Steam-Baked Soft Pretzels

Carlene Thomas RDN
Carlene Thomas RDN
September 7, 2023
Love a soft pretzel but always end up with something too dry when you make them at home? Use the Anova Precision Oven’s steam capability to proof the dough, steam the pretzels, and then switch to browning and baking. It sounds like a lot of steps, but because the oven does the work for you, it’s easy. Notes: Diastatic malt powder can be found online. It helps with rise, flavor and crumb. It’s also great to add to bagels and waffles. Make sure to also buy some compressed pretzel salt for a true soft pretzel experience. You can use two racks to bake all of the pretzels at once. You may need to rotate the baking sheets during the final stage to ensure that they all brown evenly.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Steam-Baked Soft Pretzels
3.83 (6)
4.5 cups (1065g)
lukewarm water, divided
2 tsp (7g)
dry active yeast
1 tsp (5g)
½ cup (115g)
lukewarm whole milk
1 Tbsp (14g)
melted and cooled butter
1 tsp (3g)
kosher salt
½ tsp (1.6g)
diastatic malt powder (see note)
2.75 cups (330g)
all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp (30g)
baking soda
Compressed pretzel salt (see note)

1. Preheat Oven

Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: 100%
Temp: 100°F
Heat: Rear

2. Begin Dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine 1/2 cup of the water with the yeast and sugar. Stir to combine.
Begin Dough

3. Proof Yeast

Let the yeast mixture sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If it doesn’t foam, the yeast has expired and you’ll need to try again with a fresh batch.)
Proof Yeast

4. Add More Ingredients

Add the milk, butter, salt, and malt powder to the yeast mixture and stir to combine.
Add More Ingredients

5. Gradually Add Flour

With the mixer on medium speed, gradually mix in the flour.
Gradually Add Flour

6. Knead

Continue to knead the dough until it is smooth, 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, then return to the mixer bowl.

7. Proof

Transfer to the oven and let proof until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: 100%
Temp: 100°F
Heat: Rear
00:30 Timer

8. Divide

Weigh the dough and divide into 8 equal portions. For me, the portions weighed 72 grams each.

9. Shape into Snakes

Roll each portion of dough into long snakes. With each snake, form an upside-down U shape, and then cross one end over the other, leaving about 2 inches of tail.
Shape into Snakes

10. Cross Dough Again

Cross the tails over each other once more to form a twist.
Cross Dough Again

11. Form Pretzels

Bring the twisted portion up to the top of the U shape and let tails hang over. Pull at the open sides to shape into a rounded pretzel. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Form Pretzels

12. Transfer to Pan

Place the pretzels on a sheet pan lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat. You should be able to fit 4 pretzels per sheet pan.
Transfer to Pan

13. Adjust Oven for Steaming

Place the racks in the 2nd and 5th position.
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: 100%
Temp: 212°F
Heat: Rear

14. Prepare Baking Soda Bath

Whisk together the remaining 4 cups warm water with the baking soda in a large bowl or measuring cup. Gently submerge each pretzel in the bath and then return to the baking sheet.
Prepare Baking Soda Bath

15. Top with Salt

Sprinkle pretzel salt over each pretzel.
Top with Salt

16. Steam

Transfer to the oven to steam for 7 minutes.
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: 100%
Temp: 212°F
Heat: Rear
00:07 Timer

17. Bake pretzels

Leave the pretzels in the oven as it adjusts to bake mode. Continue to bake until the exterior is golden brown and the interior is fluffy, 12 to 15 minutes after the stage begins. You may want to crack open the oven at the beginning of this stage to help the steam escape.
Bake pretzels
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: 60%
Temp: 392°F
Heat: Rear
00:12 Timer

18. Serve

Serve with spicy mustard or cinnamon-sugar butter.
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