixing if you know you are going to leave it for a long time. This means that it will grow slowly, undisturbed. Have fun with this one!
      Gemma 🙂

  18. Laurence on October 3, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    I will be making yout soft pretzel soon, just wondering, how to store the pretzel if it will be going to eat the next day? Should I put them in room temperature or in fridge? Do they need tobe in paper bag or just ziplock?Can I reheat them in oven toaster? Or it will be gumy like if I do that?

    Thank you

    • Gemma Stafford on October 4, 2017 at 1:50 am

      Hi Laurence,
      good question.
      1. allow to go cold before storing them. then if you have a cool room, you can store them in a ziplock, and leave therm there. If not refrigerate, or freeze them. You can take it frozen for lunch, and it will be good when you are ready.
      You can refresh these in a toaster or oven, and this is a great way to bring them back to just baked. If you want to keep for more than one daty the freezer is best, this is true of all baked goods really,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Laurence on October 4, 2017 at 6:42 am

        Hi Gemma,

        Thank you for answering my question 🙂
        so just ziplock? I don’t need to cover them in foil?
        Cause I’ve read that pretzels are best eaten when they are fresh, and it will not be the same when you store it.
        Sorry for asking, I’m just so excited to bake this pretzel, and want to bring some with my friends 🙂

        • Gemma Stafford on October 5, 2017 at 2:07 am

          Hi Laurance,
          All baked goods are best eaten fresh, this is true. but we cannot always eat them right from the oven, so store them, and refresh, either in the oven, or toaster, and all will be well. Do pay attention to the proofing, it is really important with any yeast dough. When you do this right, you will be able to bake any yeast bread, it is a learning curve!
          Gemma 🙂

          • laurence on October 5, 2017 at 5:49 pm

            OMG, thanks Gemma, I just baked the soft pretzels.
            I leave the dough for 19 hours, and then started making them, though, I was not successful on the part being a perfect twist pretzel, I was surprised that it is really good 🙂 I added cinnamon sugar and sesame seed, and dip them to the caramel sauce. Even without the sauce, it is so yummy.

            I’m your fan now… thank you, and this is my first time making something with yeast 🙂 looking for more 😀

          • Gemma Stafford on October 6, 2017 at 1:49 am

            Hi Laurence,
            Great! I love to have yeast baking demystified, that really matters to me. Now you can move nicely along to other no knead recipes too. The enriched dough is a great and versatile thing, so Brioche next!
            Will be interested to see how you progress, and post your photos here too, we love to see them,
            Gemma 🙂

  19. Sandie Roberts on October 2, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Gemma made these came out great I did add a bit of french sour dough I got from King Arthur Flour since I can’t seem to keep a sour dough starter going lately and then sprinkled sea salt and dried garlic. They were all gone in 5 minutes I at least got one my husband and son disappeared with the rest divided between them saying “should have made some for myself”….LOL next time I’ll make 4 batches at once

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