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Homemade German Pretzels

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These Homemade German Pretzels are so much easier than you think. Soft pretzels are the perfect thing to go with that delicious Hofbräu bier!

German pretzels in bamboo basket. Pin
German Pretzels

🎶 Ein prosit, Ein prosit der Gemütlichkeit! 🎶 OK, sing it with me, people!! (Sorry, now it will probably be stuck in your head all day! 😂 😂) In all seriousness, though, what would a trip to your local Oktoberfest be without indulging in one of those warm, soft pillows of air? (With, of course, that stein of bier (beer) to wash it down!)

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Brief history of Oktoberfest

The first Oktoberfest was celebrated in honor of the marriage of King Ludwig (then crown prince) to Theresa on October 12, 1810. Since then, it has evolved into one of the largest festivals in the world, held yearly in Munich, Germany. Approximately a 2-week affair, it attracts over 6 million people annually, who consume approximately 7.7 liters of beer each, according to this article.

German pretzels with beer.Pin

Foods of Oktoberfest

During the festival, many local food specialties abound, including;

  • Wiesen Hendl (Oktoberfest Roast chicken)
  • Würstl (German sausages)
  • Schweinebraten (Roast Pork)
  • Schnitzel (Breaded Cutlet)
  • Sauerbraten (Marinated Beef Roast)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Rotkraut (Red Cabbage)
  • Knödel (Potato Dumplings)
  • Käsespätzle (Cheesy Noodles)
  • Schwartzwälder kirschtorte (Black Forest Cherry Cake)
  • Apfelstrudel (Apple pastry)

and, of course,

  • Brezel (pretzel)
Pretzels with beer glass and beer steinPin

What are German pretzels?

German pretzels, or Brezel, are yeast bread shaped into a knot that are traditionally topped with salt. You can literally find them in every single German bakery you visit.

Also known as Lye Pretzels, they are cooked in a lye or washing soda bath briefly to give them their characteristic crust texture. Yet, they have a chewy, soft center. They are the perfect snack or accompaniment to any of the above dishes.

What you need

  • Flour – use all-purpose or bread flour
  • milk
  • water
  • yeast
  • butter
  • salt – use coarse kosher salt, sea salt, or pretzel salt
  • Baking soda, or more traditionally, food-grade lye. If you use lye, be sure to wear protective clothing like gloves and eye protection because the lye can burn you.

How to make German pretzels

  1. Use two packages of yeast.
  2. Measure 1 cup liquid, half milk and half water, warm water and milk to about 110°F.
  3. Add yeast to the liquid. Allow to bloom 15 minutes before proceeding.
  4. Measure dry ingredients. Make well in the center.
  5. Pour the yeast/ milk mixture into the well. Stir to mix.
  6. Add softened butter. Knead dough until soft, elastic, and pliable. You can knead by hand or with your stand mixer and dough hook attachment.
  7. Weigh the dough and divide the quantity by 12 to determine what each pretzel ball will weigh.
  8. Measure 12 equal portions. Weighing them is a great way to do that.Step by step photographs of the process for making German pretzels. See details in recipe below.Pin
  9. Roll dough on the board with the palms of your hands to create a long rope tapered at the ends. Roll at least 20″ long.
  10. To form the distinct pretzel shape, place it on a parchment paper-covered baking pan. in the shape of the letter U.
  11. Cross ends to make a loop.
  12. Cross one more time.
  13. Fold down onto where the bottom of the U was. Shape with fingers.
  14. Continue with the remaining dough. Refrigerate uncovered for about 1 hour.
  15. Add baking soda to a large pot with water. Heat to boiling.
  16. Place coarse salt in a small bowl.Step by step photographs of the process for making German pretzels. See details in recipe below.Pin
  17. Remove pretzels from the refrigerator.
  18. Place on a slotted spoon.
  19. Drop with slotted spoon into boiling water/ baking soda bath for about 10 seconds.
  20. Turn with a spoon and boil the other side for 10 seconds.
  21. Remove from pot. Sprinkle with salt.
Step by step photographs of the process for making German pretzels. See details in recipe below.Pin

Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, until browned. Enjoy warm or cold, but warm ones are superior.

