German Pretzel Recipe

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Making homemade soft pretzels can seem daunting. While there are a few steps to follow and some resting time involved, this German pretzel recipe is actually quite simple and results in perfectly soft and fluffy pretzels every time.

Keep reading to find out how to make these pretzels, some helpful tips, as well as some other fun variations you can make for friends or for a party.

Pretzels on a plate

Ingredients

Pretzel ingredients

These are all the ingredients you’ll need to make this super simple German pretzel recipe.

For The Pretzels

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter 

For The Pretzel Bath

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 8 cups water 

How To Remove Stuck Pretzels from Parchment

You should try to remember to spray your parchment paper before baking these homemade German pretzels, but if you forget (like I sometimes do!) there is a trick to help. After you take your pretzels out of the oven, check to see if they are stuck to the parchment paper. It’s important to check right away.

If they are stuck, pour a small amount of water under the parchment paper, directly onto the hot baking sheet. Be careful as it will sizzle. Let the pretzels sit on the parchment for about 30 seconds and then you can remove them easily.

Instructions

These are all the easy steps to follow for this homemade soft pretzel recipe. Note that there are a few resting periods, so plan accordingly.

Step 1 – Dissolve The Yeast

Pretzel liquid mixture in a bowl

In a small bowl, add the warm water and sprinkle the top with the dry active yeast. Let this sit for two minutes and then stir to dissolve the yeast. Set aside.

Step 2 – Combine Ingredients

combined ingredients in a bowl

In a stand mixer bowl or another large bowl, add the flour and whisk it together with the salt. Set the bowl on the mixer stand.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the dissolved yeast and water. Add the sugar to the water.

Step 3 – Make The Dough

Pretzel dough in the mixer

Using the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer, begin mixing the dough. I kept mine on speed 2 the entire time. The dough will be shaggy when it starts to come together, but it should form a ball. This will take about 6 minutes total. If your dough does not come together within 6 minutes, add more water about a tablespoon at a time until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Alternatively, if the dough is too wet, add flour a teaspoon at a time until it comes together and forms a ball.

Step 4 -Let The Dough Rest

Resting dough in a bowl

Transfer the dough ball to a large bowl that has been coated in olive oil. Let it rest in a warm area of your kitchen for 1 hour. It should double in size.

Step 5 – Divide The Dough

Dough split in pieces

Once the dough has risen, form it into a ball or log and cut it into 12 equal pieces.

Step 6 – Roll The Dough

rolled dough

Take one section of the dough and using the palms of your hands, begin to roll it into a rope. Draw your hands outward as you roll and the rope will begin to stretch. You want the rope to be at least 20 inches long, with tapered ends. I know my cutting board is 18 inches wide, so I used that as my guide, but you could also cut a piece of masking tape to 20 inches as a ruler on your countertop.

Step 7 – Shape The Pretzels

Shaped pretzel

Take the rope and make a U shape with the ends turning away from you. Take the ends and draw them toward you, twist them twice, and then connect the ends to the bottom of the U, creating a pretzel shape. Continue until all pretzels are shaped.

Step 8 – Rest The Pretzels

Shaped pretzel

Place the shaped pretzels on a parchment-lined baking sheet (I used two) and cover them with a towel to rest. Rest for 20 minutes until they’ve puffed up.

While they are resting, it is a great time to preheat your oven to 400°F (204°C).

Step 9 – Boil The Pretzels and Top With Salt

Shaped pretzel with salt

While the pretzels are puffing, boil 8 cups of water in a large pot. Once boiling, add the baking soda. Be careful as the baking soda will cause the water to bubble up rapidly. This will only last a few seconds.

Once the water has calmed back to a boil, add the first pretzel. Cook on one side for 15 seconds, then flip and cook the other side for an additional 15 seconds.

Remove the pretzel from the water bath and set it on parchment paper that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Top the pretzels with a sprinkle of large flaky salt.

Step 10 – Bake The Boiled Pretzels

Final presntation

Once you have a full baking sheet of boiled pretzels, I put that batch into the oven and start the baking process to ensure everything turns out correctly. Bake them for 15 minutes at 400°F (204°C).

Peek to make sure they’re getting deep golden brown and once you’re confident that they are turning out correctly, go ahead and start on the next batch.

If the first batch is not browning, read below for tips. Continue with the water bath and baking process until all the pretzels have been baked.

Cookware Used

These are the items I find useful when making homemade pretzels.

Metal Spider or Slotted Spoon: A metal spider is ideal for draining the pretzels after their water bath, but a slotted spoon also works well.

Large Pot: You will need a large pot to make this pretzel recipe. Make sure that 8 cups of water only fills it, at most, ¾ of the way. You’ll need the extra room when the baking soda bubbles up.

Stand Mixer: A stand mixer helps the pretzel dough come together quickly and easily. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can knead the dough by hand.

What If My Pretzels Are Not Browning?

