Make Your Own Pretzels (It's Easier Than You Think!)

Pretzels are everywhere: the grocery aisle, the sandwich counter, the mall, the airplane and just about every vending machine on the planet. They’re even on restaurant menus in the form of soft baked breads. While the idea of snacking on a bag of pretzels, or opting for a sandwich on a pretzel roll may sound “healthy,” it’s just not.

An average 1-ounce serving (15 to 20 pieces) of bagged pretzel twists come with 110 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 450 milligrams of sodium. Thin pretzel chips and crackers are really no different and no matter what form you choose for munching, most are sweetened with corn syrup and other similar highly processed added sweeteners. Whole grain versions will have a slight increase in the nutrient department, but it doesn’t amount to more than 1 gram of fiber per serving.

Soft pretzels generally tend to be lower in sodium when compared to hard versions but they tip the scales at nearly 200 calories each. And let’s not forget those stands at the mall where an average pretzel with butter and salt adds up to around 400 calories, 5 grams of fat, and nearly 1,000 milligrams of sodium (more than 40 percent of the daily allotment).

The solution? Make your own pretzels! It’s easier than you might think, and it’s just as simple to make them a little more nutritious by turning up the whole grains as we have done here. Making them bite-sized gives you a chance for seconds (and thirds!).

Whole Wheat Pretzel Bites

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup warm water

1 packet active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)

1 teaspoon honey

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon butter, melted

3 tablespoons baking soda

2 teaspoons pretzel salt or course sea salt

Directions:

In a bowl or measuring cup, combine water, yeast and honey. Whisk well and allow to sit for 15 minutes for yeast to activate.

In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flours and salt. Add yeast mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Add butter and continue to mix on medium. If mixture appears to wet, add alternating tablespoons of all-purpose and whole wheat flour until dough comes together in a ball (dough will be soft and slightly sticky). Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover with a clean dish towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with Silpat or other baking mat* Bring a large pot of water (about 2 quarts) to a boil, once boiling add baking soda.

Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide into 6, equal sized pieces, roll out each piece, stretching gently to form a long, skinny piece 12-inches in length. Using a paring knife of bench scraper, cut 12 pieces.

Transfer 12 pieces to boiling water and cook for 1 minute, until slightly puffed. Remove from water with a slotted spoon, drain excess water and transfer to baking sheet. Sprinkle each piece with salt. Repeat with another piece of dough.

Once 24 pieces have been boiled and salted, bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Repeat steps with remaining dough.

Nutrition Info Per Serving (6 pieces): Calories: 83; Total Fat: 1 gram; Saturated Fat: 1 gram; Total Carbohydrate: 15 grams; Sugars: 1 gram; Protein: 2 grams; Sodium: 198 milligrams; Cholesterol: 3 milligrams; Fiber: 2 grams

*You can also coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Do not use parchment paper, the pretzels will stick!

Related Links:

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Is Making Your Own Baby Food Worth It?

When my daughter turned old enough to eat solid foods, there was no question that I was going to make them for her – it helps that I love to cook! But what about moms with less culinary confidence? What about the time commitment? Here are the pros, cons – and a few easy recipes.

Hop to It: Make Your Own Easter Sweets

Complete your Easter celebration with Food Network's collection of Easter desserts, which includes Carrot Cake, Hot Cross Buns and more.

Make Your Own Hummus

Hummus may be an old favorite to some, but still foreign to others. Here is the skinny on this healthy spread and some recipes to try.

Make Your Own Jam

Many store-bought jams, jellies and preserves contain more sugar than fruit. While you do need some sugar, it’s really the fruit you want to taste! Simple ingredients and a little bit of simmering and you’ll have the best tasting fruit spread imaginable.

Make Your Own Margaritas

Some celebrations call for magaritas, but lots of alcohol, sugary add-ins, and a super-sized glass and you’ve got a 600+ calorie cocktail. Take part in the fiesta with our recipes -- all under 275 calories.

Make Your Own Croissants

Try these buttery bite-sized treats at your next get-together. They're full of flavor but have just 59 calories per croissant.

Make Your Own Twinkies

Twinkies' ingredient list includes highly-processed ingredients like trans fats, processed sweeteners and preservatives. Avoid all this stuff by making your own instead!

Make Your Own Gravy

The pre-made gravy might be convenient, but it’s sure not the real thing. Making your own gravy is healthier, tastier and easier than you might think.

Make Your Own Gazpacho

Between the backyard garden, CSA deliveries, and compulsive trips to the farmers’ market – my kitchen is bursting with tomatoes and other goodies like cucumbers, onion and herbs. What’s one of the most tasty and healthy ways to use up lots of veggies? When life hands you tomatoes….make gazpacho!

Make Your Own Biscuits

Don't fill up on bread at Thanksgiving, but don't skip the bread basket all together. Keep the calories in check with these 60 calorie homemade biscuits.