The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Yeast Baking Attempt #2 - Pretzels

zhi.ann's picture

Yeast Baking Attempt #2 - Pretzels

My second attempt at using yeast!

I discovered one packet of my yeast, labeled as 18g, results in more than 35 ml (about 7 tsp or 2 1/3 Tbsp) of dry yeast. Is it okay that I store what I don't use in an airtight tupperware-type container, in a dark cabinet?

storing yeast

I started preparing for the pretzels at 8:10 pm using floyd's recipe here.

I wasn't sure how to activate my yeast, not sure whether to mix in or let it sit on top of the water, but I think it worked correctly; at first, nothing seemed to happen but after a few minutes a thickish layer of tan foamish stuff was on the top.

activating dry yeast

My brown sugar comes in hard blocks I have to chop up to make like a powder. It wasn't as fine as it could of been if I kept chopping, but after quite awhile, I put it in there. Is it okay that my brown sugar wasn't super-fine?

not too fine brown sugar

I had to add a ton of flour, probably 550 ml (2.5 cups) above the original 240 ml (1 cup).

I also didn't know how to knead until satiny. After just a minute or two, it seemed smoother than before, but as I continued kneading it quickly became rougher, and after 8 minutes of kneading and not being sure what I was looking for, I moved on. Also, despite the added flour, it still stuck to the cutting board a lot.

This may be because of the consistency being off, but I couldn't figure out how to "roll" my dough into logs. I kind of squeezed them into the logs, rolling as much as I could (not much) to make them round, and I came out with very inconsistent sizes with loops that didn't want to stick at all.

pretzel logs

I used the eggwash.

I didn't know whether to grease the baking sheet, and whether the salt was needed (I always scrape the salt off my pretzels cuz I don't like the taste). I salted one, put garlic powder on one, and left the others plain.

pretzels, pre-baking

At this point (I know better now) I thought I should only turn on the bottom, not the top, heating element for baking. After 6 minutes, my pretzels were so HUGE, they didn't really have holes anymore. Oh well.

The tops weren't browning at all (obviously since I didn't have any heat up there) but the bottoms were turning yucky black, so I took them out.

pretzels, post-baking

You know what? They tasted really good. They taste to me like breadsticks, not pretzels, but still yummy. My husband melted some butter with garlic powder mixed in, and it made a great dip. I liked the garlic powder pretzel best, and wonder whether I could brush them with the butter/garlic powder mix rather than the egg, or in addition?

pretzel inside - yum!

Looking forward to trying this again:
-with both heating elements on
-rolling the dough out thinner so the pretzels will look more like pretzels
-potentially brushing with butter/onion powder, based on people here's suggestions
-anything else people suggest for me 


homebaker's picture

A little left over yeast will stay fresh in the fridge, or if you have a whole big bag of it, then put it in the freezer and they stay fresh for months.  You have to reduced the water contents asked for in a recipe by quite a bit.  Even when i used flour from the States i have to reduce the liquid.  Keep trying and have fun


zhi.ann's picture

Thanks - I'll start refrigerating my yeast - and I will reduce the water quite a bit next time around to keep everything from sticking to my hands (and from running out of flour all the time)! Thanks a bunch! I'll keep posting to keep updates on my baking progress.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I didn't read that you dipped the prezels into cooking hot soda water,  they will taste more like prezels if you do.  Big fat puffy prezels are a specialty, too.  They can be sliced open and stuffed with sandwhich fillings.

I also scrimp on the salt... :)

Mini O

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Tip:  Wash and dry an apple, pear, or similar moist fruit.  Cut in half and place into sealed container with the skin side to the sugar, and let stand 24 hours before removing. The sugar should no longer be a hard block. 


homebaker's picture



after looking carefully at the brown sugar, they looked like ones that comes in slab, am i right?  You should be able to buy loose brown sugar either in the chinese supermarket or at the fresh market.



zhi.ann's picture

Yes, they look like brown/red wax tripods. I use them straight in stovetop recipes because they melt easily. But yes - just the other day we found it ground for the first time - only one of our four supermarkets sells it, but it's the same price per weight so I'll get that next time. Thanks!

vegasvicki's picture

Awesome write-up on your experience making the pretzels. 

Add the yeast to the 1 cup of warm milk and let it sit for 10 minutes. Yeast loves the sugar in the milk and the warmth wakes it up. After 10 minutes it should form a foam cap.  If it doesnt develop the foam than the yeast is bad (or you killed it with too hot of milk).

Overall I think you may have added a little too much flour so they became very heavy. I used 2 1/4 cup total. You dont need to kneed very long, only a couple minutes to get it together.  Also you forgot to boil them for a little while before baking.  Boiling makes the shell of the pretzel smooth.

With the brown sugar problem.  I like to put the sugar in a couple of plastic bags and pound it out with a hammer.