bretzel rolls

Oh, my lovely bretzels! What happened to you? When we went to bed last night, you were the absolute height of bretzel perfection: round, dark, shiny, speckled with tiny cubes of sea salt and popping out from your plus signs, as if your goodness inside was just too much for you, also, to bear. This morning, you are damp, your exterior has shrunk a little and your salt particles wish to slide off your crust. I know it rained cats, dogs and elephants last night but not in here, not in your zip-lock bag!

I’m not kidding about that storm, though; I could argue with some confidence that the world did actually tip upside down last night. Specks from the bathroom ceiling are on the floor, water dripped through the kitchen skylight as well, and the top of it, as if it were the most normal thing on earth, is crowded with leaves. This is Manhattan, people, there are no trees anywhere near this window.

salty cross buns

All pre-Halloween spookiness aside, let me go back a few steps further. Bretzel rolls came into our life in a par-baked frozen format from Fresh Direct, a really-not-bad-at-all grocery delivery service in New York City. Curious if they would really taste like those street pretzels we both loved as kids (not as adults, you see, because these days, they’re morbidly dry and disappointing), we ordered a bag of six and, oh, they did! I’d top mine with a poached egg and a sprinkling Dijon vinaigrette and eat it for breakfast; Alex would slather his with the spicy brown stuff, and while I could have gone without Fresh Direct deliveries for 99 percent of my grocery needs, these bretzels kept us coming back.

all decked out

That is, until they were discontinued for reasons undisclosed to us, if you can imagine that nerve. I’ve been promising Alex for eons that one day, I would try my hand at them. But, I have to admit confusion when I looked at pretzel after pretzel recipe. Do you know what makes a pretzel a pretzel? That gives it that tell-tale scent, color and almost tinny flavor on the surface? I didn’t, and the recipes I found were no help, just having the water, flour, salt, sugar and yeast found in almost any basic bread. Speckling a roll with salt does not a bretzel make! But now I know what does: it’s the bath of water you boil it in, and not just any water bath, as you would use to make pretzel’s cousins, the bagel, but the baking soda and sugar you add to the water. Not only does it make the water foam furiously (really, use the largest pot you have, to save yourself the crusty stove we have awaiting our attentions this morning), but the moment you drop those rolls in, that unmistakable pretzel smell emanates from your kitchen. It’s fantastic.

The one we split last night was perfection; Alex declared it even better than the original, and I do agree. I just wish I’d read this little gem before I put left them in that bag overnight.

Pretzels are best when eaten the same day, but will keep at room temperature, uncovered, for two days. Do not store in covered container or they will become soggy.


perfect inside

Pretzel Rolls
Adapted from Bon Appetit, January 1994

2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 envelope quick-rising yeast*
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (about) hot water (125°F to 130°F)
8 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg white, beaten to blend (glaze)
Coarse salt

Combine bread flour, one envelope yeast, one teaspoon salt and one teaspoon sugar in food processor and blend. With machine running, gradually pour hot water through feed tube, adding enough water to form smooth elastic dough. Process one minute to knead. Grease medium bowl. Add dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then towel; let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 35 minutes.

Flour baking sheet, or clear area of counter. Punch dough down and knead on lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 8 pieces. Form each dough piece into ball. Place dough balls on prepared surface, flattening each slightly. Using serrated knife, cut X in top center of each dough ball.** Cover with towel and let dough balls rise until almost doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease another baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal.*** Bring 8 cups water to boil in large saucepan. Add baking soda and 2 tablespoons sugar (water will foam up). Add 4 rolls and cook 30 seconds per side. Using slotted spoon, transfer rolls to prepared sheet, arranging X side up. Repeat with remaining rolls.

Brush rolls with egg white glaze. Sprinkle rolls generously with coarse salt. Bake rolls until brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Serve rolls warm or room temperature.

