Pretzel Rolls

These pretzel rolls taste are just like the real German pretzel deal—shiny, salty, perfectly burnished, and densely bread-y. They’re reminiscent of a soft pretzel but in a more versatile shape so you can smother with butter, stuff with your favorite sandwich fixings, or inhale straight off the baking sheet.

Three pretzel rolls on a sheet of parchment sprinkled with coarse salt.

These pretzel rolls are easy to make at home and are just like the real German deal—shiny, salty, perfectly burnished, densely bread-y, and reminiscent of a soft pretzel but in a more versatile shape. Smother with butter, stuff with your favorite sandwich fixings, or inhale straight off the baking sheet.–Angie Zoobkoff

What do I do with pretzel rolls?

Well, let’s turn the question around and let you consider what do you want to do with pretzel rolls? Whatever your answer, it will probably work. You can simply devour them, slathered with butter or mustard or straight up. Although you could also turn them into sandwiches, whether ham, tuna salad, leftover meatloaf, BLT. Seriously, you really can’t go wrong.

Pretzel Rolls

  • Quick Glance
  • (21)
  • 30 M
  • 2 H, 30 M
  • Makes 10
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Ingredients


Directions

Make the pretzel rolls dough

In the bowl of your stand mixer fit with the dough hook, combine the flour, yeast, and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the 1 1/4 cups warm water and butter. The mixture should be lukewarm.

Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture and mix until well combined, about 2 minutes. The dough shouldn’t be sticky.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and continue kneading and punching it down until you have a smooth and elastic ball of dough, 2 to 3 minutes.

Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place (preferably in a 100°F (35°C) warm oven) until double in size, about 60 minutes.

Shape the pretzel rolls

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, take it out of the bowl, and knead it for about 30 seconds.

Divide the dough into 10 equal portions of roughly 3 ounces (85 grams) each.

Dust your hands with flour, place a portion of dough on the palm of one hand, and with the other hand forming a dome over the dough, roll the dough between your palms until the top is round and firm and you can feel the tension increasing against your hand, about 10 seconds. This creates surface tension and prevents the rolls from deflating and becoming flat. Place the roll on the parchment paper and repeat with the remaining dough.

Cover the rolls with a towel and let rise in a warm place until puffy, about 20 minutes.

Boil the pretzel rolls

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large pot wide enough to fit 2 rolls at once, bring the 4 1/4 cups cold water and the baking soda to a boil. Carefully watch the heat as the baking soda-water mixture will foam up and you don’t want it to spill over.

With a slotted ladle or spoon, gently slip 2 rolls into the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds. Flip them and cook for another 30 seconds, being careful to not let them stick to the bottom of the pot. Transfer the rolls to a wire rack to dry and repeat with the remaining rolls.

Once dry, transfer them to the parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake the pretzel rolls

Use the tip of a sharp knife to score a cross on top of each roll and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake the pretzel rolls, 1 sheet at a time, until golden brown, about 16 minutes.

Transfer the rolls to a wire rack to cool slightly. Experience them while still warm, plain or with butter, although they’re also quite nice at room temperature. OrIginally published October 19, 2016.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This my friends, is not your ordinary pretzel rolls recipe. In fact, I found this recipe to be EXTRAordinary. The pretzel roll dough is simple to put together and takes only 2 hours to mix the dough, let it rise, shape it, boil it, and, finally bake it to a shiny, rusty red perfection!

I've never used spelt dough but I assure you I’ll never choose another flour for pretzels of any design, be it rolls, big fat soft pretzels or, as I also did with this dough, a nice big loaf for sandwiches. I found the white spelt at Whole Foods. It’s a bit pricey at nearly 3 dollars a pound, but after using it, I find the cost worthwhile.

The recipe as written gave me 8 good size hamburger rolls or 10 nice dinner rolls or a perfect size sandwich loaf. (The loaf I made didn't have the usual oven spring associated with wheat dough but, it was a great sandwich loaf, that I DEMOLISHED in short order!)

I love that whatever I tried to make with this dough, all things pretzel worked to perfection without altering a thing other than the shape. If you use the dough hook, very little kneading will be necessary. This simple delicious recipe has already been given quite a workout in my home and will most certainly be added to the rotation for the rest of our natural lives!

These pretzel roll gems were salty, chewy, and doughy in every way you'd expect a soft pretzel to be. They were easy to make, the dough was extremely easy to work with, and the timing in the recipe was spot on. Easy enough for a weeknight and a winner with the whole family.

These pretzel rolls are winners—soft on the inside, slightly chewy on the outside, yeasty, and salty. They taste exactly like soft pretzels, just in bun form.

My rolls were done after 16 minutes, as stated, but they weren’t quite as brown as the picture. Mine were also a little more mottled than those in the picture. I might try making larger rolls to have for sandwiches—these rolls were closer to slider size. Not sure how they would bake if they were bigger. Sounds like I need to do some experimenting.

