The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


DiJonCamacho's picture

I made these the other day and they were gone in minutes. I went to a restaurant called Bar Louie and ordered these and said, "I have to make these". I already love pretzels, so why not?

isand66's picture

Today's the Superbowl and I was asked to make some pretzel rolls to bring to the party we're going to.  I made a batch for Christmas Eve which everyone raved about so I used the same recipe I found on the TFL website.  I also couldn't help but try my own variation using my sourdough starter, pumpernickel flour and cheddar cheese.

I wasn't sure how they would turn out, but I do have to say they didn't dissapoint and rival the original.  Come on....who doesn't like cheese?

These are not hard to make except for the food grade Lye bath they go into.  Many people say you don't need to use Lye and can use baking soda.  I have not tried baking soda yet since I still have plenty of the Lye.  The Lye gives the pretzels a hard dark brown crust which is not easy to obtain with anything else. Feel free to use baking soda instead and increase the amount used versus the Lye.

Caution:  When using the Lye make sure you wear gloves, long sleeves and protective eye gear. Also, never add Lye to hot water or it will bubble over and probably burn you.

Main Dough Ingredients for 10 rolls at about 110 grams each

145 grams AP Sourdough Starter at 65% or adjust flour and water accordingly

437 grams Bread Flour (KAF)

200 grams Dark Rye (also known as Pumpernickel)

5 grams Seas Salt or Table Salt

5 grams Diastatic Malt Powder

384 grams Water (80-90 degrees F.)

Cheddar Cheese cut into cubes (sorry but I forgot to measure the cheese)

Pretzel Salt (for topping only)

For Lye Bath (3.5% Solution

2 Liters of Cold water

70 grams Sodium Hydroxide Crystals


Add the diastatic malt powder to the water and stir.  Add the flours in your mixing bowl and slowly add the water mixture.  Mix for about 1 minute until combined.  Cut your starter in pieces and lay on top of the flour mixture and cover and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour so the flour can absorb the water.

Next add the salt and mix for 4 minutes on low.    Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl and do a couple of stretch and folds.  Cover the bowl and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold in the bowl and let it rest another 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold and let the dough sit out in the covered bowl for another 1.5 hours.  Place the dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake the next day.

When ready to bake take the dough out and leave it covered in your bowl for 2 hours.  Next divide the dough into around 10 pieces that are 110 grams each.  Flatten each piece into a circle and place a piece of cheese in the middle and pinch the dough around the cheese.  Next flip over and roll against your work surface while creating a tight ball.  Place on a baking sheet and cover with either a moist towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  Let it rest for around 60 minutes to about 1/2 proof.

While the rolls are proofing, fill a large stock pot with 2 liters of cold water.  Measure out the Lye and slowly add it to the cold water.  (DO NOT EVER ADD LYE TO HOT WATER).  Cover the pot and bring it to a rolling boil and then shut off the heat.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.  When the rolls are proofed sufficiently, prepare to dip them for about 15 seconds in the lye bath upside down.  Let them drain on a bakers rack over a cookie tray covered with a towel or parchment paper.  After draining for a minute you can transfer them to a cookie/baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  You want to use a stainless steel cooking sheet as aluminum may react with the lye and peel.  Note: do not ever use parchment paper as the rolls will get stuck to the bottom.  I know this from experience and I had to cut off the bottoms of half the rolls I made.

When ready to bake, score each roll with an "X" on the middle and sprinkle with pretzel salt.  Make sure you use pretzel salt if you want authentic rolls.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown and register about 185 F in the middle.  Let them cool on a bakers rack until you can't wait any longer!

I actually couldn't wait long enough to try one which is why the crumb shot below is a little gummy looking.  It tasted good though!


Let's go Jets!  (Did I really say that?  Must be the alcohol.....)

frenchcreek baker's picture


February 22, 2012 - 4:47pm -- frenchcreek baker





MARCH 10-15, 2012

Günter Franz 

Guest Instructor European Master Baker

                              Small Class Size         Hands-On         Wood Fired Oven 


Learn the inside secrets to making European baked goods and specialty German breads. 

tabasco's picture

Lenten Baking: paczki, hot cross buns, king cakes, Vastlakuklid, pretzels??

