Easy Bavarian Pretzel Rolls
You will love these soft, fairly light bread buns with a chewy and salty pretzel-like crust around the outside that’s perfectly golden brown too.
Use pretzel rolls for sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, or dip them in some grainy mustard. They are delicious on their own too!
Pretzel rolls, aka Laugenbrötchen, are a standard item in German bakeries.
Walking down the road to get a fresh pretzel roll was my favorite thing to do while I lived there.
Now it takes a car-ride to the nearest Ben's Soft Pretzel shop or to settle for store-bought Pretzilla buns. They're both delicious, but nothing beats the taste and convenience of homemade pastries!
🥨What are pretzels?
Originally, pretzels (Brezel) are baked goods made from dough that’s usually shaped into a knot - the famous pretzel knot.
They are traditionally dipped in lye, which is alkaline (sodium or potassium 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 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.
Bavarian pretzels aren’t just popular there, though! They may have always been associated with the region, but the whole country runs on pretzels and beer during Oktoberfest!
It sounds like my kind of party, if I’m honest! It was actually burger joints and pubs with 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 (sometimes called Laugensemmerl) without even having to leave the house!
Easy Bavarian Pretzel Rolls
- 6 cups all-purpose flour (2 lbs)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 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.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl of a stand mixer, whisk flour and a teaspoon of salt.
- Add oil, warm water, and yeast mixture into the bowl with flour and salt. Knead with a dough hook attachment until dough is mostly smooth (alternatively, knead with your hand). Only add more flour, one cup at a time, if you cannot easily handle the dough. The dough will be somewhat stiff.
- Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and dish towel and put it in a warm place to rise for one hour or until doubled in volume.
- Punch down dough and knead with your hand for one minute. Transfer the dough to a clean surface and cut into 16 equally large pieces. Form balls by pulling the dough under. Place on a well-greased surface. Let the dough balls rise for 15 minutes.
- While the rolls 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. Working in batches, carefully plunge dough balls into the water and let them "poach" for about 30 seconds, turning them a few times.
- Place a few sheets of kitchen paper next to your baking tray. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rolls to the paper towels to dry a bit before carefully returning them onto the parchment paper-lined large baking sheet.
- Using a pastry brush, glaze the buns with a beaten egg (optional). With a serrated knife or scissors, score an x across each roll and sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until pretzels are a rich brown. Let rolls cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!
- HOW MUCH FLOUR? Humidity, temperature, altitude, and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast dough. 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.
- Before covering the bowl with the dough with plastic wrap, spray it lightly with cooking spray so that your risen dough doesn't stick to it.
- To speed up the process of dough rising, you can place the bowl near a warm source: a sunny window or a hot dish cooking on your stove. You can also heat your oven to no more than 275 F, turn it off, and place your bowl (make sure it's not plastic!) on the middle rack with the oven door slightly ajar. It works wonders!
- To cut the dough into equally-sized pieces, first cut in half, then in half again. Roll each piece into a log, then cut each log into 4 pieces.
- When placing the rolls into the lye "bath," don't crowd them. Always put so many into the pot that there is still some space in between.
- For more tips, follow the link below.