Scallion Pancake Soft Pretzels
What’s better than a buttery homemade soft pretzel? Scallion pancake soft pretzels, that’s what! If you don’t know what scallion pancakes are, they’re one of the best Chinese foods ever! Flaky and chewy, scallion pancakes pack a punch of flavor from the sesame oil and loads of scallion. I wanted to combine this amazing treat with another one of my favorites– gorgeous large soft pretzels!
Equipment needed to make soft pretzels
- Baking Scale: Using a food scale for baking not only ensures that you will get the recipe exactly accurate, but it saves us a lot of dirty dishes and measuring cups!
- Stand Mixer (optional): I love using my Kitchen Aid Stand mixer for kneading doughs because it does the hard work for me! But in this case, it isn’t exactly necessary. But if you do have one, definitely use it to save yourself some energy!
- Large glass bowl: this holding the lye solution that we dip the pretzels into
- Large slotted spatula: makes it easier to get the pretzels out of the lye bath.
- Food safe gloves: ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY when dealing with lye.
- Large baking sheet: I like using extra large baking sheets so all 6 pretzels can bake at the same time.
- Parchment paper: makes everything easier and avoids sticky messes.
Ingredients for Scallion Pancake Soft Pretzels
- Instant yeast
- Warm water
- Brown sugar
- Fresh scallion
- Sesame oil
- White sesame seeds
- *Food grade lye granules
Why does this recipe call for LYE?
For these scallion pancake soft pretzels, I decided the best option would be to use lye. A lot of recipes for homemade pretzels will include a baking soda bath as a substitute for a lye bath. But pretzels are actually traditionally made with a lye bath. The purpose of both methods is to add an alkaline or basic coating to the pretzel dough before going into the oven, to result in a dark brown golden color, while also adding that signature chewy pretzel texture and flavor.
Although lye has to be handled extremely cautiously, I still prefer this method over the baking soda method. Here’s why:
- Authentic taste: hands down, when a lye bath is used, the pretzel just tastes more like a pretzel.
- Less steps: when using lye, you end up with less steps. You just dip for a few seconds, and you’re done. When using baking soda bath, you have to boil a lot of water, soak pretzels for longer, and finish with an egg wash.
- Darker brown finish: With the lye solution, you end up with much deeper and darker pretzels, which look a lot more legitimate.
- End result just looks better: When using lye, the end baked results look a lot better. The pretzel skin is even and smooth. When you use baking soda, the skin usually looks a bit imperfect and dimpled in certain areas.
For these reasons, I choose to go with a lye bath. But if you’re still not convinced, these pretzels still work perfectly fine with a baking soda bath.
How to make scallion pancake soft pretzels
- Make the pretzel dough: First, combine the flour with yeast and salt. Then, separately, combine warm water with brown sugar and melted butter. Using a stand mixer, combine the flour mix and the water mix, and knead until smooth and elastic. We let this rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Prep the lye solution: **VERY CAREFULLY** prepare the lye solution in a large glass bowl, and set aside.
- Divide pretzel dough and assemble: Divide the dough into 6-8 equal pieces, depending on how big you want the pretzels. Roll each piece out to flatten into a long rectangle, brush with sesame oil, and sprinkle with scallion and salt. Roll up into a log, pinch seam to seal well, and roll out into a long rope. Shape into pretzel shape.
- Dip into lye: place pretzels one at a time into lye bath (WEARING GLOVES) for several seconds, fully submerging the pretzel into bath. Using an extra large slotted spatula, remove pretzel from bath, let excess water drip off, and slide onto parchment paper lined extra large baking sheet. Fix the pretzel shape if needed. Sprinkle generously with sesame seeds and flaky sea salt.
- Bake: Bake pretzels for about 8-10 minutes, until deeply golden brown. Immediately brush baked pretzels lightly with melted butter and ENJOY!
Other recipes you might enjoy!