February 22, 2012 - 6:14am -- tabasco

Hi, TFLers,

Perhaps the Lenten baking enthusiasts among us can help me?

I am writing an article about Lenten baking traditions and I am hoping bakers on Fresh Loaf who bake anything in particular for the season might share your story, what is popular in your local,  perhaps your family tradition, a pic or/and a recipe?  Breads, cookies, pastries, etc., are what I have in mind.

Here in Cincinnati the bakeries advertise their 'paczkis', but I don't really know exactly what they are...they seem very popular though.

Rintinlizzie's picture

Storing soft pretzels

September 21, 2011 - 7:07am -- Rintinlizzie

I make homemade soft pretzels and I am making them for an Oktoberfest at a friend's house this Saturday. I have to make them on Friday night because we are leaving at 10am Saturday to drive to the party. I am wondering how I should store them.... I was thinking in a brown paper bag so that they can breathe but I want them to stay as fresh as possible. Any suggestions would be greatly apppreciated.

Thanks! Guten Tag!

Brot Backer's picture

Lye source in North California (Sonoma County)?

October 28, 2010 - 8:31am -- Brot Backer

First of all, I did a search and couldn't find what I was looking for.

I live in Sonama County (Santa Rosa) and if at all possible I'd like to get my hands on some food grade lye today. I have a last minute request for pretzels and prefer to not make a mess boiling them with baking soda. Anyone have any ideas where I could pick some up around here?


Thanks a ton,


doctormarje's picture


Marje's Sourdough Pretzels (Bavarian style) (20 pretzels)


  • 1-1/2 cups sourdough starter (that's a whole separate recipe)
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup beer
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 1-1/2 cups white flour (King Arthur brand)

In a large glass bowl, stir together well, cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight on the counter.


Put sponge in heavy-duty stand mixer with dough hook attachment. Working with ½ cup at a time, incorporate 2 cups flour into dough. It should be quite firm but flexible; if you slap your hand against the dough, it should not stick to your hand. When you shape this, you shouldn't have to use any extra flour.

Turn into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 3 hours.

To prepare for baking:

Put 2 quarts water into a ceramic bowl; wearing powder-free latex gloves and eye protection, add 2 Tablespoons food grade lye, and let it dissolve. Set aside. Rinse the gloves off with water, dry them on a kitchen towel, and remove them. It doesn't matter if they turn wrong side out; you can reverse them easily by starting to turn them, then blowing into them like a balloon.

Working without gloves, reach into the dough and pull off a piece the size of a jumbo egg. Re-cover the bowl. Roll the dough between the palms of your hands, working wherever it is thickest, until you have a fairly even strand about 18 inches long. Now, working over a cutting board or counter top, lay the strand out flat. Pick up one end in each hand, lift up the strand and flip around, so it twists once. Flop it down on the counter, and bring the ends and twisted section towards you, pulling the twist into the circle of dough. Lay the ends down across the circle at the 4 o'clock and 6 o'clock positions, and press lightly. Lay on a metal cookie sheet that has non-stick spray on it. Repeat with remaining dough (9 to a sheet). Let them rest for 20 or 30 minutes.

Decide how many you'll bake; these do not keep well, and are best fresh. Put whatever you'll save for later into the freezer. Put what you will bake now into the refrigerator and chill for half an hour; this makes them easy to handle without distorting the shape.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and put one rack into the top position. In your sink, arrange a draining rack to hold the dipped pretzels for a couple of minutes. Take the pretzels out of the refrigerator and remove them to a plate. Put your gloves and glasses on, pick up a pretzel and gently lay it in the lye bath. When you have 3 or 4 in the lye, start timing for 90 seconds, turning them over midway through. Pick them up one at a time and lay them on the draining rack. Put the next batch in the lye, then move the drained pretzels to the cookie sheet. When the sheet is full, salt them liberally with Kosher salt. Bake for 14 minutes, eat while they're warm. Oh, wow, are these incredible. Treat the frozen pretzels the same way; you don't need to thaw them.

Don't use coated bakeware; it will peel; don't use cast iron, it will peel; don't use glass, the pretzels don't brown evenly, and the crust gets too thick. When you're done with the lye mixture, run cold water and pour it into the sink. After all, it IS drain cleaner!



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