* I used regular old active dry yeast. Worked fine, but the rise time is closer to an hour.
** I slit them right before putting them in the oven, as we did in my bread class, in hopes to keep the mark as sharp as possible. However, they are not as easy to slit after boiling them, which forms a seal. I might try it both ways next time.
*** For some reason, greasing and then cornmeal-ing a baking pan sounded like a potential stuck mess, so I instead lined one with parchment paper and sprinkled that with cornmeal. It worked great, and was a much easier clean up. (We’d baked many breads in my bread class on parchment paper in my bread class, so I knew it should work.)

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130 comments on bretzel rolls

  1. the salt sucked out whatever moisture there was left in the rolls. Salt looks for moisture and with the bag closed, it snatched it from the rolls. Same kinda premise they tell you about salting meat.

    Next time Id only salt the 1’s you plan on eating that night. The next day you can spritz them and put the salt back on.

    Love the granola recipe.

  2. deb

    Jessica – Thanks. They taste really great, too.

    Santadad – It did. We toasted up two in the oven for lunch, and it really perked them up. Yum.

    Peabody – Woohoo! Let us know how it goes if you try it.

    Cupcakes – Thank you! That makes perfect sense. Like a lightbulb going off, though, uh, in my case, of course a kinda dim one. :)

  3. Details, details… This sounds like something I would do, although I doubt my bretzels (which I love the sound of btw) would look as nice with perfect little crosses!

  4. YUM. I want bread so badly. I’ve been on Atkins for rwo weeks preparing for my trip to LA on thursday. I know how unhealthy it is but you know what? It works!

    Okee dokee. Ciao for now

  5. Sweet Potato

    Two irresistible recipes in a row!! Better Half won’t eat mac n cheese, so I may have to make a one woman portion. And mmmmm — must try these! Too bad it’s so late or I would embark on a bretzel adventure tonight. How much regular yeast did you use (in substitue for the envelope of quick rising)?

  6. deb

    Brilynn – Oh, they will. You just make those little slits with the sharpest knife you have right before you put it in the oven. My bread-baking teacher told us to make the marks “with confidence” and “intention,” you know, quickly. Good luck!

    Joc – I’d pretty much die on Atkins being a mostly non-meat or fish eater, but I do need to get on that crazed yoga schedule of yours. Have fun in LA!

    Sweet Potato – I’m sure that mac recipe would halve easily. As for the yeast, I just substituted one for one. Not sure if that was correct, but it worked! It’s a pretty high yeast to flour ratio, I think, so it rises pretty quickly.

  7. LMB815

    Of course Martha had the answer. Haven’t commented since your move – but I love the blog…oh the things I will do when I have my own kitchen again!

  8. Soggy or not, your pretzels look AMAZING. Just like they look in Germany! Yum. Though I feel like they add something like lye to the water bath. Can that be? I’ll go research that. For future reference, a plastic ziploc bag is humidity central for all manners of baked goods (which is nice if you want soft, chewy cookies, but not so nice if you want crusty bread).

  9. deb

    Mk – Okay! Sounds delightful. I haven’t tried them yet, but I know that the lovely Loreley biergarten serves baskets of fresh soft pretzels along with their bucket-sized beer mugs and brats. It’s also, though completely off the subject, where Alex and I went on our second date; I do say he has some excellent taste.

    LM8815 – Welcome! And thank you.

    Luisa – You know, I did read that about lye somewhere… ah, here. Despite the explosion as the baking soda hit the boiling water, this method was far less terrifying. And thanks for the tip – I was about to take down my bread-baking credentials from the wall after such a fop!

    Lisa – Thanks, let us know how it goes if you try it.

  10. Kurt

    Great recipe! I tried with egg whites once, and water and baking soda once and I preferred the look of the egg white batch better. Getting the X right is tough with a knife, next time I’m going to try snipping the X with scissors. I’ll let you know how that works.

  11. lovehate

    I made these last night and they were just about perfect. These rolls were a staple of the years that I lived in Germany as a kid, and I now bump into them about once every two years back in the US. I can’t tell you how cool it is to be able to do this myself!

    I would definitely recommend cutting the X after boiling in baking powder…otherwise you won’t get that cleanly defined X shape in the top and the inside of the X will be brown and crusty like the rest of the roll.

