The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pretzel... ROLLS?

MarkS's picture

Pretzel... ROLLS?

I have a family member that is begging me to make pretzel rolls. This is, apparently, a new fad in the food world. New to me at least...

I have made pretzels before, and the method doesn't seem conducive to rolls. They have to be boiled in a baking soda mix prior to baking and are rather dense. I could adjust the hydration to compensate for density, but the boiling thing troubles me.

I just cannot picture how to do this. Can anyone give me pointers? A picture of a pretzel roll and its crumb would be very helpful as well. I can come up with the recipe myself, but I need a point of reference.

mini_maggie's picture
MarkS's picture

That was helpful, and I thank you, but I want some personal experience, which is why I asked instead of searching. There was useful information in that link, but I would like others to chime in.

dabrownman's picture

great pretzel rolls with real lye!  Send im an IM if he doesn't chime in.You can read hsi posts on TFL too by searching.  He tells the story of real pretzel rolls pretty well .  He won't mind a Message

Happy baking

mkelly27's picture

I make soda ash by baking, baking soda for about an hour to increase it's alkalinity.  It ends up weaker than lye, but stronger than baking soda.  I don't boil them either, I just carefully dip my rolls for about 30 secs. and then place them on a greased, parchment (important to grease it).  You can "pretzel" just about any roll/bread recipe and get that brown skin using this method..  If you can find "pretzel salt" by all means buy it.  it is wax coated and doesn't dissolve as quickly on the rolls


isand66's picture

I will be glad to help you.  What would you like to know?  For starters you do need to dip the rolls in either a lye bath solution or baking soda solution which is how the pretzels get the dark brown exterior and the correct chew, otherwise it does not taste like a real pretzel.  I have only used the lye bath but I know some people are petrified of trying it.  Many people do use the baking soda method with some actually baking the baking soda to try and get even more power from it to darken the crust.  You can buy food grade lye on-line and I can give you the name of the brand I bought if you are interested.

Please note you don't boil the rolls but merely boil the solution of lye and water or water and baking soda and let it coo down a bit.  You then dip each roll good side down into the bath for about 15-25 seconds and drain well.  Do not ever use parchment paper or wax paper to put the rolls on after dipping them or it will stick to the paper.  I know this from personal experience.  I use Slipat mats which work great or you can spray oil a non-aluminum cookie sheet.

I've made these with bread flour and instant yeast as well as sourdough versions along with some rye flour mixed in and a few other variations.  You can search my blog posts on TFL or go to my other blog at and search for pretzel rolls for some more ideas.

Let me know what other questions you have and I will be glad to try and help you.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

These and more popular mini baguette shapes have been popular in Austria & Bavaria for years, travelers have seen them  spreading demand.  The shape I've seen in Frankfurt were large knots, a cigar of dough tied up and lyed to.   Quite impressive.

Eaten plain or with a minimum of fillings.  Hard salami or ham goes good in them along with a few very thin slices of pickle or cucumber.  Swiss cheese & butter. 

MarkS's picture

Is it safe to assume that "pretzel" isn't the dough, but the bath?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

it's the effect of lye on the dough "skin."

I went and googled pretzel rolls images to look for different, more traditional shapes.  Low and behold was a photo I took way-back-when on my kitchen table!  I clicked on the image and went to where it was posted, thinking I'd be directed back to TFL and the pretzel post.  Turned out to be a strange blog, and it hinted that the rolls were nearby at some (named) bakery.  I was in shock!  The nerve!  Making false advertisement using my photos from another country.  I commented she should make her own photos instead of stealing mine.  Plagiarism!   I have the table at home to prove it!  I wonder how many photos in her blog are really hers? ... Enough rant.  Back to buns.   

davidg618's picture

The recipe is available here

I found these easy, and a bit of fun to make. It may be a fad, but they are a tasty fad.

David G

pjkobulnicky's picture

As others have said, it is the treatment of the crust and the shape of the roll that gives them the name. My son makes these (very successfully) in his bakery and the dough is a brioche style.