We ate ours plain and with butter and we liked them both ways. I think they would be fabulous as a sandwich bun—soft but sturdy enough to stand up to just about any filling. My husband thought a BLT on a bun would be a little bit of heaven. We ate most of the batch, so any sandwiches will have to wait until I have time to make more. Maybe tomorrow.

Very tasty pretzel rolls that are good warm with butter or at room temperature with sandwiches—they will not disappoint! You get the familiar “pretzel whiff and chewiness” when you bite into one, and the interior texture has a perfect balance of softness and firmness.

This recipe makes easy-to-handle dough, making it friendly to novice bread bakers. I used unbleached all-purpose flour (Gold Medal brand). Once you get going, the dough becomes smooth and bouncy in no time. When you turn over the rolls in the baking soda water, using a slotted ladle and a wooden spoon makes gentle handling easier.

I typically hand-knead bread dough for about 10 minutes, but this one “felt good” (held its tight round shape, was very smooth, and bounced right back after poking with a finger) after 5 minutes. I put the shaped dough back in the oven the second rise (what I usually do). It increased only slightly in volume after 20 minutes. My pretzel rolls didn’t look as uniformly brown as shown in the photo but they looked as expected—no mistake that they were pretzel rolls!

These pretzel rolls came together quickly, the measurements in the recipe were accurate, and the dough was very pliable. The dough wasn’t sticky. Rise times indicated in the recipe were accurate. My oven time was 30 minutes to produce a golden crust.

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Comments

  1. I owe this web site a nice thank you, as it was here that I learned about using spelt for making pretzels. I swapped 1/3 of the flour for spelt and use all beer with Andrea Sloenecker’s classic recipe, and the result is fantastic. It works for pretzel buns too. The white flour is the bagel flour from King Arthur, which is super high gluten.

    That being said, I will always opt for using a lye dip. It is not dangerous if you are just slightly careful. After huge amounts of experimentation, I have found that a 20-25 second dip in a 1/2 molar lye solution (20gm lye powder in 1 liter room temperature water) gives the best pretzel flavor, neither too weak nor too strong. You don’t boil or even heat the water. I can work dough in this relatively mild lye dip with my bare hands, and just wash them every couple minutes. Sure, you could wear rubber gloves, which is probably smarter. This is only 2/3 or 1/2 as strong as other lye solution recipes, but it does the job and is not going to give you mahogany shoe leather pretzels if the dough stays in a few seconds too long. Let them drip off on a cooling rack for a few seconds, salt them up, then onto quality parchment paper and into the oven on a well heated baking stone. There is no comparison in flavor between the lye dip, the washing soda, and the baking soda method. Lye is better by miles, and washing soda is better than baking soda. Boiling does nothing that adding some steam to the oven can’t do. Dipping is much superior to spraying your alkaline solution on the dough.

  2. Need to know whether your flour measurements are scoop and level or spoon into cup. Makes a big difference when working in weight measurements. Thx

    1. I’m a bit confused, Sandy. If you’re working with weight, you only need to weigh the ingredients. If you’re working in volume, yes it can make a difference. We recommend weighing your ingredients whenever possible, but if that’s not an option, this is how we recommend you measure flour.

      1. I prefer to weigh ingredients and since this recipe does not include the flour weight I thought I would ask your measuring technique. It would be simpler of course to simply provide the weight in grams in this recipe. BTW I made them today guessing the flour at 480 g. And they were a big success.

        1. The mass of one brand of flour can be a little different from another brand or type, but generally 120gm per cup is pretty standard. Every kind of flour sold in the USA has the calorie thing on it, which gives the mass of a certain volume. Usually it’s 30gm for 1/4 cup.

        2. I’m so pleased to hear that they were a success for you, Sandy! For future reference, our recipes do include metric weights. You just need to click on the tab at the top of the ingredients that says metric and the gram weights will be displayed.

  3. Ok, thinking of giving this a shot, however, I’m very confused about a step and am having a hard time envisioning the step when rolling the balls with palms. I know, sorry, I guess I’m just the only dolt newbie however not embarrassed, just wondering if you could describe it, for me, in a different way…lol
    Thanks

    1. No need to apologize, Chris. Some of these steps are hard to visualize, especially if you’ve never made them before. You’re essentially cupping the piece of dough in your floured hands and using your hands to roll it into a ball. The idea is to use a circular rolling motion instead of a pressing motion. If if makes more sense to you, you can put the dough on a floured surface and just use one hand to roll each piece into a ball. You will probably be surprised at how quickly you feel the tension increasing and the dough forming a firm ball.

  4. What do you think about using an egg wash before baking? Would you do it before cutting the vents or after?

    1. Bobby, I don’t think an egg wash is necessary here. The baking soda ensures a shiny golden crust.

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