Hot Buttered Fluffy Pretzels 2.0, the 100% Whole Wheat Version!

cinnamon sugar tossed whole wheat pretzels

Every time I post a bread recipe on Fifteen Spatulas, I almost inevitably get at least one person asking me this:

“Can I make this bread with whole wheat flour instead of white?”

Oh how this question would pain me, because I would have to break the bad news. You see, you can’t just swap the two whenever you want, and expect the same results.

soft baked fluffy whole wheat pretzels

The reason it doesn’t work is because whole wheat flour has significantly less protein than white flour, which means less gluten-developing ability.

And gluten is practically everything with bread.  It’s why we spend 10 minutes working that dough, so we can develop a big strong web of gluten-rich dough that can hold in the gas bubbles that the yeast make, and give the dough rise.

Translation: Without gluten, bread would be heavy and dense, instead of light and fluffy. The yeast would be producing its gas bubbles, but there would be nothing to catch and hold those gas bubbles in.

soft baked pretzels tossed with cinnamon sugar

One of the most popular recipes on Fifteen Spatulas (and one of my personal LOVES) is Hot Buttered Fluffy Pretzels, and well, apparently today is my happy day because now if someone asks me, “Joanne, can I use whole wheat flour instead of white flour for this recipe?” I can say….YES!!!! Thanks to some super magical yeast =)

This super magical yeast is new from Red Star Yeast and is called Platinum Superior Baking Yeast. It has dough enhancers that strengthen the dough,  and give the bread more rise and oven spring. The minute I got my hands on some of this yeast, I knew I had to test out the Hot Buttered Fluffy Pretzels…made with 100% Whole Wheat Flour.

platinum yeast helps strengthen whole wheat dough

It turned out to be a total kitchen success. I discovered that I was able to make the soft baked pretzels entirely out of whole wheat flour.

whole wheat pretzel dough ball

And it still had the pretty yeast bubbles, but with more of the whole grain goodness:

whole wheat yeast risen pretzel dough

I could still roll them out into a long rope:

rolling whole wheat pretzels into a rope

And shape them into pretzels, without stickiness on my hands.

how to shape a soft pretzel

And after a little dip in baking soda wash,

dipping whole wheat pretzel in soda wash

they went onto the sheet pan for 15 minutes and puffed up like crazy.

sprinkling whole wheat pretzels with sea salt

This time for the whole wheat version, I decided to make them cinnamon sugar pretzels.

It’s not that I don’t like the hot buttered ones…it’s just I’m crazy for cinnamon sugar tossed ANYTHING. Long ago when I’d go to the mall and get lured into the perpetually long line at Auntie Anne’s, I always got the cinnamon sugar one. Because that darned cinnamon smell in the air is what got me every time.

Now, you still butter them up when they’re hot out of the oven:

You just toss it in cinnamon sugar afterward so it sticks to the buttered dough =)

shaking pretzels in cinnamon sugar

And because these are made from whole wheat flour, that means it’s totally okay to turn these into cinnamon sugar pretzels. You totally earn it with that 100% whole wheat part. Or so says my brain.

Now for the giveaway! Red Star Yeast will send one Fifteen Spatulas reader the following:

  • Wood cutting board
  • Platinum apron
  • Samples of the Platinum Yeast
  • Reusable Grocery Bag
  • Coupons for Platinum Yeast

The winner will also be entered to win a KitchenAid Mixer, with the drawing done by Red Star Yeast on November 12th.

To enter, leave a comment below telling me what your absolute favorite kind of bread is…ciabatta? Focaccia? Pita? Sandwich bread? Pretzels? Tell me below.

UPDATE: this giveaway is closed. Congrats to Suzie for winning and thanks to all who entered!

If you want to learn more about Red Star Yeast, you can read about how to use it and product information on the Red Star Yeast site.

Copyright Notice: Fifteen Spatulas images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials without prior permission.

