pretzel recipe vanilla fleur de sel

If you have ever been to the mall or shopping center you are instantly greeted by the delicious smells wafting from the pretzel stand. It is hard to miss and even harder to resist!

The soft pretzel is said to have originated from Germany. History states that in the year 1111, the first documented picture of the pretzel appeared in the baker's guild crest. In the 1440's the pretzel was seen in a prayer book, St. Bartholomew was pictured surrounded by the soft and chewy knotted bread. The pretzel was said to bring luck and spiritual wholeness to the people. Pretzels were used in other traditions in Europe, often in Easter hunts (much like today's Easter egg hunts) and hung on Christmas trees as a symbol of luck and prosperity. The pretzel was also used in wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom would tug on each side and wish for happiness in the marriage, similar to the modern day turkey wishbone.

Though the pretzel has been around for centuries, the modern day cook often shies away from creating them at home. Often thought of as complicated and fussy, the basic pretzel dough recipe is actually quite simple.

The recipe begins with a basic yeast dough, that is simplified with the use of a stand mixer. Lye is replaced with baking soda and pretzel salt is replaced with vanilla fleur de sel.

Vanilla fleur de sel?! What is that? Fleur de Sel ("Flower of Salt," in French) is hand-harvested sea salt that is formed at the surface of salt beds.It is collected by workers who scrape only the top layer of salt. Rich in minerals with superior flavor qualities, Fleur de Sel is one of the most expensive salts in the world. Our Fleur de Sel is collected off the coast of Brittany (France) and is combined with premium ground vanilla beans of Tahiti and Papua New Guinea. Vanilla fleur de sel adds a touch of vanilla flavor while still adding that familiar flavor of coarse salt. The perfect combination for a soft and chewy pretzel in our opinion!

Pretzel Recipe: Vanilla Fleur de Sel Soft Pretzels

adapted from Alton Brown

Yields 8 pretzels



  • 1½ cups warm water (100-110 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Pretzel water bath:

  • 12 cups water
  • 2/3 cups baking soda

Pretzel tops:

1 egg yolk and 1 1/2 tablespoons water, whisked together (for egg wash)
Vanilla Fleur de sel for the pretzel tops


Combine the warm water, honey and salt in a mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 4-5 minutes, until the mixture begins to activate the yeast.

Once the yeast has sat, add the flour and melted butter. Use the dough hook attachment to mix on low speed until all of the ingredients are combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and let it  knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.  Remove the dough from the mixer and place in a clean, pan sprayed bowl. Cover with a clean dish towel and place in a warm spot in your kitchen. The dough will rise and double in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat and spray with pan spray. Combine the water and baking soda in a large, wide pot such as a le creuset pot. Bring the baking soda and water to a high boil.

Divide the dough into eight equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough using the palm of your hand, from the middle to the outer edges until the dough forms a evenly sized rope. Form the rope into a U-shape and cross each end inward towards the bottom of the U. Pinch the ends into the bottom of the dough. Carefully place the pretzels into the boiling water in two batches, for 1 minute each batch. Remove them from the water with a flat metal spatula.

Boil Pretzels

Place the pretzels on the prepared baking sheet, brush with the egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with vanilla fleur de sel. Bake until dark golden brown in color for approximately 15-17 minutes.

bake pretzels