You absolutely have to try these perfect easy Bavarian pretzel rolls! They’re soft, fairly light pretzel buns with a chewy and salty crust around the outside that’s perfectly golden brown too.
I promise you that you’ll never need another pretzel roll recipe after trying this one!
These pretzel buns are an absolute must-try recipe for any baker! It’s almost addictive - well, they certainly taste addictive anyway!
Plus, it’s nice to have a savory baking recipe that isn’t just regular bread or bread rolls - a little bit of changing things up is never a bad thing!
🥨What are pretzels?
Originally, pretzels (Brezel) are a baked good made from dough that’s usually shaped into a knot - the famous pretzel knot. They are traditionally dipped in lye, which is a sodium hydroxide solution.
Now, this may sound a little alarming and technical, but don’t worry!
- Lye is only dangerous in very high concentrations - far higher than any amount that you’d find in food!
- We aren’t going to use lye in this recipe anyway - we’re going to use baking soda.
In Bavaria (an area in Southern Germany), pretzel (Brezel) was used as an emblem for bakers since at least the 1200s.
Pretzels aren’t just popular there though! They may have always been associated with the region, but during Oktoberfest, the whole country runs on pretzels and beer! It sounds like my kind of party if I’m honest!
It was actually burger joints and pubs who had the genius idea to include hot pretzels in their menus. After all, salty bar snacks always go down well and it’s nice to be able to enjoy giant hot pretzels with spicy mustard dipping sauce or ranch without having to attend a baseball game!
The good news is that now you can get these pretzel rolls without even having to leave the house! And, you don’t have to rely on other people either - you can bake these bad boys whenever the craving hits you!
🛒Ingredients and Notes
The dough for these easy pretzels is a yeasted dough, so this means that while you have to leave plenty of time for them to rise, they’re lovely and light inside. Otherwise, non-yeasted bread tends to be too dense or crumbly.
- All-purpose flour - you don’t need any fancy bread flour or anything for this one!
- Sea salt - because it’s not a savory pretzel unless it’s seasoned well!
- Canola oil - or another neutral-flavored oil
- Active dry yeast - this recipe doesn’t require fresh yeast or a sourdough starter either, which helps to keep things cheap since most bakers usually have yeast in the pantry!
- Milk - this helps to keep the rolls soft, moist and light but still with a rich flavor
- Coarse sea salt for sprinkling over the top
- Baking soda (and a fair lot of it!)
The amount of flour will vary depending on a large number of factors such as humidity, temperature, and altitude.
So, for this recipe, just add flour until it’s slightly stiffer than for regular rolls but still relatively soft. Go by the appearance and texture of the dough rather than a strict quantity.
🧂Salting the pretzel buns
A pretzel not topped with coarse salt is actually called a “baldie”! So, if you make this recipe without sprinkling the coarse salt on top then you have made a “Bavarian baldie!” - try saying that 3 times fast!
🔪Step by Step Instructions
This recipe might look like a 2-hour-long nightmare, but don’t worry - these homemade Bavarian pretzel rolls aren’t actually that much work - and they’re more than worth the work that you do put in!
Trust me - I’ve made enough of them to know!
- Start the dough - mix the yeast with lukewarm milk and let it rest for 10 minutes. Add the canola oil and warm water. In a separate bowl, whisk 5 ¾ cups of flour and a teaspoon of salt in a large bowl, then mix in the yeast mixture.
- Knead the dough - knead in the bowl until mostly smooth. You may need to add more flour if the dough is too sticky to be easily handled. It’s normal for the dough to be somewhat stiff.
- Rest the dough - cover the bowl and let the dough rise for an hour. Punch down the dough and knead it in the bowl for another minute.
- Shape the rolls - cut the dough into 15 pieces, then form balls by pulling the dough under. Place the balls on a well-greased surface and let it rise for 15 minutes.
- “Bath” the pretzels - get the pretzel “bath” recipe by bringing water, salt, and baking soda to a rolling boil. Put 3 dough balls into the water and let them boil for one minute total. Transfer them to a well-greased baking sheet with a slotted spoon, then cut 2-3 lines across each roll with a serrated knife. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
- Bake - preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pretzels are a rich brown color.
🍲How to Serve It?
These Bavarian pretzel rolls are absolutely perfect for sandwiches! I like mine with plenty of salty butter or mayo, juicy tomato slices, lettuce, and bacon - a BLT is great on a pretzel roll! Especially if said bacon is lovely and hot so that the fat melts into the soft inside of the chewy pretzel buns!
Or, you can pull these rolls apart to dip in any of your favorite dips (a nacho cheese one would be perfect!).
In pubs, you can get these pretzel buns served on a tray as an appetizer or even served as a hamburger bun! The perfectly golden outside with fluffy, steamy center is absolutely perfect with a nice juicy burger piled high with all the essentials!
Personally, though, I like to serve mine with a nice hearty stew as this is how many Germans would typically eat them. Something like this traditional German Hunter Cabbage Stew or Instant Pot Beef Stew.
They’re especially perfect with this beer and cheddar soup - after all, it’s not a party without beer, cheese, and pretzels! This combination is perfect for game day parties in particular.
I’d have to recommend that you eat them the same day for best results as homemade bread doesn’t last as long as store-bought.
However, if you don’t manage to eat them all, then store them at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Due to the type of flour and air moisture, you might have to add more flour than recommended below. That is totally fine. See additional notes in the recipe box.
Absolutely! Freeze your buns after they're baked and cooled down. Reheat frozen rolls wrapped in foil, in a 350 F hot oven for 5-10 minutes. If you want a crispy crust, you can also unwrap for just a few minutes.
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Easy Bavarian Pretzel Rolls Recipe
- Mixing bowls
- Large pot
- baking sheet
- Slotted spoon
- Serrated knife
- 6 - 7 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 ½ cups milk slightly warmed
- 1 cup water slightly warmed
- Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
- 7 cups water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 tablespoons baking soda
- In a small mixing bowl, mix yeast with warmed milk and let rest for 10 minutes. Whisk 5 ¾ cups of flour and teaspoon of salt in a large bowl.
- Add canola oil and warm water to the yeast mixture. Pour into bowl with flour and salt. Knead in the bowl until dough is mostly smooth. Only add more flour if your dough cannot be easily handled. The dough will be somewhat stiff. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and put in a warm place to rise for one hour.
- Punch down dough and knead in bowl for one minute. Transfer the dough to a clean surface and into 15 pieces. (Cut more pieces if you would like smaller size rolls.) Form balls by pulling the dough under. Place on a well-greased surface. Let the dough balls rise for 15 minutes.
- While the dough balls are rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and get the pretzel "bath" ready. In a large pot, bring water, salt, and baking soda to a rolling boil. Plunge three dough balls into the water and let them "poach" for 1 minute total. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a well-greased baking sheet.
- HOW MUCH FLOUR? Humidity, temperature, altitude, and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs. For these pretzels, keep adding flour until it is slightly stiffer than regular rolls (but still soft), so go by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour you've added compared to the recipe.
- It is recommended that these be eaten the same day, as they are the best when they are the freshest, of course.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on products used.