If your pretzels come out of the oven looking a little paler than the deep brown color you were hoping for, resist baking them longer. This could cause your pretzels to burn and make them tough and chewy.

The reason for their pale color is likely because there was not enough baking soda in your water bath. Try adding ¼ cup more and the next batch should be darker in color. This is why I like to bake a small first batch, it helps you ensure a tasty final product and adjust if needed.

Homemade German Pretzel Recipe Variations

Now that we’ve covered the basic German pretzel recipe, here are several fun ways to make these pretzels.

Pretzel Bites

To make pretzel bites follow steps 1 to 6 above, but don’t taper the ropes at the end. Instead, cut the ropes into bite-size pieces about 2 inches long by 1 inch wide. Repeat using all of the dough sections.

In step 9, boil them in batches, but you can add enough to fill a single layer in the boiling water. Don’t add more than a single layer or they could stick together. Bake 12-15 minutes.

Pretzel Sticks

To make pretzel sticks, follow steps 1 to 6 above, but roll the dough to 12 inches in length and then cut it in half, creating two 6-inch pretzel sticks. Repeat until all the dough is used.

Boil two at a time and follow the same steps as directed above.

Now, It’s Your Turn!

Final presntation

Don’t be afraid to get creative with this German pretzel recipe. You can top these deliciously fluffy pretzels with salt, poppy seeds, or everything bagel seasoning.

Don’t rush the resting process and be sure your ropes are long enough before creating the pretzel twist. You’ll end up with mouthwatering soft pretzels you can share with your family, or eat all by yourself!

Print

German Pretzel Recipe

Make your own pretzels could seem daunting , but after trying this recipe you will see that it is easier that it looks.

  • Author: Beatriz Garcia
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 15 Pretzels 1x
  • Cuisine: German

Ingredients

Units Scale

For The Pretzels

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter

For The Pretzel Bath

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 8 cups water

Instructions

 Dissolve The Yeast

In a small bowl, add the warm water and sprinkle the top with the dry active yeast. Let this sit for two minutes and then stir to dissolve the yeast. Set aside.

 Combine Ingredients

In a stand mixer bowl or another large bowl, add the flour and whisk it together with the salt. Set the bowl on the mixer stand.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the dissolved yeast and water. Add the sugar to the water.

Make The Dough

Using the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer, begin mixing the dough.  The dough will be shaggy when it starts to come together, but it should form a ball. This will take about 6 minutes total. If your dough does not come together within 6 minutes, add more water about a tablespoon at a time until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Alternatively, if the dough is too wet, add flour a teaspoon at a time until it comes together and forms a ball.

Let The Dough Rest

Transfer the dough ball to a large bowl that has been coated in olive oil. Let it rest in a warm area of your kitchen for 1 hour. It should double in size.

Divide The Dough

Once the dough has risen, form it into a ball or log and cut it into 12 equal pieces

Roll The Dough

Take one section of the dough and using the palms of your hands, begin to roll it into a rope. Draw your hands outward as you roll and the rope will begin to stretch. You want the rope to be at least 20 inches long, with tapered ends. I know my cutting board is 18 inches wide, so I used that as my guide, but you could also cut a piece of masking tape to 20 inches as a ruler on your countertop.

 Shape The Pretzels

Take the rope and make a U shape with the ends turning away from you. Take the ends and draw them toward you, twist them twice, and then connect the ends to the bottom of the U, creating a pretzel shape. Continue until all pretzels are shaped.

 Rest The Pretzels

Place the shaped pretzels on a parchment-lined baking sheet (I used two) and cover them with a towel to rest. Rest for 20 minutes until they’ve puffed up.

While they are resting, it is a great time to preheat your oven to 400°F (204°C).

 Boil The Pretzels and Top With Salt

While the pretzels are puffing, boil 8 cups of water in a large pot. Once boiling, add the baking soda. Be careful as the baking soda will cause the water to bubble up rapidly. This will only last a few seconds.

Once the water has calmed back to a boil, add the first pretzel. Cook on one side for 15 seconds, then flip and cook the other side for an additional 15 seconds.

Remove the pretzel from the water bath and set it on parchment paper that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Top the pretzels with a sprinkle of large flaky salt.

 Bake The Boiled Pretzels

Once you have a full baking sheet of boiled pretzels, I put that batch into the oven and start the baking process to ensure everything turns out correctly. Bake them for 15 minutes at 400°F (204°C).

Peek to make sure they’re getting deep golden brown and once you’re confident that they are turning out correctly, go ahead and start on the next batch.

If the first batch is not browning, read below for tips. Continue with the water bath and baking process until all the pretzels have been baked.

 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 188 g
  • Calories: 145 kCal
  • Sugar: 0.25 g
  • Sodium: 2346 mg
  • Fat: 2.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
  • Trans Fat: 0.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 26 g
  • Fiber: 1.2 g
  • Protein: 3.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 6 mg

Tried this Recipe?

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