The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Amish Soft Pretzel Recipe Request

tonyk's picture

Amish Soft Pretzel Recipe Request

I lived in Philly years ago and would go to the Reading Terminal Market in the center of town to buy the most delicious soft pretzels made by the Amish. I am trying to find an authentic recipe to make these tasty gems at home. Is there anyone who has a "real" version of this delectable delight? I've tried the net and came up with a lot of knock off's of "Mall" quality pretzels. These Amish made pretzels are the absolute best ever. Nothing out there compares. I would greatly appreciate anyone's suggestion to replicate this most excellent soft, chewy, crusty treat. Thanks for your help in making a guy longing for a little slice of heaven. Tony k

cadamson's picture

Hi there, I don't know if you already found an answer to your question.  I grew up with the pretzels you describe.  I do not have my mom's recipe, but I definitely remember the process. You make the dough, let it rise, divide the dough, roll the ropes, shape the pretzels and let them rest for maybe 5 minutes.  Then you drop them into a simmering solution of baking soda and water. Not for very long though.  Maybe 30 seconds to one minute and then flip them and simmer for the same on the other.  You really must do this step and many online recipes ommit this.  Then you drain them on towels- not paper towels or they will stick.  Brush with an egg wash- not butter like many recipes indicate, sprinkle with salt and bake in a hot oven.  The salt is also key if you like it; we specifically bought pretzel salt which you can find from on-line sources.  In short though, what you are looking for is the boiling step and the egg wash to get that crusty, chewy mouth feel.  Also, mall pretzels tend to be much too sweet.  A good recipe should only have 1-2 T of sugar- just enough for the yeast to eat.  Just a note as well- because they are addictive and labor intensive, my mom and I used to just make short rope pieces instead of the full pretzel sometimes if we were baking for a party crowd- same process just a lot faster in the end.

tattooedtonka's picture

In case you want to give it a go, on the left column of this website you will see a list of Favorite Recipes.  Click on Pretzels, and you will see very good info and photos of Floyds recipe process.  I have done these myself many times.  And they are excellent.  Floyds the best and does a great job with this site, and he's a dang good baker as well.


redivyfarm's picture

I'm strictly a West Coast girl but I'll believe you when you say that the Amish pretzels are the best. I've used several recipes and experimented with doughs that I just happened to have on hand, always using the boiling with baking soda step. I'm pretty sure that the people who say it is unnecessary to boil them just don't love pretzels as much as you and I do! I envy you trying batch after batch in your quest to find that very special pretzel you remember. My experience tells me that the simplest dough recipes are the best and that even your marginally successful efforts are still mighty tasty. I bought food grade lye recently and you've inspired me to make pretzels tonight using that scary but oh-so-traditional method. I'll be sure to photograph and and post to let you know how it goes.

redivyfarm's picture

Here are those dipped in food-grade lye solution pretzels I've wanted to try for so long! Just as TTonka advises, I've cruised the recipes posted here and tonight tried the Laugenbrezel recipe. I particularly like the fact that the recipe is in grams because I get the most consistent results and prefer to build doughs with the use of my simple gram scale. I spent as much time rechecking my metric conversions to be certain of the safety of my lye solution as I did assembling the dough! Now that I've mixed up a solution once, I'll be less anxious in future. I checked several formulas and they recommend solutions from 1.5% to 4% for dipping pretzels. Although I tried for +/- 3% solution (27 grams of lye in 1000 grams of water, I found a fused cake of lye on the bottom of my plastic bowl when I finished so I suspect that my solution was 1.5% or lower. I didn't stir the solution for fear of etching or eating a spoon; I think that was way too cautious!

Brezels Under ConstructionBrezels

Under Construction

I followed the recommendations exactly and that is unusual for my baking. I must say, these are the prettiest pretzels I've baked to date and the distinctive flavor of the deep brown, crackley crust is unmistakeable. I used no wash other than the lye bath.



I'm an adventurous soul and not concerned about the lye thing. The same is not true of my family. They are very suspicious of any hocus-pocus going on in the kitchen and may never get to enjoy these "superior" pretzels. Ah well, I've described pretzels as the perfect "bread for one".

heidet's picture

They are beautiful;fuller than traditionally found but I imagine that is a result of the thickness of the rope or resting period. Do you have the recipe to share and did you use food-grade lye?



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And they're so beautiful!  You're making me hungry!  I'll share 'em with you anytime!

redivyfarm's picture

Once I saw that beautiful pretzel picture you shared, there was only the question of how soon would I get my safely gloved hands on the lye and go for it! I'd love to try to recreate that photo in my kitchen- you know, like the people who pose the family to look like Nat'l Geographic Meerkats?Are you still in Austria? Plenty of good bread in that part of the world.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And winter is here.  All the ski hills have plenty and Christmas will be white!  The bread is good,  and I enjoy baking ever so often.   The soft pretzels in Frankfurt were bigger than kaiser rolls and tasty too.  They were simple fat knots.  I think any bread takes on the "pretzel flavor" when dipped in lye.  I'm on a soft pretzel eating kick right now.  I think they would be good with chili too.  Glad I could be inspirational.  :)

cdiggz's picture

Today i was given an Amish Soft Pretzel recipe from my cooking instructor. First thing I came up with when I googled another recipe was this. So without further ado:


Yield: 5 large pretzels

Preheat Oven: 450 degrees F.


3/4 cup warm water (approximately 105-110 degrees)

1/2 tablespoon yeast

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/2 cup occident flour (bread flour) (add more if needed)

1/4 cup unsalted melted butter for dipping pretzels in after baking



1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water


DIPPING SOLUTION (use large saucepan):

1/4 cup baking soda

2 1/2 cups hot water


DIRECTIONS: Line baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly brush with vegetable oil.

1. In a KitchenAid mixing bowl with dough hook attachment, mix warm water and sugar. Sprinkle yeast on top and let rest for 5 minutes.

2. While yeast is growing, prepare egg wash and baking pan. Set aside.

3. Add flour and mix well until dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and it retains a ball shape.

4. Let rise in warm place until doubled, at least 20-30 minutes.

5. On slightly oiled, clean work surface, divide dough and shape into long ‘ropes’ and shape into pretzels or other shape.

6. Prepare dipping solution in large saucepan and turn stove to medium to keep solution hot. Put shaped dough into prepared dipping solution for 20-30 seconds.

7. Remove with a flat turner spatula and place on prepared cookie sheet. Re-shape if necessary.

8. Brush with egg wash & sprinkle with pretzel or sea salt (salt is optional).

 9. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, over low heat, melt ¼ cup butter in small saucepan. Do not allow to boil or brown.

10. Dip face of pretzel into melted butter. Sprinkle with coarse salt or cinnamon sugar.

 11. ENJOY


I really hope this is what you were looking for. These are THE BEST pretzels i have ever had, no joke.

P.S. i iput my pretzels in for only about 5 minutes, 8-12 minutes was too long and my pretzels were over done