The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Philadelphia Style Soft Pretzels

douginjapan's picture

Philadelphia Style Soft Pretzels

I am originally from southwest philly, and i have been trying to find a faithful soft pretzel receipe on the internet. so i search and I have found one, and I haven't been getting consistent results from it. When i try to roll out the dough and form it into the classic philly style shape, the dough just wants to spring back to its original length, and not the 20 inches or so i need. Im not sure if this is because i am under/over kneading or not letting the dough rise or rest enough...any help would be appreciated.

alconnell's picture

I have used this one with good success.  It doesn't develop the gluten much, which I think helps the forming of the pretzels.

One other note: there is much discussion about the use of lye dip in making pretzels on this forum.  I am one who believes it makes a HUGE difference and use food grade lye.  It is perfectly safe when handled properly. Good luck!

caviar's picture

I am now in the phily area and have longed to have the ones I used to get from the street carts. Most of the ones around here now look like factory products except at the farmers market on the next street over. My father used to make them in York where they used lye. I bought some food grade lye and am going to try you recipe. I made some with bakingsoda but couldn't get them stretched out far enough and they ebnded up with almost no holes.

 Your pretzels are beautiful. Thank you for the great posting.


douginjapan's picture

Thanks for that receipe, ill try that one next time make pretzels. About the lye, I'm not sure on importing it to Japan...i don't want to end up on any Terrorist Watchlists...

Caviar, although The Philly Soft Pretzel Factory is a chain store, they do make theirs by hand and are pretty good. I still will always love Bernie's in Delco (I think its considered to be in Collingdale or Aldan)

summerbaker's picture

Let the dough relax for 10 to 15 min after rolling it part of the way.  Then try again and I'll bet it won't be so eager to return to it's original shape.  Don't be afraid to repeat this process as you get it closer to the desired length.  Just cover it while it's resting so that it doesn't dry out.  This is the same procedure that you would use while stretching pizza dough if you've ever tried that.


doublelift08's picture

I make pretzels every day cuz we serve them at the philly restaurant at which I'm the pastry guy and it one of those dishes that never ever gets to come off the menu... so I know my way around a pretzel at this point.


I can tell you after having gone thru every permutation of method and finally coming to the conclusion that lye had to get involved, it makes all the difference. Food grade lye can be had quite inexpensively. I get it from i believe. It comes in a 2 pound jar. As for eye goggles and heavy rubber gloves... i've found them unneccessary. Just becareful not to get splashed with the lye bath (I use a 6% concentration by weight) when you're in the process of diluting it. Use a tall, nonreactive container cuz it wants to splash when you first add in the water.


As for the dough recipe, mines very similar to the one posted on the Food Network of all places (little snob appeal, i know... but it works) under Good Eats. I use softened butter instead of melted but other than that, its done me right for a long time. Hopefully pics to follow at some point.


hope this was helpful. gotta got divide some dough.

Talever's picture

Philadelphia pretzles,

Using Alton browns Reviepe with lye path 15 second bath 

Bake 425 12-14 Minutes.

Fresh out of the over tasted great Good crust, good texture, Still not that Philadelphia Texture, Not bad may need less yeast Less cold proof.  Also the texture got better after sitting for a few hours.  All in all they were great with a honey mustard cheese sauce that I made.  I have tried both with and without lye.  Lye give them a better taste and texture.


Talever's picture

The pretzels have evolved and here are the latest results.

Overnight cold proof

Bring to room Temp

lye dip

Bake 12 minutes @425.


And this is what you get