This super simple pretzel bun recipe has become an absolute staple in our family. As Germans who moved overseas, we immediately started missing those soft, fluffy Laugenbrötchen. I'm telling you, once you try them, you'll totally understand why we love them so much and will never bite again in a store bought pretzel roll!
The recipe is super easy, and I included a couple of secret tips from a German baker master that will help you whip these pretzel buns up like a pro.
I admit the dough takes a while to rise, but the active working time is less than 15 minutes. The aroma of freshly baked pretzel buns wafting through the house is so rewarding that you want to bake these soft buns every day!
And let me tell you, when you use these buns to make sandwiches, it's a total game changer. You will take your sandwich game from good to outstanding, all thanks to these delightful pretzel buns!
Are you a fan of fresh, homemade bread? I know I am! If that's the case, let me tell you about some mouthwatering recipes you simply must try. Picture yourself sinking your teeth into a slice of homemade potato bread with its rustic charm, or savoring the fluffy goodness of these sour cream rolls that melt in your mouth.
But wait, there's more! Imagine indulging in no-knead cheese rolls, so scrumptious and hassle-free that you'll be whipping them up on the regular. And let's not forget the traditional German rye bread.
What are pretzel rolls called in German?
Pretzel rolls are called Laugenbrötchen in Germany. Das Laugenbrötchen (n/singular) and die Laugenbrötchen (f/plural).
How to pronounce "Laugenbrötchen" in German?
Listen to this audio file to hear how to say "Laugenbrötchen".
Ingredients & Substitutions
It's so exciting how using just a few simple ingredients can easily create the tastiest and yummiest dishes! These German pretzel rolls are easy to make and so much better than the store bought versions.
Yeast - Most bakers in Germany and Austria use fresh yeast. I have to use dry yeast because I can't get fresh yeast where I live.
Sugar - I use sugar to activate the yeast, but you can omit the sugar completely and just add a tablespoon of the flour to activate the yeast.
Butter - is nowadays used in German baking to make pretzel rolls, but you can substitute for lard or margarine.
Salt - is important for the taste.
Baking Soda - the baking soda bath replaces the traditional lye bath, which gives the pretzel buns their signature taste and color.
See recipe card for quantities.
There are various toppings you can add to your soft pretzel rolls to enhance their flavor and appearance. Here are a few traditional and inventive topping ideas:
- Coarse sea salt or pretzel salt: The most traditional topping for pretzel rolls, adding a pleasant crunch and a burst of flavor.
- Sesame seeds: Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the rolls for added texture and a slightly nutty taste.
- Poppy seeds: These seeds provide a visually appealing speckled look and a mild, nutty flavor.
- Everything bagel seasoning: A blend of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried garlic, dried onion, and sea salt, this topping adds a savory depth to the pretzel rolls.
- Grated cheese: Sprinkle grated cheese (such as cheddar, Gruyère, or Swiss) on top of the rolls before baking, which will melt and create a deliciously gooey and flavorful crust.
- Garlic and herb: Brush the rolls with a mixture of melted butter, minced garlic, and chopped herbs (such as parsley, chives, or rosemary) before baking.
- Cinnamon sugar: For a sweet twist, coat the baked pretzel rolls in melted butter and then roll them in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
- Jalapeño and cheddar: Top the rolls with sliced jalapeños and grated cheddar cheese for a spicy, cheesy variation.
- Parmesan and black pepper: Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese and freshly cracked black pepper over the rolls for a savory flavor.
- Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds: Add these seeds on top of the rolls for extra texture and a nutty flavor.
When adding seeds, be sure to press them gently into the dough after the baking soda bath and before baking the pretzel rolls to ensure they stick during the baking process.
Making pretzel buns might seem daunting if you're using the classic lye method due to some risks involved. However, there's a fantastic alternative that tastes nearly as delicious and authentic as the "real" thing!
In this recipe, I'll guide you through a simple and safe version that uses a baking soda bath instead of a lye bath.
Step 1: Grab a large bowl or your stand mixer bowl and mix together ⅓ cup of lukewarm water, sugar, and yeast.
Cover it up and let it sit for about 10 minutes until it gets all foamy and bubbly.
Step 2: Melt the butter and mix it into the remaining warm water, then add it to the yeast mixture. Give it a good stir!
Mix salt with flour, and then gradually add it to the bowl, 1 cup at a time, blending well.
Step 3: Knead the dough until it's smooth. If it's too sticky, add a little more flour; if it's too dry, add a bit of water. Check the recipe video for guidance.
Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let the dough rise for an hour.
Step 4: Shape each piece into a smooth roll and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Cover the rolls with a dish towel, let them rest for 30 minutes, and preheat your oven to 425°F.
Step 5: Fill a medium-sized pot ⅔ with water and bring it to a boil. Then, carefully add the baking soda to the water.
Time for a water bath! Gently place 3-4 rolls into the pot using a slotted spoon. After 10 seconds, flip them over for another 10 seconds.
Step 6: Use the slotted spoon to remove the rolls, allowing the water to drain, and place them back on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining rolls.
Slash a cross on each roll with a sharp knife. Add a sprinkle of coarse salt for that perfect pretzel touch.
Pop the rolls in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they're beautifully browned on top.
Enjoy your homemade pretzel rolls and get ready to impress your friends and family with your baking skills!
