Soft Pretzel Recipe for a Carnival in Your Apartment

by Emma Lourdes Bernstein, Emma Roxanne Condie, and Emma Allison Eisler

You’re in your apartment. The sounds and smells of a carnival are a distant memory as you watch snow drift past your window. Maybe you live alone. Maybe you live in a dorm with a small and sticky shared kitchen that always smells like popcorn. Maybe you’re stuck at home with your parents, channeling your sexual frustration into baking. To no avail. Or maybe you live in an apartment in Collegetown that might seem a little small, but with two of your best friends, it feels like just the right size.

You turn the oven on just for a little warmth and comfort, and you realize you’re in the mood for a warm snack. What to make? A whole loaf seems too complicated – after all, you lead a full and busy life! Every morning, you wake up and go to your little Zoom classes. Every night you must think of something to make for dinner. What does it all mean? 

Perhaps it means you’re hungry for something salty and a little sweet! Something that tastes like nostalgia – like waiting in line for the carousel at the county fair when you were seven, like wandering the mall trying and failing to find the perfect school dance outfit with your friends when you were thirteen, like sitting on a picnic blanket in Central Park the first summer you lived by yourself. 

The thing that you’re after, of course, is the humble pretzel. But how, you ask?

Read on to find out!


  • 1 ½ cups of warm water
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons of dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of regular salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of melted, unsalted butter
  •  4 cups of all purpose flour
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling! 
  • ½ cup of baking soda
  • 9 cups of water


  1. Pour the warm water into a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top and whisk it in. Allow the mixture to sit for one minute, or until it begins to bubble.
  1. Add the salt, butter, and sugar, and whisk everything together.
  2. Use a wooden spoon to gently mix in the flour, adding 1 cup at a time. Keep doing this until the dough is no longer sticky.
  1. Flour a surface on which to roll out the dough. Dump out the dough onto your surface and knead it for 3 minutes, then shape it into a ball. Cover it with a towel and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  1. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. While the oven warms up, use a knife to cut the dough into ⅓ cup sized sections.
  1. Roll each section into a rope shape with your palms, and then fold it into the shape of a pretzel by connecting the ends, twisting them together so that you have a circular shape, and then taking part of your circle and twisting it into a loop that you attach to the bottom to make a pretzel shape.
  1. Boil the 9 cups of water with the baking soda.
  2. Drop a couple pretzels at a time into the boiling water. 20-30 seconds later, use a slotted spatula to lift the pretzel and allow the water to drip off.
  3. Pop the pretzel on the baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. 
  1. Bake the pretzels until they are golden brown, usually 12-15 minutes. 
  1. Eat your pretzels with mustard, butter, or nacho cheese! 

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