What sauces to serve with them?

German pretzels are delicious by themselves, but many people enjoy them with sauces. Some of the most popular dipping sauces for pretzels are;

Other delicious breads

pretzel with beer and dipping sauce.Pin

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That’s how easy it is to make German Pretzels. Zum wohl, (or Cheers)! Thanks for stopping by today!

Enjoy! And have fun cooking!

Xoxo,

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Stack of German Pretzels in basket.Pin

Homemade German Pretzels

These Homemade German Pretzels are so much easier than you think. Soft pretzels are the perfect thing to go with that delicious Hofbräu bier!
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Bread
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 12 pretzels
Calories: 188kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $5

Ingredients

For Bath

Instructions

  • Combine milk and water and warm to approximately 110°F.
  • Dissolve yeast in warm milk.
  • Measure flour and salt and whisk together. Make well in the center of flour. Sprinkle sugar in well.
  • Add milk and yeast to the well in the flour. Let bloom for 15 minutes, before proceeding.
  • Add softened butter. Knead dough with dough hook on mixer, or by hand into a smooth dough.
  • Divide dough into 12 equal parts. A scale will help make them even. Weigh the entire dough ball and divide by twelve to get measurement for each dough ball.
  • Roll each dough ball on board with the palm of your hands to form a rope. Start in the center and press dough while rolling back and forth, to create a rope that is at least 20" long, that is tapered at the ends.
  • Place rope on parchment lined baking sheet in the shape of the letter U.
  • Cross the two ends of dough and lay flat on sheet. Twist ends one more time.
  • Fold both ends down to the bottom of where the U was. Press to hold. Continue with remaining dough.
  • When all of the dough is rolled and shaped, place the tray in the refrigerator to rest for about 1 hour.
  • After resting, turn oven on to 400°F. Add baking soda to water, in a large pot. Heat water to a low boil.
  • Score dough with sharp knife on bottom edge. Using a slotted spoon, drop pretzels in water bath for 10 seconds, in small batches. Turn to other side.
  • Remove from water bath and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with desired amount of salt. Continue until all of the pretzels are done.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes until you achieve a dark crust. (It took mine a couple minutes longer)
  • Best enjoyed warm.
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Notes

***NOTES: Refer to process photos above for helpful tips! **
Suggested sauces for pretzels

Nutrition

Serving: 1pretzel | Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 1795mg | Potassium: 69mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 105IU | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 2mg
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This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click the link and purchase something, at no additional cost to you. See FTC Disclosure, here.

Originally published October 25, 2019. Updated July 24, 2022.

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14 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi! I want to use the lye bath…..please provide amounts of water (temp too?) and quantity of lye along with directions…..and I thank you kindly! An October-Fest is in the making 🙂

    1. I always use a baking soda bath. But the water needs to be boiling when you drop them in. As the recipe says, I use 1/2 baking soda to 2 quarts of water. If you’d like to use food grade lye, follow the packages’ instructions. Wear safety gear as well! Ein Prosit!

  2. 5 stars
    Wow, these have such fabulous texture! These pretzels are absolutely delicious with your honey mustard sauce…and yes, a frosty, cold bier. This recipe was easy to follow with the helpful photos and video!

  3. 5 stars
    I always shy away from making pretzels but you have made it look so easy with your step by step photos that I’m going to give it a try! Thanks!

  4. 5 stars
    Many years ago I tried German Pretzels in one of German restaurants and was impressed. I was looking for the best recipe of Homemade German Pretzels. Here we go… I am gonna make them tonight. I just hope that I will get the same look as yours:)

  5. 5 stars
    Thanks to your easy, step-by-step photos my son and I were able to make these delicious pretzels together. For SURE a keeper of a recipe! Thanks for sharing!!

  6. 5 stars
    Oh my gosh those look so good! I bet they are perfect when served warm with some mustard. I like a lot of mustard on my pretzels so I would just pile some spicy brown mustard on them.

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