    I’d also like to figure out how to make these with the *really* smooth and shiny brown crust…mine had great taste and texture but looked a little like your fingers after you’ve been in the pool for too long.

  12. Mine got horribly soggy during the long cooking time (30 minutes per side?), and then managed to resist baking all the way through — even after they were burnt black on the outside. This was an awful shame, because the dough turned out so nice (I used 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat and 1/4 cup wheat gluten). Any ideas where I went wrong?

  13. I am in the midst of making these with my kids — and so excited eat them (they’re in the oven; tomato soup is waiting). But I did want to say that “water will foam up” is something of an understatement! I would recommend putting your 8 cups of water in a tall soup stock pan rather than a 3 quart saucepan as I did. That will prevent a tsunami of water drenching the stove, putting out the gas flame, and scaring the heck out of your 4-year-old. I personally thought it was funny. But, you know, overflow of boiling water and small children and all that… probably best to avoid. :)

  14. Roland

    I can’t belive I found this recipe. I grew up in Germany eating them and how I’ve missed them so. My weekend cooking project.
    thanks !

  15. Carmen

    I was fortunate enough to try these in my visit to Germany several years ago and I loved every bite. I used this recipe this morning and they turned out perfectly. The taste and texture is right on the money. I’ve decided that I will make them every Saturday morning. I added one tablespoon of vegetable oil to the batter recipe and following recommened tips. The buns were so pretty that I had to take a picture. Thanks for sharing the recipe. :)

  16. Dottie

    OMG Pretzel ROLLLS from the Glendale Bakery! You can always get them there if u need toooo! Thank you for sharing this recipe I found my way here today from Pioneer Woman……..


  17. Judi

    I love to buy these at Whole Foods but they just hiked the price up (I hope you’re sittin’ down) to .99 EACH! Needless to say, I’m thrilled I can make these at home for a fraction of the price, not mention how delicious they will be fresh from the oven :) THANKS for the post!

  18. karrie

    i believe your rolls are back at fresh direct! they make me want to order $25.51 of unneccessary groceries so I can taste them!

  19. Amy

    I just got a stand mixer from my boyfriend for my birthday (he thinks I’m weird for wanting one) so I decided to inaugurate it with Pretzel Rolls! I just adore pretzel rolls and had a craving so I did it two nights ago. They may or may not have been all eaten by now ; ). My dough didn’t quite hold up a perfect ‘roll’ shape but oh my were they delicious. I too will try and cut the x after boiling, since this time my serrated knife just mashed the rolls rather than cut them. Anyways, thanks for the recipe, I can’t wait to make them again.

  20. Jen

    I just made these, and they turned out great. They were really fun to make too. My husband got home as I was putting the baking soda in the water and wondered what in the world I was doing! Thanks!

  21. liz

    We just made these and they were oddly soggy in some places and not as round and pretty as yours. They did rise both times but I’m wondering if I killed the rise somehow while handling them and putting them in the water. And I also recut my crosses after the second rise which made them more defined but maybe also allowed too much inside surface area to hit the water (and therefore get soggy)? We used a finer kosher salt so you can’t see the nice big-white-LOOK-AT-ME-I’M-A-PRETZEL business going on. I think we have to go for a take two. (Btw- I’m obsessed with your site! Beatiful pictures and lovely recipes and you have a great writing voice :) My aunt and I had a sweet little bonding moment when we found out we both read sk.)

  22. I just discovered your site last weekend (and skimmed back though ALL your recipes – all 95 pages, I believe it was!). I made these delicious little guys this morning. Your blog is wonderful!

  23. Joe

    Re: X-cuts
    I’ve found that serrated knives, and most knives in general, leave a jagged cut in most baked products, so I use the old-fashinoned single-edge razor blades. I keep a dispenser in with my baking equipment. Great site :-)

  24. Kathy

    My local grocery store carries pretzel rolls in all kinds of shapes. Small dinner rolls, hamburger rolls, sausage rolls, and small loaves of bread. They have a dark, shiny, smooth crust. Yummy! I’d really like to try making these myself.

