Olive and Parmesan Soft Pretzels


This is one of those bread recipes that I hinted at in my soda bread post that involves a bit more time and effort. I had planned on doing these yesterday but ended up having one of those days where you just don’t give a damn. So, I’m doing it today instead, which by the way, I’m still not giving a whole lot of damn. Let this be further proof that making your own bread is worth it even on the lazier days.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t crave a pretzel. When I say pretzel, I do mean the Americanized version of it. Though German pretzels do have their place, today isn’t it. This recipe is a step up from the ones you dip in wannabe cheese at baseball games, though. They’re salty, nutty, rustic and a bit rough around the edges, which is right up my ally.

I used this basic pretzel recipe from ChowHound and added a few extra things to it in the recipe below. In total, this will take you a few hours. If you choose to add different flavors, add them AFTER the first rise! Just off the top of my head, you could add: fresh herbs, cheese, roasted garlic, sundried tomatoes, dried fruits, candied peels, seeds, nuts, chocolate, etc.


*I may have photographed my pretzel upside-down. Oops.


1 cup warm water

2 1/4 t. active dry yeast

Vegetable oil

2 3/4 c. bread flour

1 T. granulated sugar

1 t. kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

6 c. water

1/4 c. baking soda

1/4 c. green olives, measure then finely chop

parmesan cheese for sprinkling

  1. Prep: Lightly grease a glass mixing bowl. Line 2 baking sheet with greased parchment paper and a layer of greased plastic wrap overtop.
  2. Add yeast and water to a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes until it becomes frothy.
  3. Meanwhile, combine your dry ingredients in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. When the yeast has proofed, add to the mixture on low power. Once combined, move to medium power and knead for about 8 minutes until your dough becomes shiny and smooth.
  4. Take dough out and shape into a ball. Roll it in your greased bowl so it is covered on all sides and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in warm place for 40 minutes to 1 hour. It should double in size.
  5. Once doubled in size, dump the finely chopped olives over top and punch down the dough. Gently squeeze the dough until the olives are evenly incorporated. Divide the dough into 16 evenly sized pieces.
  6. Roll each piece out to about 16 inches and form a pretzel twist (Bring two ends up and twist two times. Bring the twist over the middle of the piece and press lightly where they meet.) Pictures in link above.
  7. Place all 16 pretzels on the greased sheets you prepared earlier and let sit in warm spot for about 20 minutes. They should be bouncy and airy to the touch.
  8. Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Once it reaches a boil, add the baking soda. The water will fizz a little bit. Preheat your oven to 425º F / 218º C for step 10.
  9. Place 2-3 pretzels in the pot and boil each side for one minute, 2 minutes total per pretzel. When done, remove the pretzel and move to a wire rack until finished.
  10. When each pretzel has bene boiled on both sides, place on baking sheets and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. They should be brown with a chewy thick crust.
  11. Cool on wire rack until ready to eat.




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