January 09, 2018

German Pretzel Rolls ~ #BreadBakers

"If you have extraordinary bread and extraordinary butter, it's hard to beat bread and butter." Jacques Pepin

I think by now you know that I have a bit of a love affair with baking bread, although I am very much an apprentice.  Every month when it is time to bake for #BreadBakers I get this nervous, butterfly-like feeling of excitement and hope. So far most of my breads have worked out just fine, even though on multiple occasions I have wondered if I killed my dough. Turns out that bread dough is much tougher than it looks.

This month's theme is Pretzels, so I decided to make German Pretzel rolls. Our local Costco used to sell these all the time, and you had to be quick to grab a bag when they came out of the bakery. For some reason they decided to stop selling them, because that is what you do when you have a hot-selling item. <insert roll eyes> Well the joke is on them because I will be making my own rolls from now on.

Since I was short on time I decided to make the dough the night before and place it in the refrigerator for a slow rise.  It didn't quite rise as much as I would have liked and it was hard as a rock on top and soft on the bottom when I took it out.  Had I killed the dough?  I figured what did I have to loose and kept pressing ahead.  Turns out this is a hard-ass dough and it fought back to life.  I know that many pretzel recipes call for commercial lye, but I had neither a local source nor the inclination at this stage of my bread-making adventures to use it, so I went with the alternative of using baking soda and I was not sorry.  I found that the water and baking soda mixture gave the rolls that dark coloring that they are known for and they tasted great.  Maybe one day I will give the lye a try, but for now I am content.

One thing I will be doing is at least doubling the recipe as these were gone in no time. Making a recipe that only makes 10 small rolls in a family of 6 means someone is going to miss out, and this time it was me.  Of course I got a bite as I shared a roll with one of my daughters, but that was it.  That one bite told me everything I needed to know - these rolls have a crunchy, salty exterior and a warm soft crumb on the inside.  My family ate them plain, but I imagine they would be delicious served straight from the oven with a little Kerrygold Butter on them (no, I am not sponsored by them, I am just a huge fan of their butter, it reminds me of the butter I grew up with).

If you would like to know more about #BreadBakers and see what the other bakers made for the Pull Apart Breads theme please scroll down below the recipe.

German Pretzel Rolls

  • 270ml (1¼ cups) water, lukewarm
  • 45g (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3¾ cups bread flour
  • 1 x ¼-ounce envelope fact-acting yeast
  • 10g (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
  • 15g (1 tablespoon) sugar
  • 40g (3 tablespoons) baking soda (for the alkaline solution)
  • 1.07l (4¼ cups) water (for alkaline solution)
  • coarse sea salt for topping

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the water and butter (the mixture should be luke­warm). 
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar and mix for a few minutes until well combined. 
  3. Add the water mixture to the bowl and mix until well combined ( if dough is too sticky, add more flour.), and continue to knead in bowl for approximately 5 minutes, you have a smooth and elastic ball of dough. 
  4. Place the kneaded dough in a greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or a tea towel, and let rise in a warm place for 60 minutes or until doubled in size.
  5. When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, take it out of the bowl, and knead for about 30 seconds.
  6. Divide the dough into 10 equal (roughly 85g (3-ounce)) portions.
  7. Dust your hands with flour, lay a portion of dough on the palm of one hand, and with the other hand forming a dome over the dough, roll it for about 10 seconds until its top is round and firm (this creates surface tension and prevents the buns from becoming flat). 
  8. Continue with the remaining dough, cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes or until puffy.
  9. While rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 220℃ (425°F) and line 2 baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.
  10. In a large pot, wide enough to fit 4 buns at once, bring 4¼ cups of water and the baking soda to a boil., keeping a watch on the pot as the baking soda-water mixture will foam up.
  11. With a slotted ladle or spoon, slip 4 buns gently into the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds, turn them over, and cook for another 30 seconds, making sure that they don’t stick to the bottom.
  12. Transfer the buns to the lined baking sheets, score a cross on the buns, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.; cook the remaining buns in the water-baking soda solution in the same manner, placing them on a baking tray.
  13. Bake, one sheet at a time, for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. Mahalo to Stacy from Food Lust People Love for hosting this month and Robin from A Shaggy Dough Story for our theme.

And don’t forget to check out all the amazing breads baked by our talented bakers ~


  1. These are gorgeous. I might want to try using them in one of those baked slider recipes with all the gooey cheese.

  2. "hard-ass" dough made me laugh out loud! Your little rolls are perfection!

  3. Look at that color! Totally in LOVE!

  4. These look perfect! And, yes, bread dough is much less scary than people think.

  5. I can't believe how perfect these pretzel rolls are and I would love one with a bowl of cheese soup!

  6. Wow those pretzels look absolutely perfect.


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