  25. I used to get these at a farmer’s market in LA for my German husband. As soon as I saw your recipe, I went straight to the grocery store to buy the ingredients. My husband is going to be so surprised!!!

  26. And a note to all those who don’t have a food processor, DON’T use a blender. The blade will get stuck in the dough, causing the little turny wheel thing to be reduced to dust. Oops…

  27. Sharon

    Have made and loved these many times. Made them today with my 4 year old. we used regular yeast, let them rise an hour, shaped them, they looked great. Got wrapped up in a different project, and the second rise went on too long (about 1.5 hrs). Came back to overproofed dough. This time, bretzels=failure. My fault, though! Will try again tomorrow.

  28. Andy

    Just a slight clarification.

    Salt is not significantly hygroscopic. It doesn’t draw water to itself (it does a little bit, but not much.) The reason salt draws water out of meat and vegetables is related to the osmotic balance between the inside and outside of the cells. Even then, it’s not actually drawing the water out, it’s just creating a state where it’s statistically probable that water will be on the outside of the cell wall. This creates an effective force on the water when you take a very large number of molecules into account. But flour does not have cells.

    Just don’t put fresh bread in a sealed plastic bag. Bretzel or no. You’ll be fine. Notice even grocery stores put their bread in paper or perforated plastic. I usually leave home-made bread out uncovered the first night.

  29. Moriah

    I was wondering if anyone knows a good substitution for cornmeal? My dad loves pretzel rolls and his bday’s coming up but he’s allergic to corn…

  30. Eastland

    The German bakery in my 3-hours-away hometown makes these and I have been craving them every since I moved away. THANK YOU!!! I am so excited to try these!

  31. m

    okay, I realize that the orig post is something like 3+ yrs old, but looking at bread recipes is how I get my carb fix. Truly.

    rule of storing yummy, superb homemade bread: never in plastic. The increased humidity levels do scary things (less obvious for bread products w/ a soft crust). Store in a paper bag, and refresh in the oven with a spritz of water if necessary. For anything that needs to be kept more than 1-2 days, you can freeze the loaf either before or after baking.

  32. Sarah Docherty

    I made this tonight as buns for turkey burgers (with spinach and feta). I doubled the batch, made it without bread flour (just normal all-purpose), and made 12 big ones, total. It was FANTASTIC. Such great flavor. I also just made it in my kitchen-aid with a dough mixer attachment, because I don’t have a food processor, and it turned out fine. I was, perhaps, a little TOO liberal with the salt, but I still liked it fine! :)

    It was super easy to make though. Thanks!! :)

  33. Suzanne Suter

    I made the bretzel rolls twice from this recipe. While they are good, they are nothing like the pretzel bread in Bavaria. That was what I was looking for. Even when I increased the amount of baking soda to the boiling water, that didnt change it enough either. I continue on my search……………..

  34. Megan Ward

    I’ve made these twice now. 1st time for just my husband and myself. 2nd time for my kids for dinner as sandwiches.

    My son said “these are the best things … ever … best things that I have ever made”….

    Now I’m looking for a way to make them one day, and cook them before dinner so that they will be warm and fresh. Has anyone tried refrigerating after they have been poached?

  35. Andy

    lol. Previous statement retracted. I just made these again and a helpful friend put them in a plastic bag over night. The salt definitely condensed a lot of water. Poor bretzels. . .

  36. kathy

    Great recipe and many useful comments over the years! A suitable substitute for cornmeal is Farina (plain cream of wheat).

  37. These look amazing. I want to make these for picnic sandwiches. And I had the same trouble with the wrinkly-ness and salt stuff on my focaccia bread I made awhile ago. I wonder if they would be ok wrapped in paper instead of plastic?

