No Yeast (2 Ingredient Dough) Soft Pretzels
These easy soft pretzels do not require any yeast or proofing. They start with the popular 2 ingredient dough from the Weight Watcher’s program and are ready in less than an hour. Perfect for a snack, a party, tailgating, and more.
After successfully making 2 Ingredient Bagels, I knew I wanted to turn the dough into soft pretzels. Next to bagels, one of the foods I miss most from my childhood in New York are soft pretzels. I can never resist stopping by all the soft pretzel stands when I’m visiting.
I came across a few different Weight Watcher’s recipes using this 2 ingredient dough for pretzels. But the recipes basically just shaped the dough into pretzels instead of bagels. While there is nothing wrong with that, I wanted mine to be as close to real soft pretzels as possible.
I went through a soft pretzel baking phase a few years ago and I learned the two most important steps in achieving that distinctive soft pretzel taste:
1. Dipping the soft pretzel dough in a baking soda hot water mixture. This helps achieve the dark brown crust is responsible for the very mild bitterness that is on the crust of soft pretzels.
2. Sprinkling the pretzels with coarse salt. Even if you like scraping off the salt from your pretzels (yes I do that), soft pretzels simply don’t taste the same without a little of that intense bite of salt.
Because this is not a traditional yeast dough, I had to make a few tweaks but I am really happy with the results.
Taste and Texture
The crust of the pretzel has that distinctive soft pretzel taste. The interior is soft, though lighter and airier than regular soft pretzels.
Unlike the bagels which I thought still had a lot of that tangy flavor from the yogurt, I barely tasted the yogurt in these pretzels. My husband thought I had baked regular soft pretzels and was shocked when I told him this was a shortcut version using yogurt.
This recipe is a little bit more complicated than the 2 ingredient bagels and it took a few tries for me to get the hang of making smooth and even pretzel shapes, but I love how easy these are compared to regular soft pretzels.
Making the Dough:
- Non-fat plain Greek yogurt is key to this dough. It cannot be substituted with regular yogurt. Make sure you use a brand that makes a thick Greek strained yogurt. Not all brands offer the same consistency. I used Fage for these.
- You can knead the dough by hand or using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. I personally prefer using the stand mixer method as it doesn’t take as much kneading. You do need to watch the mixer carefully. As soon as the dough comes together in one ball and is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl, it’s ready. If you over-knead it, it will actually start becoming too sticky to work with again.
- This dough works best for making 2 (by halving the recipe) or 4 soft pretzels. I don’t recommend doubling the ingredients because it is a lot harder to knead and achieve the right consistency for the dough. If you wish to make a large batch of pretzels, I would recommend making the dough in several batches.
- Try to make your dough ropes as even and smooth as possible so that your soft pretzels will be smooth. I re-rolled the dough a few times until they were smooth and even. A lightly floured surface should help.
Cooking the Dough:
- The key to the dark brown pretzel crust and its distinctive flavor is dipping the soft pretzel dough in a baking soda hot water mixture before baking. Usually, soft pretzels will cook in the baking soda water for about 30 seconds. However, for these pretzels, the boiling ruins the shape and makes the pretzels puff up evenly. So instead, I dipped them in the hot baking soda water for about 30 seconds. The pretzels puff up slightly while still maintaining their smooth appearance and they achieve a beautiful brown crust during baking.
- Make sure you use a small enough pot that will allow the pretzel to be completely submerged in the water. If your pot is too big, your water level will be too low.
No Yeast Soft Pretzels
- 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup self rising flour (or mix 1 cup all purpose flour + 1 1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp table salt)
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 egg, whisked (for egg wash finish)
- coarse sea salt (for topping)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, add yogurt and flour. When measuring out the yogurt, make sure that you strain out any excess liquid. Any extra liquid sitting in your yogurt will cause the dough to be too wet.
- Using a large spoon or spatula, mix together flour and yogurt until it begins to form a crumbly dough. Use your hands to push the dough together into one ball. The dough will be very sticky.
- Add your dough to a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Knead the dough on medium speed until it becomes one ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Your dough ball should feel tacky and no longer too sticky. This should only take a few minutes and you should be watching your mixer carefully and remove the dough as soon as it is tacky. If you over-knead it, the dough will become sticky again. If you do not have a stand mixer, you can knead the dough by hand. You will need to cover your kneading surface with flour and knead the dough by hand until it is tacky and no longer sticky.
- Divide dough into four equal balls. Roll out ball on a lightly floured surface until it becomes a 14-inch long rope. Try to make the rope as even and smooth as possible. You can re-roll a few times until it is smooth and even. Form a pretzel shape with the rope. Repeat with remaining dough balls.
- Add 4 cups of water and baking soda to a medium pot. Your water level should be high enough to completely submerge one pretzel. If it's not, you may need a smaller pot. Bring water baking soda to a simmer. Then turn off heat but leave the pot on the stove so the water stays hot. Gently submerge one soft pretzel in water for about 30 seconds. The pretzel should puff up slightly but should not lose its form. Do not boil the pretzels in the baking soda because this causes the dough to puff unevenly and lose its form. Remove pretzel and place onto prepared sheet pan. Repeat with remaining pretzels.
- Brush the entire surface area of the pretzels generously with egg wash. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over pretzels.
- Bake pretzels for about 25 minutes or until pretzels are cooked and the crust is dark brown. Let pretzels cool a few minutes before eating.
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