Whole Wheat Soft Baked Pretzels

Yield: 8 pretzels

Whole Wheat Soft Baked Pretzels


    For the Dough:
  • 12.5 oz whole wheat flour (2.5 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 packet Platinum Red Star Yeast
  • 1 cup very warm water (120-125 degrees F)
  • For the Soda Wash:
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • For the topping:
  • vegetable oil for greasing the sheet pan
  • coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  1. Combine all the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix with the paddle attachment until somewhat combined (or just mix by hand with a wooden spoon). Change to the dough hook and knead on medium low for 10 minutes. The dough shouldn't be sticky, just slightly tacky to the touch. Place the dough in a ziploc bag and let the dough rise for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, and lightly grease a baking sheet with vegetable oil. You could also do parchment paper if you can find one that's rated high enough (most parchment papers I've seen only go up to 420 degrees F).
  3. Remove the dough from the bag and place onto a clean countertop. Divide the dough into 8 pieces (just cut it with a knife).
  4. Whisk to combine the warm water and baking soda and heat in the microwave for 1 minute. FYI it's not going to dissolve completely, and that's okay.
  5. Roll each of the eight pieces into a long rope, and shape each one into a pretzel (see the step-by-step photos on the blog post to see how to do this).
  6. Dip each pretzel into the soda wash and place onto the greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, then let them rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes until the pretzels are golden brown, and prep the cinnamon sugar by whisking the sugar and cinnamon together. Brush the pretzels with the melted butter while they are hot out of the oven, then toss in the cinnamon sugar. Serve and enjoy!


This recipe is a variation of the previously posted Hot Buttered Fluffy Pretzels, which was adapted from King Arthur Flour.

Disclosure: this giveaway and post are sponsored by Red Star Yeast. I have used Red Star Yeast for years, long before this blog was born. As always, I would never recommend anything on Fifteen Spatulas that I wouldn’t recommend to a close friend or neighbor, and all opinions here are my own.

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414 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

  • avatar Janelle Monique November 9, 2012, 2:59 pm

    I followed Fifteen Spatulas on Pinterest!

  • avatar Janelle Monique November 9, 2012, 3:00 pm

    I followed Red Star Yeast on Pinterest!

  • avatar Debbie Richter November 11, 2012, 10:27 am

    I can not what to try the whole wheat soft baked pretzels with my grankids. They love to cook.

  • avatar Gina November 11, 2012, 3:03 pm

    mine always stick to the pan…how do i prevent this?

    • avatar Joanne Ozug November 11, 2012, 4:13 pm

      Hi Gina, are you using a nonstick (coated) pan or an uncoated pan?

    • avatar Cindy February 15, 2013, 10:44 am

      use Reynolds non-stick foil…..nothing sticks to it and you save on extra calories by not using spray oils

  • avatar Angela November 13, 2012, 3:30 pm

    I am so excited to make these…..I am not a baker, I love to cook, but baking scares me to death LOL…. I am making these with 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat flour….. I mix my flour in my tub and so that is all I have…….hope they turn out well…. thanks for the post, found you on pinterest and love it

    • avatar Joanne Ozug November 13, 2012, 4:56 pm

      Hi Angela, these will go very well with a mix of the flours. Don’t be scared, just make sure to measure accurately. Good luck!

  • avatar Denise November 21, 2012, 11:20 am

    You used a baking soda wash for the whole wheat but not the white, is there a reason or am I just missing something?

    • avatar Joanne Ozug November 21, 2012, 2:57 pm

      Hi Denise, it’s there for the white pretzels, it’s in the recipe instructions but not in the picture part (because I didn’t get a good picture). But it is listed in the ingredients and instructions. Hope that helps!

      • avatar Denise November 21, 2012, 4:32 pm

        Sure does, have not made it that far yet. ;)

  • avatar Debbie December 12, 2012, 11:48 am

    these look and sound sooo good…my daughter loves pretzels and we have been wanting to make some..think we will try these!

  • avatar spicytofu December 26, 2012, 10:47 pm

    I will make these this weekend! I’ve already shown these pictures to the hubster. Looks very, very good.

  • avatar laurie February 14, 2013, 12:56 pm

    garlic chiabatta – yummmmm

  • avatar Joan February 14, 2013, 12:56 pm

    My fav bread is cinnamon raisin, followed by a light and fluffy french bread.

  • avatar Betty February 14, 2013, 3:54 pm

    I am anxious to try these. We love to try new things.