  38. Kris

    Is there a Trader Joe’s near you? They carry Pretzel Rolls, as do Wegmanns and any number of other grocers. Whether you buy or bake them, they are awesome for many things…but my favorite is to use as bun for a thick hamburger topped with a fried-green-tomato slice and sauce made with mayo and coarse-ground mustard. YUM

  39. Chloe

    These were fantastic. I couldn’t stop eating my first batch, hot out of the oven with butter on them. I stupidly forgot to add salt to the second batch of dough, but fortunately, as long as one bit into a spot that was covered with coarse salt, one could still be fooled into thinking that the rolls were salty enough. My processor whipped up the dough in under a minute. I’d make these over and over.

  40. Jen

    So i’m not the only one who was disappointed about the Bretzel rolls being discontinued? i used to get them all the time, then in 2005 we left the city for Westchester. Fast forward to this spring and Fresh Direct started delivering to my town (finally) and while i love not having to shop for groceries, i was so sad that there were no more bretzel rolls! Kris, good tip about Trader Joe’s, i will have to check that out. Sadly there is no Wegman’s nearby…

    I have made my own soft pretzels before, it’s a fun project for my pre-schooler. uses up an afternoon nicely!

  41. Kimb1064

    Howdy from Texas…I have been making homemade pretzels for years..and yes I did know that they were boiled first,although most recipies just call for baking..yuck..that just makes salty
    If you place a wooden skewer (or a wooden spoon) across your pot during the boiling it will prevent (or at least cut WAY down ) on the boil over problem.
    For a really nice change of pace with these ya’ll should try mixing in some cooked crumbled breakfast sasuage and or shreded cheese (be sure and toss either/both with a little flour before mixing into your dough).
    We also make our own version of pigs-in-a-blanket.
    Instead of a pretzel or ball shape try encasing little smokeys in the dough and then proceed normally.(cook and drain the little smokies first and go a little lighter on the salt on top.) These are sooo good dipped cheese !!

  42. Rachael

    So, I’m making these for the second time as we speak. They are really good! We used to buy something similar to these at a German bakery in town all the time, they’re called Salami Brots. They’re these types of rolls with a slice or two of salami and a slice of swiss cheese broiled on top. Super good!

  43. Jessica

    Stumbled upon your blog recently and have made several recipes you’ve featured. This recipe was super easy to make and very delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  44. kathy in st. louis

    Finally reporting back on my experience with this recipe. I made them two weeks ago, adhering entirely to the ingredient list as written (for once, though I did knead the dough until I got a windowpane). Split the dough into five portions, which made buns just the right size for a five- or six-ounce burger (I made venison burgers with these). Set the timer and boiled as directed. Baked ’em until they were nearly burnished, until they looked like something I’d buy from a smart, sharp bakery. And yet — and yet — the pretzel flavor was just out of my reach, though the crumb was firm, smooth, and sure. That aroma was almost absent, and the interesting thing was that the pretzel scent (when the dough hit the boiling water) that you mentioned was noticeable only if I hung my head over the pot. I wonder what in the world my ingredients, method, or environment did — or didn’t do — that added up to my result.

    I was a little bummed, but trust me, we ate them with satisfaction, curiosity, and thoughtful discussion. (I split and toasted one later, then buttered and freezer-jammed it. With eggs and bacon, a very good breakfast.) Homemade bread is always worth the effort. Thanks, Deb.

  45. I had wanted to make these for the longest time and finally got around to it the other day. They were great. This may sound stupid but they actually tasted like pretzels, it was awesome. I used quick rising yeast and kept the dough in warm by my stove and oven. I didn’t have course salt but gave a big dose of kosher and it worked. They are great warmed with butter and honey.

  46. lotte

    Re. The authentic pretzel taste:I finally plucked up my courage to make this the alternative (original?) way, with ‘lauge’, i.e. lye, bought as caustic soda (for unblocking drains). I was afraid to poison self and others, but was assured by Rose Levy Beranbaum and Greg Patent that it would be safe. And they are great! Completely authentic look and taste. Bit of a palaver with the gloves, covering all surfaces in newspaper, and not breathing the noxious fumes, though. Thanks for being so appetizing, I never would have got there otherwise.

  47. Tara

    OH MY WORD! These are AMAZING! Made a batch tonight, and they turned out perfect. I’ve made homemade soft pretzel before, but these bretzels blew them away. I’m going to make a double batch tomorrow to take to a Memorial Day picnic. Thank you so much for this incredible recipe.