To make pretzel rolls, you'll need the following kitchen utensils:
- Large mixing bowl or stand mixer with dough hook attachment for kneading the dough more easily, although you can also knead it by hand.
- Measuring cups and spoons or kitchen scale
- Plastic wrap, lid or clean kitchen towel to cover the dough while it rises.
- Bench scraper or knife for dividing the dough into equal portions.
- Sharp knife or lame to slash the bread rolls.
- Large pot or wide saucepan for preparing the baking soda bath.
- Slotted spoon or spider strainer for transferring the pretzel buns in and out of the baking soda bath.
- Baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat
- Oven mitts for safety when handling hot baking sheets.
- Cooling rack for allowing the pretzel buns to cool after baking.
How to Store Pretzel Rolls?
Homemade pretzel buns dry out quickly. But if you've got some leftover pretzel rolls, don't worry; I have some hacks for you! You can easily freshen them up and enjoy them with a simple trick.
- If you've got a microwave, it's super easy. Just pop the pretzel roll in there and microwave it for 15 seconds on high.
- If you'd rather use an oven, that works too! Just sprinkle them with a bit water and bake them at 320°F (160°C) for about 5-7 minutes.
Just remember to eat the refreshed pretzels right away because they can quickly turn dry and hard if left out. If that does happen, though, you can always repurpose them into breadcrumbs or pretzel dumplings!
Here's an important tip if your pretzel is sprinkled with salt: It's best to always store it separately from bread. This is because salt draws moisture from other baked goods, transforming them into a cardboard-like texture.
Can I Freeze Pretzel Rolls?
Leftover pretzel rolls can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Freezer bags are best suited for this purpose. Make sure to seal them airtight. This will protect the pretzels optimally from freezer burn.
When you have a craving for pretzels at a later time, you can simply reheat them in the oven for a short time and enjoy them fresh.
- To reheat frozen pretzel buns, remove the wrapping and let them thaw at room temperature for about an hour. Then, preheat your oven to 320°F (160°C) and heat the buns for 5-10 minutes or until they're warmed through and the crust is slightly crispy.
- For a quicker method, you can also use a microwave on a low setting for a short time, but the texture might not be as good as with oven reheating.
By following these storage and reheating tips, you'll be able to enjoy your pretzel buns as if they were freshly baked.
How to Use Pretzel Rolls?
Get ready to level up your culinary game with these delicious and versatile pretzel rolls! These mouth-watering gems are perfect for all your favorite sandwiches, from a classic liver cheese roll to a veggie-packed creation.
Here are a few more tasty ways to utilize pretzel buns:
- Looking for a crowd-pleasing twist on burgers? Swap out those boring burger buns for pretzel rolls and watch your friends and family drool over the irresistible combination. And don't stop there! Transform those rolls into adorable sliders, stuffed with pulled pork, chicken, or whatever your heart desires – they'll be the hit of your next gathering.
- Why not enjoy your breakfast or lunch using pretzel rolls? Load them up with fluffy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, or gooey cheese for a lip-smacking breakfast treat. And if you're a fan of bratwurst or hot dogs, you'll love how the hearty texture of pretzel rolls pairs perfectly with those juicy sausages.
- Don't forget about using pretzel rolls as a fun and delicious sidekick to your favorite soups, salads or chilis! Their irresistible flavor and texture make them the ultimate dipping bread.
- Wanna Dip? And if you're looking for a snack that'll have everyone reaching for more, slice up some pretzel rolls, toast them, and serve with a variety of dips – you can't go wrong!
So go ahead and embrace the wonderful world of pretzel rolls, and let the good times roll (pun intended)! They're a delightful addition to any informal gathering or casual meal, and they'll surely leave everyone craving more. Enjoy!
German Pretzel Buns - Homemade Soft Pretzel Rolls
- 1 ⅔ cup cup warm water
- 1 tbsp. dry yeast
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 5 tbsp. butter
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt Kosher
- coarse salt to sprinkle on the rolls
- 10 cups water
- ½ cup baking soda
- Add ⅓ cup of lukewarm water, sugar, and yeast in a stand mixer bowl. Mix to combine, cover the bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes until foamy.
- Melt the butter and combine with the remaining water, add it to the yeast mixture, and mix well.
- Blend the salt with the flour and it to the bowl, while kneading on low speed 1 cup at a time.
- Knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth dough forms. Add a little more flour in case the dough is too soft and tacky; add a little more water if the dough seems too dense and dry. Different flour brands react differently, and cup measurements are not always accurate either, so you need to adjust by look and feel. See the recipe video for more guidance.
- Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and allow to rise in a warm place for about 60-90 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into smooth rolls and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Cover the rolls with a dish towel and let the rolls rest for about 30 minutes. Then uncover the rolls an place them for 30 minutes into the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Fill a medium-sized pot ⅔ with water and bring to a boil. Then slowly add the baking soda to the water.
- Place 2-4 buns, top side down, at a time into the water bath using a slotted spoon. Turn after 20 seconds and leave on the other side for another 15 seconds.
- Remove the bun from the water with a slotted spoon and allow the water to drain well. Then place it back on the baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the rolls.
- Use a sharp knife or a lame to slash a cross shape on top of the rolls. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake the rolls in a 425°F preheated oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned.