The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Can you "Pretzel" it?

CJRoman's picture

Can you "Pretzel" it?

I'm on a mission to perfect Pretzel Rolls and Buns...and see just what else on earth I can "Pretzel."

I know pretzel dough requires a lot of flour in order to be chewy...but the yield for rolls and buns is very disappointing.

I thought I'd try an Italina Bread recipe, something big and high-rise and just "pretzel" the dough before baking (dunk in baking soda bath). I reasoned that this type of bread expands more and so perhaps I will end up with a bigger more sandwhich-like result, that still tastes like a pretzel.

But now that I'm studying the ingredients. There really isn't much difference. For the bread, just more flour, oil instead of butter. The rise instructions are abou the same as well.

Question: am I destine to just create the same thing no matter which type of dough I use? Does the baking soda bath restrict the rise? How can I make bigger, softer pretzels for buns?

Also...I use instant yeast. I understand that DOESN'T need to be mixed with water in advance. Some recipes say throw it right in. Some recipes say mix it with *just* water first. Others say mix with water and sugar (and it REALLY starts to bubble!), so why the differences? In the end, is it all the same?

mrfrost's picture

Pretzel rolls have been done before. There are recipes to be found here and elsewhere. Happened to be one of the first recipes I tried from this site a while back. But, please don't let that discourage you from developing your own recipe.

I certainly did not feel the soda bath hindered the rise in any way. I just realized my very first post here was about my pretzel rolls. Didn't really know how to post photos then, so I guess I'll do it now.

Most of the time when you read about mixing yeast with warm water, sugar, etc., that is for the sake of those using active dry yeast. Really no good reason for doing that with instant yeast. Of course, if done, it will make the instant yeast work even faster, but probably too fast.

Good luck.

My pretzel hot dog rolls:

ps: Link to actual recipe, if you misssed in in the first post:

I think if you do a search here, you may find even more "pretzel roll" recipes. I know I've seen other images of some here.

CJRoman's picture

Jealous! Yours look much more like rolls than mine...I'm scratching my head!

I noticed you use more salt, sugar...and less water. I use beer (because its insanely delicious) but perhaps I'll try your recipe and see what happens.

The 2T of milk...what does that enhance or what function does it provide?




Oh and about the yeast. I'm just confused why recipes *calling* for instant yeast *still* say to proof it in water. Is the creator in error?

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost *calling* for instant yeast *still* say to proof it in water. Is the creator in error?

 I still maintain it's just for the sake of those who want to use ADY or those who just cannot get used to the idea of mixing IDY straight into the dry ingredients. More or less just a "legacy" situation. Over the years, many recipes were written for ADY. When IDY began being pushed, on a lot of recipes, IDY was just input into many of these same recipes as written, but the text of the recipes was not changed. My opinions, not necessarily facts.

I cut my teeth on recipes, and while most all of their recipes list IDY, iirc, many of the recipes start with the typical "dissolve yeast in warm water...". Many say "skip this step if using IDY", but some don't. But with IDY, it's just not necessary.

But whatever the reason, as long as your IDY is unexpired, and has been stored and handled per mfr recommendations, that should not be a concern whatsoever. I've only used IDY(besides sourdough), 3 different brands, including store brand. Never, ever, had a dough fail to rise. Usually don't even use warm liquids when instructed, as I find room temp water(75º ±) works just fine, for me.

But then again, I always smirk to myself when I read of "yeast issues". I just don't get it. Even the "starting a starter" sourdough issues. These are among the most natural of processes. One has to almost try to prevent them from occurring somehow. Never have these issues. Lucky, I guess.

The pretzel roll recipe is not "mine". Just one I found here. I imagine the milk is to tenderize the dough, somewhat. Same with the sugar. Even so, these were pretty chewy for a sandwich roll. I'm sure too chewy for many.

I guess the salt is a matter of discretion. Mine, as pictured, are topped with seeds. I don't think the recipe mentions toppings. If topping as a typical "pretzel", with salt, I imagine the salt in the dough could/should be reduced.

Good luck?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

here's my example of a kaiser roll...LINK 


CJRoman's picture
CJRoman! Those look fantastic! I have new hope, thanks Mini Oven!

I'm right in the middle of trying to pretzel Italian bread...stay tuned!

sonia101's picture

I'm a total newbie to baking bread and I'm really keen to try some new pretzel recipes, thanks for the links :)

I've tried a few different ones but yet to find the right dough for my liking. I make German pretzels and use a lye bath (pls don't yell at me) lol

spacey's picture

Those look like... well like great pretzels.  Can you post a link to the recipe, or the recipe itself?

sonia101's picture

Sure...this is the link I used on the above pretzels

CJRoman's picture

Those look great! What a beautiful brown. I see lye is the difference between ours. I'd really like to try it...but the people who eat my pretzels say they'll refuse to eat them if I use lye...

Question for all...I want to try and fry a pretzel. (Don't ask...just feeling rather adventurous)

I never really fry...but if the pretzels are wet from the baking soda/water mixture...that will cause an explosion no? I'm not sure where the threshold would be...

Anyone fry dough regularly?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I never did it but I'm guessing it may come out like a donut only not as sweet.  I would skip the lye or let it dry off first before frying.  

Yes, drips of water will explode in oil.  I would use a screen over the oil.  

Do not roll the pretzels in baking soda and then drop in hot water, if you do that the pot boils over.  I don't know what would happen if you rolled the dough in soda and then fried them.  I would try with a pea size glob of dough first and then one the size of a quarter to see what happens.  

Keep the kids and animals out of the kitchen while you experiment.