  48. Rachel

    I have never actually used the dough blade but didn’t know if the regular one would mess it up. Thank you for your response!

  49. Miranda

    Hey Deb, I just went to a cooking seminar on how to make pretzel rolls on my vacation at Disney World (there’s a food and wine festival on at the moment there). The Disney chef teaching the seminar said that if you make pretzel rolls but just leave off the salt, once they are cooked brush them with melted butter and then throw them in a ziplock bag of sugar and cinnamon, you get cinnamon pretzel rolls.

    He also suggested brushing the (again, unsalted) pretzel rolls when they come out of the oven with garlic butter or any other thing that takes your fancy. And finally, he also said that you can use the baking soda bath method on any dough you like – it will give the nice brown glazed look to any shape or kind of dough. So fruited doughs, or herbed doughs, wholemeal or whatever! I think I am going to have to try your recipe with the cinnamon sugar idea added to the end now :-)

  50. BonBow

    Have you tried them as a sausage bun? I had a German sausage with chipotle tobasco, sauerkraut, and an avocado salsa on a Bretzel roll at a little deli. Although everything was great, I thought the bretzel roll was the highlight, especially since I had never heard of one before. I am thrilled (!) to find that recipe here today. Btw, my husband thinks I’m magic since I made your chocolate peanut butter cake. :)

  51. I was wondering how you measure your flour, or if you know a weight for a cup of flour as you measure it? I’ve gotten addicted to working with weights instead of volume, and I know recipes depend on how the writer measures.

    1. deb

      I fluff, spoon then sweep. However, this is an older recipe, but in the last couple years, I too have become converted to the scale. I estimate 125 grams per cup of all-purpose flour (120 for whole wheat). My estimate is on the scant side of flour weights, so when using a recipe adapted from a magazine, such as this, you might find you need a touch more. Of course, it’s always easier to add more than to take flour away!

  52. Kim

    All the food you prepare and have shown here on your website…”IS JUST SIMPLY GREAT”…. YOU HAVE TALENT..GIRL!!,,, YOU HAVE TALENT” You are totally awesome. My “HAT” is off to you for all your FAB recipes.
    Many Respects, Kim

  53. RMG

    I’m pregnant & have been craving a big soft pretzel for a while. Pregnancy cravings are weirdly strong and nothing else will satisfy until you get what you want. I’ve bookmarked different recipes but wanted to do something simple since any energy I have left is chasing my two year old. These bretzels are my new favorite snack! So easy to make, they don’t take all day and satisfied the salty, yeasty, chew I wanted. I used all purpose flour and they turned out great, not too tough (problems I’ve had in the past when substituting AP flour for bread flour). I also decided to score half the buns before the soda bath and half after. While the cross scores stayed nice and white on the buns that were scored after the bath, it was easier to do it before so that’s what I’ll do for all the buns next time. Thanks for a great recipe!

  54. Andrea

    Having grown up half in Germany, I appreciate a great pretzel! These look fantastic, can’t wait to try making them. One Q, do you oil your bowl with olive oil? Or a more taste free oil? Thanks!

  55. Cristina

    Sandy has me trapped at home and this is one of the few recipes I can make with the ingredients currently in my pantry. Except, of course, I don’t have bread flour. Also, I seem to have run low on AP flour – but I have an adequate amount of cake flour. Do you think it’s worth giving the recipe a shot? And can I do anything to the cake flour to make sure it turns out ok? Thanks!!

  56. Andrea

    have been wanting to try these for awhile but was worried they would be tedious. whipped ’em up using the dough attachment for my kitchenaid and they were easy and DELICIOUS!!!! thank you! now i feel better about bringing rolls for our Thanksgiving potluck with something homemade :)

  57. Jan

    These pretzel rolls are wonderful frozen. As soon as they are completely cooled freeze them and reheat them frozen. They taste fresh made and do not ever get that moist look. The crusty out side will keep the inside moist and the salt stays in place. I make these at least once a week. Going to give them for gifts this year if anyone has any cool suggestions on how to present them, I would love suggestions. Thank you for the wonderful recipe. Cheers

  58. Dave

    I want to make these for a work potluck, but they only have a microwave to reheat/warm there. do you think these could go in the microwave for 15 secs or so, and warm up? I’d try at home but I don’t have one.