- mashed potato cheddar puff pastry
- tomato tarts with mascarpone and shallots
- milk bread coffee cinnamon rolls
soft homemade pretzels that are so buttery and soft with a golden crispy exterior, bursting with aromatic scallion pancake flavors!
- 3 c (384g) all purpose or bread flour
- 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- pinch of salt
- 1 c + 2 tb (245g) warm water
- 2 tb light brown sugar
- 2 tb butter, melted
- 1000g (about 4 c) cold water
- 30g lye granules
- 1/3 c (about 3 small whole scallions) very thinly sliced
- 1/3 c sesame oil, placed in a bowl
- kosher salt
- 2 tb sesame seeds
- 3 tb melted butter
- flaky sea salt
make pretzel dough
- in the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together flour, yeast, and salt.
- in a liquid measuring cup with the warm water, mix in brown sugar until at least slightly melted. stir in the butter.
- add water mixture to the flour, and with a dough hook on the stand mixer, start on low speed to bring the dough together. let machine knead dough for a few minutes. if it's too dry, add a tablespoon of water. knead dough for about 10 minutes, or until it's smooth and elastic, passing the "window pane" test.
- lightly grease a large bowl and place dough into it. cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour or until doubled in size. you can also make this dough ahead of time and let it rise overnight in the fridge.
prepare lye solution
- fill a large glass bowl with cold water.
- wearing food safe gloves and being super careful, gradually add lye granules into the water while whisking slowly to combine well. *DANGER: lye is poisonous and the use of this lye solution should be very carefully managed. keep children and pets away while dealing with lye solution. this is a diluted solution but can still cause irritation to the skin. read label for further instructions in case of contact.
- set solution aside and discard gloves if they touched the lye or the solution.
assemble the pretzels
- preheat oven to 450 degrees F. prepare a large baking pan with parchment paper cut into 6-8 large squares big enough for the large pretzels.
- punch down the dough in the bowl and place on a clean work surface.
- divide into 6-8 equal pieces.
- taking one piece of dough, press roughly into a long rectangle shape. with a slightly floured rolling pin, roll into a very flat long rectangle.
- brush lightly with sesame oil in the center, leaving a 1 inch border all around.
- sprinkle a handful of sliced scallion and a pinch of salt. then roll tightly starting with the long side to create a long rope. pinch the seam to close well.
- roll rope out to a very long and skinny rope, the width of a finger.
- to make pretzel shape, bring the ends together by criss-crossing them and twisting 2-3 times, then lay ends down onto the middle of the rope. press lightly to seal. place assembled pretzels on the individual parchment paper squares and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
prepare for baking
- put on clean food safe gloves and arrange your lye solution and pan of pretzels next to each other on a big cleared work surface.
- prepare a large baking sheet or two with parchment paper. grab a very large slotted spoon.
- pick up one pretzel at a time with the parchment paper and place quickly and carefully into the lye solution. WORK QUICKLY HERE.
- push down on the pretzel with the back of your slotted spoon to fully submerge the pretzel into the lye solution, only keeping it in the solution for several seconds. scoop the pretzel up with the slotted spoon, let excess lye solution drip off, then let it slide onto the prepared baking pan.
- the lye solution makes the dough a little slimy and it may seem like the pretzel is ruined or wants to fall apart. but trust me, it will turn out perfectly after it's baked! you just need to work quickly and rearrange it on the baking pan and fix the shape.
- dip each pretzel in the lye solution in this manner and arrange them about 1/2-1 inch apart.
- remove gloves and sprinkle each pretzel generously with sesame seeds and flaky sea salt.
- bake for 8-10 minutes, until deeply golden brown.
- immediately after baking, lightly brush each pretzel with melted butter. (too much will take away the crispy exterior)
- this pretzel dough can be prepared overnight and placed in the fridge to rise. take dough out of the fridge about 30 minutes before assembly.
- this recipe uses 100% food safe lye. after the pretzels are baked, it is completely safe to eat. but lye is still a dangerous ingredient and should be handled VERY CAREFULLY-- keep children and pets away when handling.