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Types of Soft Pretzels

A long-time staple snack at movie theaters, concession stands, and boardwalks, the soft pretzel has become a recognizable, classic snack food throughout the world and remains one of the most popular and profitable concession foods. In addition to its unique shape, sweet and savory flavor, and soft, chewy texture, the soft pretzel's portability and ability to customize continue to keep soft pretzels an on-trend snack item in both grab-and-go establishments and sit down eateries.

Selling Soft Pretzels: What Are Your Options?

When it comes to selling soft pretzels, you can either choose to make them yourself or buy them pre-made. Both are excellent options, and the choice has to do with what option better suits your business's needs and capabilities.
Frozen soft pretzels in bag

Pre-Made Soft Pretzels

If you don't have the space, time, or equipment to make your own pretzels, pre-made pretzels may be the best option for you.

Advantages of pre-made soft pretzels:

  • Requires minimal prep time
  • Ensures consistency of quality and taste
  • Controls portion sizes and minimize waste
  • Comes in both shelf-stable and frozen options

Large soft pretzel in basket with beer and mustard

House-Made Soft Pretzels

If you do have the space, time, and equipment to make your own pretzels, house-made pretzels are an easy way to offer gourmet-quality products and can be a foundation for unique, innovative menu options.

Advantages of freshly-made soft pretzels:

  • Allows you to have greater control and flexibility over ingredients and quality
  • Can have a higher perceived value
  • Are more customizable

Soft pretzels with bag of soft pretzel mix

Soft Pretzel Mixes

If you have the time and equipment, but may not be able to budget in ingredient and labor costs, soft pretzel mixes are an ideal way to take the guesswork out of crafting delicious soft pretzels from scratch!

Advantages of soft pretzel mixes:

  • Cuts down on preparation time without sacrificing freshness
  • Ensures consistenty in taste
  • Can help save on ingredient costs

How to Make Soft Pretzels

Using this simple recipe, you can form the soft pretzels into any shape you’d like, and top with a variety of sweet and savory condiments, dips, cheese, and spice blends. Or, use it to create a stuffed soft pretzel filled with whatever ingredients you like! Once baked, the soft pretzels can easily be frozen and simply re-heated in the microwave prior to serving for a more streamlined operation.

Bavarian Soft Pretzel Recipe

Yields: 8 large soft pretzels

Bake Temp: 450°F

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 oz. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • Baking Soda Solution:
    • 9 cup warm water
    • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • Egg Wash:
    • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp. water

Steps:

  1. Combine the 1 1/2 cup warm water and sugar in your mixing bowl. Sprinkle a packet of active dry yeast on top and allow that to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.
  2. On the side, whisk the bread flour and kosher salt together, and add to your yeast mix, along with 2 ounces of melted unsalted butter.
  3. Using the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer, mix on low speed to combine, and then change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Note: If you do not have a stand mixer or dough hook attachment, you can mix by hand.
  4. On the side, whisk the bread flour and kosher salt together, and add to your yeast mix, along with 2 ounces of melted unsalted butter.
  5. Using a bench knife or sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 sections. Working with one section at a time while the others stay covered, pre-shape the dough. Then, starting in the middle and working outwards, roll the dough until it’s about 24” long.
  6. To make its signature twisted shape, first make a U-shape, then cross the ends over twice and press them into the top of the pretzel.
  7. Bring your baking soda solution to a rolling boil.
  8. One at a time, carefully lower the pretzels into the water using a large, slotted spatula or spoon and boil for 20-30 seconds each. This will give the pretzel its signature golden-brown crust and iconic pretzel flavor. Place on a parchment-lined pan and brush the top of each pretzel with an egg wash, and then sprinkle with pretzel salt.
  9. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, until golden brown, and transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes.

How to Store Soft Pretzels:

Soft pretzels are extremely easy to store and save for later consumption. Once they have completely cooled to room temperature, store at room temperature for up to 2 days in an airtight container, or place in a freezer bag and store for up to 1 month in a freezer. If you freeze the soft pretzels, simply reheat in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-12 minutes.

Bavarian pretzels on plate with horseradish mustard

Soft Pretzel Toppings and Dips:

Soft pretzels are an easy way to keep up with consumers' expectations for menu customization. Toppings and dips allow you to customize and enhance the flavor of your soft pretzels, which adds perceived value to the pretzel and gives you the opportunity you to increase its price and increase your profits! Some of the most popular toppings and dips that consumers love are:

  • Mustard
  • Cheese
  • Crab dip
  • Garlic parmesan
  • Cinnamon sugar
  • Melted chocolate

Pretzel Shapes

While all are equally delicious, each shape serves a 'best' purpose on your menu!
Hands grabbing traditional twist soft pretzel on plate with mustard

Traditional Twist

Use for merchandising in your countertop warmer or for pairing with an array of sweet and savory condiments and dips.

Soft pretzel bites in basket

Bites / Nuggets

Use for merchandising in portable cups in heated display cases or for offering as an appetizer with an array of dipping condiments.

Braided soft pretzel sticks on wood tray with mustard

Braid / Sticks

Use for topping with or dunking in your signature dips.

Salami sandwich on pretzel bun

Buns / Rolls

Turns ordinary burgers and sandwiches into gourmet offerings with little change to your operation.

Pretzel dogs on cooling rack

Shells

Provides a unique twist to the classic hot dog or sausage.

Calculating Your Profits

Still unsure if soft pretzels are right for your business? Take a look at this profit calculator. Plug in your estimates in each field and see how much money you can make over the course of a year. You might be surprised!

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