  59. Dave

    thanks deb. i agree with you but its the only option tomorrow. I made them tonight they are awesome! i will try one in the microwave at work to see if its any good. otherwise, they are wonderful at room temp. thanks again, and also we’re hoping someone got us your book off of our list, if not it will be a boxing day purchase, i think.

  60. My 12yo son and I made these this afternoon. They turned out perfectly, just like the picture (he was impressed) and the taste…oh my! (Next time I will have roast beef and mustard on hand to eat with them.) I loved the pretzel taste and the chew of the roll. Thanks for another winner. And I really enjoyed your talk in Portland last month. Happy New Year!

  61. Emma

    These rolls look so cool – I love the idea of pretzels made into rolls. I’m making these for a New Year’s party tonight. Thanks for posting.

  62. Carsten

    :) originally it’s called “Laugenbrötchen” rather than “Bretzels”…in direct translation something like “lye bun” but anyway… they taste delicious!

  63. Christine

    Hi there! We are new addicts to your pretzel roll recipe….if I used sodium hydroxide instead of sodium bicarbonate to get that amazing color/taste, would I still use the same volume listed in your recipe? 1/4 cup??

    1. deb

      Christine — I’m sorry, I’ve never tried to use that at all. Have you seen this in other pretzel recipes? If it works elsewhere, it will probably work here. Good luck!

  64. Kevin

    We make pretzel rolls all the time! The base recipe is very similar, but consider using food grade lye it makes something great even better. It’s easy to use (do not boil) and easy to find on Amazon (we buy Red Devil Lye).

  65. Victoria

    First, I have to say I am totally addicted to all of your recipes! I’ve made these a few times and they are very yummy. However, I have noticed one thing-mine rise well, but when I cut the “x” on top, they don’t puff up as much as your seem to. They just get wider; and when I boil them, they stay that way. Any suggestions?

    1. deb

      Victoria — Sometimes when doughs spread instead of staying pert, they might have a touch too much water in them (or, more than you need).

  66. They look wonderful in the first photo, but you are right, overnight they seem to have gained years!

    I wonder if you could have recovered them a bit by popping them back in the oven for a few minutes?

    Anyway, I’ve never made them, so now I have advanced warning for when I do! *grin*

  67. shimbi

    this is a really terrific recipe i found after being tormented by coworkers with links and information on lunches from hannah’s bretzels (sandwiches on bretzel rolls – of all glorious things) to which my never having set foot in chicago nor having the inclination to (i’d prefer to go overseas or further west or south or canada or beachy…. sorry chicago) has kept me from trying. i won’t mention the wendy’s current attraction…
    YOU CAN place in ziploc bags and toast in a toaster oven which makes it born again virgin out of the oven.

  68. I have been making soft pretzels for many many years from a recipe found in the 1972 printing of the “Sunset Cook Book of Breads”. It calls for dipping the formed, unbaked pretzels in simmering/steaming (NOT boiling) 2 qts of water with 2 Tbls of household lye stirred in. This must not be done in an aluminum pan, however. The lye concentration (1 part lye to 64 parts water) is totally safe and doesn’t require gloves, mask, eye protection, etc. There is no foaming or boil over when using this solution. Each pretzel is dipped for 1 to 2 seconds then drained and placed on a cookie sheet that has been heated in the oven then rubbed with beeswax or paraffin and sprinkled with course salt. I haven’t had any sticking problems with this method, either. I hope this is helpful info for you all. Happy baking!!!! Doreen

  69. Katie Sims

    I am looking for a bun I can use for a slider. My boyfriend loves pretzel buns on slider burgers and i want to make them at home for a lovely treat. Can I put a little burger on these and it still be ok? I apologize if this question has been answered in previous comments. I checked as vigilantly as my ADD would let me. happy new year!