  • avatar Christina February 14, 2013, 8:42 pm

    Hi! I just wanted to tell you that your recipes are amazing! I just made these pretzels and they were really delicous, everyone in my house (including me!) ate them up so fast! I was a little scared to make pretzels at home, but was at the mall yesterday and passed by auntie anns pretzels and wanted one soo bad but know they are loaded with calories, so having a delicious whole wheat one with cinnamon, splenda, and spray butter definately did the trick! Your recipes are great, easy to follow and I love the videos! I dont know how you stay so tiny with all of this delicious food hahah! keep up the good work, you have the best food website on the internet, these pretzels were right on with taste, texture and came out just like the pictures, thank you soo much for your website!! :)

    • avatar Joanne Ozug February 15, 2013, 8:57 am

      Hi Christina, thanks so much! Can’t believe someone called me tiny, made my day LOL. I struggle…I count calories most days, it’s a pain! So glad you loved these pretzels!!!

  • avatar Lora Hall March 8, 2013, 8:12 am

    I was wandering if you have any recipes using fresh milled flour. I’m milling my own with a Nutrigrain flour meal. I have easily adapted all my quick bread recipes,but not my yeast raised ones. I’d love to try this pretzel recipe with fresh milled flour, but I’m a little hesitant.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug March 8, 2013, 8:39 am

      Hi Lora, I have not had any experience with fresh milled flour, and so far I haven’t had anyone leave comments about baking with fresh milled flour. If you do try it, please let us know how it goes =)

    • avatar Sharon WIlliams April 7, 2013, 9:30 am

      You can make pretzels with freshly milled flour. Actually Whole wheat flour is very high in protein, higher than white flour, but you have to knead the bread for about twice as long to develop the gluten. I make everything with whole wheat flour. It is very versatile. I have hard red, which is highest in protein and has the nuttiest flavor, hard white, which is better for cake or muffins and then soft white which is nice for pastry. Soft white is lowest in protein, and low in gluten, so it will not make a good bread but will make a very tender pie crust. You can mill all three of these and use them in everything.

      • avatar Joanne Ozug April 7, 2013, 10:22 am

        Sharon, you are a gem!!! Thanks for sharing your expertise.

    • avatar Kate July 24, 2013, 10:11 am

      I tried this recipe last night with fresh milled flour (I used hard white wheat, milled with my Nutrigrain mill). It worked great with this yeast! Fear not! :)

  • avatar Kristin March 19, 2013, 12:24 pm

    How do you think these will work with regular ol’ yeast? I don’t have any of the platinum on hand and am dying to make these!

    • avatar Joanne Ozug March 19, 2013, 6:55 pm

      Hi Kristin, I haven’t tried it, but I imagine it would still turn out fine, it might be a bit denser with less gluten development but should still be tasty!

  • avatar Joyce Knake March 21, 2013, 4:47 pm

    I did make the ones with white flour. They were very tasty. I cheated a little bit. I bought fresh pizza dough and used that. One thing I didn’t do was roll my dough out far enough so I just laid them across each other.

  • avatar Christina April 10, 2013, 12:55 pm

    Can the dough be made and rise via bread machine dough setting?

    • avatar Sharon Williams April 10, 2013, 2:05 pm

      You would need a longer knead time and a longer rise time as well. What I do is run the machine through the kneading part of the dough cycle. When it gets to the rise, I reset it and start the dough setting over. That way it kneads again. Dough will have a smooth sheen and be stretchy if it has kneaded long enough. Then when the rise is over, I just leave it untouched and let it continue to rise until doubled. Then I take it out, punch it down and use it however I need to. HTH

  • avatar Nancy April 11, 2013, 12:00 pm

    Just discovered your sight today. Love it and thanks for your wonderful recipes. I am making the ribs today along with the cheese biscuits. Tonight I am trying the pretzels which I have never made before. I mainly never made pretzels before because it seemed to hard but with your pictures and recipe I know I can do it. Thanks again

    • avatar Joanne Ozug April 11, 2013, 12:41 pm

      Hi Nancy, that’s great! The pretzels are definitely doable, let me know how it goes! Hope you have a nice dinner =)

  • avatar Anna April 21, 2013, 5:31 pm

    Hi, I just tried your whole wheat recipe and my dough would not roll out into ropes. It would just crumble apart. I followed the recipe to a T so I am not sure what happened. My dough is now resting after making nuggets out of the dough and I will bake them after the rest. I hope it works. Disappointed because the recipe looked so yummy.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug April 21, 2013, 5:37 pm

      Hi Anna, if it’s not staying together that means there isn’t enough gluten development to hold it. Did you use the Red Star Yeast Platinum or regular yeast?