  70. These look awesome, and thanks for the tip about not sealing them in a Baggie. I did the same thing a week ago when I first tried rolls like this. Have you tried freezing the dough? I was just wondering if there was a way to make a batch in advance, and then freeze until ready to use? Thanks!

  71. Tucker

    I would like to make these this weekend, but do not have a food processor big enough to handle this quantity of flour and water. Any suggestions?

    1. deb

      Tucker — You can do it in halves and mix it together in a bowl when you’re done, or it can be mixed by hand, in a bowl, with a big spoon, then kneaded.

  72. Made these last night, so incredibly good, and easy for a college student like me! my 6 year old brother, who doesn’t really like food in general (haha) declared that “we should never have another dinner without them”. Only thing that nags at me is the crust didn’t get as dark as yours in the photo. I added the baking soda before the water started boiling, so maybe that altered the chemical compound in the baking soda.
    BTW, I’m totally addicted to Smitten! :)

  73. katie

    I have made these with great success! Can this recipe be doubled? My bread products turn out well when I follow directions, but I don’t understand the science behind any of it so I have no clue if there is a reason that I could not double!

  74. Julie

    Where did you find such beautiful pretzel salt? I made these a few days ago and they were amazing. I have now caught the urge to pretzel everything as well. I used Morton’s kosher salt, and while tasty, it was not pretty. I’d love if the rolls looked more “pretzel-y”

  75. Or lin

    Hey Deb

    My wife and I made the Bretzel and they were amazing.
    We where wondering what is the purpose of the cornmill?

    Thanks a lot

  76. Kate

    I am hoping to make these for a BBQ this weekend. I need 16-18 ideally. Can I double this recipe without it becoming hard to mix thoroughly? Or should I use your more recent soft pretzel recipe and do 1.5 of that recipe?

  77. Yvonne

    From what I’ve read about making yeasted breads, both salt and hot water over 120 will kill yeast, so I was suspicious trying this one, but I trusted you Deb! You are always so good!

    Unfortunately, after even up to an hour, no rise at all :-( I know my yeast was good and yeasty, but alas, I think either the salt or hot water killed it. How did you make it work? You must be magic! :-)

    1. deb

      Salt does not kill quick-rising or instant yeast (i.e. what is called for here). It should only affect active dry yeast if its in very high concentrations, i.e. nothing close to this bread. The yeast-salt issue, as far as I understand, came from using fresh yeast cakes. If the water is too hot, it can kill the yeast. Old yeast can be sluggish or not work at all. Bread rising times are never an exact science; if yours hasn’t budged at an hour, I’d give it another 30 minutes.

  78. Carol

    I’ve made these twice in one week – so fast, so easy, so good! For those who have doubts about the hot water and salt, I recommend Red Star Platinum instant yeast. I use it for everything and always get excellent results. I can get it in my local grocery store in the baking aisle, but it’s also available on Amazon (where I usually buy it in bulk quantities). Thanks Deb!

  79. Jae

    Last weekend I told my husband that I was going to be making homemade hamburger buns for guests coming over for dinner, and he looked at me like I was insane, and then asked if they were going to be pretzel buns. I told him I wasn’t capable of miracles. Then today, I find this recipe, and got to thinking…maybe I can make miracles happen!

    My only question would be, does this need to be done all in one day? Or could I make and shape the buns, let them rise in the fridge overnight, and then boil and bake the next day? Or would they rise too fast, what with the hot water and instant yeast, even with the cold conditions in the fridge?

    1. deb

      I haven’t tested these with an overnight rise but in most cases, I find recipes can be paused in the fridge. If you’re nervous, you can always drop the amount of yeast a little bit.

  80. Have you ever tried putting them in a paper bag, then wrapping the paper bag in plastic to store overnight? I’ve saved some delicious breads for a few days this way.

  81. Nancy P. Adams

    The ‘Bretzels’ sound terrific. You say not to refrigerate covered or in plastic. Can I freeze the, which is what I do with extra bread?