    • avatar Sharon April 21, 2013, 6:05 pm

      might no have enough water. dough should hold together even if the gluten isn’t developed…

  • avatar Harold Starling July 18, 2013, 2:24 pm

    Hello ladies (and gentlemen if I missed you),

    I have a good 2lbs of corn flour left over from a tortilla chip experiment; what say you on the prospect of turning out corn pretzels?



    • avatar Joanne Ozug July 18, 2013, 6:26 pm

      Hi Harold, gluten development is essential for this recipe and you won’t be able to develop any with corn flour.

  • avatar Annie July 21, 2013, 2:11 pm


    My favorite bread recipe is whole wheat pizza dough.

    It’s wonderful that you are so responsive to your fans. I was just telling my husband how dedicated you are in keeping up with comments and responding to requests, like those for turning recipes into whole-wheat recipes (which happens to be a diet restriction for me!).

    And your photography and videography are both stunning. You know how to do a cooking website!


  • avatar Annie July 21, 2013, 2:12 pm


    My favorite bread recipe is whole wheat pizza dough.

    It’s wonderful that you are so responsive to your fans. I was just telling my husband how dedicated you are in keeping up with comments and responding to requests, like those for turning recipes into whole-wheat recipes (which happens to be a diet restriction for me!).

    And your photography and videography are both stunning. You know how to do a cooking website!


    • avatar Joanne Ozug July 23, 2013, 4:49 pm

      Thanks so much Annie! I do my best haha. Sometimes it’s overwhelming but replying to comments is important to me. Thanks for your support!

  • avatar carole August 4, 2013, 12:22 pm

    My favorite bread is whole wheat with added millet, using the cold fermentation method by Peter Reinhart.

  • avatar Veronica August 31, 2013, 12:48 pm

    Hi Joanne–

    I tried these and they didn’t go well. My dough didn’t have the beautiful bubbles! I would’ve tossed them but my kids, always the optimists, thought I should bake them anyway. As I suspected, they were dense and heavy. I’m not sure where I went wrong with these but I’m the kind of person who can eat a hot pretzel everyday so I will stick to the original recipe. Thanks Joanne!

    • avatar Joanne Ozug September 1, 2013, 6:31 pm

      Hi Veronica, from everything you described, it sounds like the yeast was dead. Do you think the yeast was fresh enough? If the yeast isn’t expired, then the other possibility is that the water was too hot. Did you measure with a thermometer?

      • avatar Veronica September 3, 2013, 11:55 pm

        Hi Joanne,

        The yeast was fresh– I just went out and bought the Platinum yeast so I know it was fresh…. although, now that you mention it…. I think I forgot to measure the water with a thermometer. :-/ Hmm….. ok, that might have been my fault. Looks like I will be trying these again with, hopefully, much better results!

        Thanks again!

  • avatar Rebekah Lee September 3, 2013, 10:45 pm

    These are perfection. Hopefully will get some time to make them this weekend! Thank you for posting a whole wheat version!

  • avatar Tarun September 8, 2013, 1:33 pm

    Your blog is beautiful, thanks for the awesome recipes! I’ve been wanting to try pretzels and these are where I’ll start. I think I’ll forgo the cinnamon sugar and make my own spicy mustard instead. Do you have any recipes you’d recommend? Thanks so much!

    • avatar Joanne Ozug September 9, 2013, 8:50 am

      Hi Tarun, thanks!! The spicy mustard sounds great. I’ve actually never made my own mustard before, though I remember seeing a Food & Wine recipe that I thought looked good. I usually do a search online and see if something is well reviewed. Enjoy!

  • avatar Katrina September 16, 2013, 3:48 pm

    I am looking forward to experimenting with this recipe, as well as the fluffy buttered recipe. I am diabetic so I tend to stay away from wheat products. I am hoping this would work with oat flour (I just buy old fashioned oatmeal and put it in my bullet to create flour). I’m still playing with this idea with varying success because I just love breads.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug September 17, 2013, 2:25 pm

      Hi Katrina, unfortunately I don’t believe oat flour will work for this recipe because of the inability to create gluten (which is essential for the pretzels to hold together). I’m sorry to hear you are diabetic, that must be challenging to adjust your cooking and baking.

      • avatar Katrina September 17, 2013, 2:36 pm

        Hmmm . . . perhaps 50/50 oat flour and wheat flour with that new yeast. Or using regular flour. Eventually I will get around to it. :)

  • avatar Lucille September 20, 2013, 4:10 pm

    Just for those people asking about the normal yeast, you can use normal yeast if you use Vital Wheat gluten added when the flour goes in…. just a teaspoon or so will do the trick… i believe that is what they add too that special yeast. You can find it in Bulk at big supermarkets, or by Bobs Red Mill. PS I miss the Soft Pretzels at Costco and these taste exactly the same!!! Way to go!!!!

  • avatar Karoline October 3, 2013, 2:40 pm

    I bake bread regularly, and a house favorite it always cinnamon raisin swirl for breakfasts or my garlic, Italian herb and parmesan bread to go with our meal for pasta nights!

  • avatar Ilene October 8, 2013, 7:34 pm

    Oh my, I remember growing up and smelling Challah. My mom loved to bake, cook and keep the house the one everyone wanted to come over to.

  • avatar Valerie October 16, 2013, 1:15 pm

    I love pretzels with salt and butter fresh out of the oven! I have always boiled my pretzels before cooking them. I am excited to try your recipe.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug October 16, 2013, 2:59 pm

      Hope you enjoy the pretzels Valerie!

  • avatar Jennette November 22, 2013, 10:54 pm

    Hi Joanne :)

    Silly question… I don’t have a stand mixer so do I still kneed the dough by hand for 10 minutes or for a different amount of time? Also, would whole wheat pastry flour work for these or should I stick the non-pastry variety?

    Thank you!

    • avatar Joanne Ozug November 24, 2013, 9:19 pm

      Hi Jennette, I think it will likely take a similar amount of time to knead by hand, but you should look for visual cues to see when the dough is cohesive. I actually am not familiar with whole wheat pastry flour…I don’t think I’ve seen it at my store! Hope you enjoy =)

  • avatar Jules G. December 22, 2013, 1:40 am

    We love making homemade dinner rolls and buns. When we go fishing the sandwiches hold together better without getting mushy.
    We now have been doing gluten free baking. It took some time to know what it was supposed to look like before baking. Totally diff. Mo kneading. Dough is wet. The rise only goes to the rim before baking. Otherwise there is a nasty volcanic overflow! Lol learning as I hope.
    Love your site and your videos.

  • avatar nora moulon January 5, 2014, 7:35 am

    oh boy, are we excited about these pretzels! i run a dycare in Upstate NY and the kids love coming after a long day at school and sitting down to a snack of hot’s definitely a favorite. Unfortunately, NYS regulations changed as of 1/1/14 and we now are required to serve only whole wheat or whole grain items. As you can imagine, the kids are less than thrilled by this but Ithink that these fluffy beauties with choice of toppings are going to be a hit~we’ll find out tomorrow!
    Thanks Redstar and 15 Spatulas!

  • avatar Erin @ Texanerin Baking March 4, 2014, 1:06 pm

    These look amazing! And I LOVE that they’re 100% whole wheat. :D

    Am I being really silly here or is there no “view older comments” button? I even had my husband look and we can’t find it.

    I wanted to ctrl + F for white whole wheat ;)

  • avatar Michelle W. March 17, 2014, 4:44 pm

    LOVE the little Hawaiian rolls…warm with honey-butter, as cheeseburger or pulled pork sliders, chicken salad sandwiches, or all by themselves!


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