Bavarian-Style Soft Pretzels Recipe (2024)



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I know this isn't authentic but I have used a recipe from Cooks Country for a couple of years and it recommends for those without lye, that you boil water and add about 1/4 cup baking soda. Dip each pretzel 15 seconds each side. They come out beautifully dark after baking which I believe is the purpose of the lye dip. I've never bought lye and this method seems to work well.

Robert Tower

Use parchment paper on your pans and they won't stick and make clean-up such a hassle.


Bake the baking soda if you don't want to deal with the lye see this NY times article. I've tried this and its a difference maker.


WRONG WRONG WRONG!!! Do not ever use aluminum with lye. use glass or stainless steel. The lye will react with the aluminum, and your pretzels will not be their best. And I'm being diplomatic. I can't speak to what it will do to seasoned iron, but gosh, just go get a glass baking dish. 2 scant tablespoons of lye in a quart of water is all you need to make a deep enough dip in a 8x8 or 9x9 pan. One pretzel at a time, 10 seconds per side, done.


As a proud German, I have the authority to bestow upon you this verdict, thanks to the years and years of tradition that run through my blood, and the indisputable truth that a person's birthplace undoubtedly equates to knowledge of their cuisine: these taste good. Also make sure you bake the pretzels immediately after dunking them in lye. If you let them sit on the baking sheet while your first batch bakes, like I did, the lye will eat through the bottom of the pretzels and you will be sad.


To make this recipe work: divide the dough into 12 (or however many) pieces and roll them into balls. Keep covered with plastic wrap. Place them in the refrigerator overnight or up to 3 days. This will allow the dough to develop flavor through fermentation and the enzymatic actions will make the dough easier to roll out and form into pretzel shapes.

Thomas Sherman

A very good recipe that works well for laugenbrezeln, but especially well for laugenbrötchen, which in my opinion, is the optimal sandwich roll for cheese or meat sandwiches. Freeze laugenbrötchen soon after cooling for a great lunch sandwich: thaw briefly in microwave and toast: fantastic.

Ben Gunn

I have made this many times with both Lye and baking soda for the dip. The lye works so much better than the baking soda.


Be prepared to ruin you're pans unless you want to grease them before putting the pretzles on them after dipping them in lye water. Other than that, absolutely fantastic


We used the baked baking soda method (baking soda sprinkled on a baking sheet in a 300 degree oven and baked for one hour), and our pretzels were fabulous!

Tim H

The chemistry is exactly the same, but lye pushes the maillard reaction faster due to higher pH. There's not any health reasons for not using lye, other than you may not feel safe using it. Once baked, the reaction is complete and lye has been consumed. So if you want pretzels that aren't traditional and aren't as good, then use baking soda. There's tons of recipes for that, but not this one.


You should use a little less than 5 cups of flour for this, otherwise the dough is too dry. Kneeding for the full 10 minutes will take care of excessive tackiness. I also portioned this out into eight 130 gram balls which made the pretzels into a more familiar size. As for the lye, I halved the amount of water and lye; you don’t need that much of the solution to dip the dough in for 15 seconds. Using parchment helped with sticking. I’d recommend baking one sheet at a time.


Add a tablespoon of butter to the dough before rolling out the pretzels....tastes likes a certain aunt's recipe.


Using baking soda instead of sodium hydroxide (lye) will yield a tasty snack but it’s not a Bavarian pretzel. It will lack the color, flavor and aroma of real thing. The aroma of a lye-dipped pretzel or roll is simply amazing, the result of the amino acids liberated from proteins by the lye reacting with sugar in the hot oven.Handling lye is no more or less dangerous than bleach. If you can use bleach without hurting yourself or those nearby, you’ll have no problem using lye.


@rammooreguss - Using lye gives them a characteristic pretzel flavor. Baking soda is often suggested as an alternative, but I don't know what that does for flavor.


Is there a grams conversion?


Is the lye solution at room temperature? I used to dip the pretzels for 30 seconds in the boiling solution, but I guess that's not necessary?

Travis S

I'm just a simple guy who grew up in central Michigan, so I don't have a lot of knowledge about what makes pretzels 'authentic' or not. That being said, I followed this recipe to a tee, and I was able to make some of the best soft pretzels I've ever had. Don't be afraid of using lye--it is a serious chemical, but the right PPE will keep you safe.

Nina Greipel

I've used baking soda and it never disappoints. But I would not suggest putting dough in fridge overnight, as the dough tends to taste sour the next day. Roll out your pretzels thin, they will rise and get fat. Using a silicone mat is best for baking, as they won't stick.


Put into refrigerator uncovered, right?


I am wondering the same thing! I have some in the fridge right now - they've been in there about 2 hrs and definitely have a skin. I just covered them but am worried that they aren't going to rise enough. Help!

Nina Greipel

Yes, uncovered and if they get a "skin", don't worry. The water bath before baking will take care of it and you won't notice a difference.

Sara LeCroy

I have tried the lye method, but prefer the baking soda dip. Mine come out puffy, golden brown and taste just like soft mall pretzles, and the outside has that unique pretzel flavor. My recipe was from a hugely popular one called 'Almost Famous Mall Pretzel Recipe'. I know lye can be safe in small amounts, but using it skeeved me out. I understand the idea of staying authentic, but just a thought if anyone else can't find lye or doesn't want to use it.

Celia Milton

I also use the baking soda/water bath for my pretzels. I make the dough in a bread machine, and it works out great!

Eva B

I read through several pages of tips and did not see this caution: do not add water to lye. Doing so can cause the lye to expand and splash onto you. Always add lye to water. And wear gloves.I have made Bavarian pretzels from a similar recipe and, when fresh, they are MUCH better than purchased pretzels.


Good advice to roll ropes post overnight fridge (then rest for 30 and back in fridge for 30)! Made these 5x and struggled to get ropes usually giving up and making them rolls—still great. Thank you to all who experimented and left notes


Yes! Lye! Bakingsoda just doesn't tast anywhere near right. However, the shape with thin arms and a thick belly is not the traditional Bavarian Brezn (I'm from Munich), rather it is the typical shape you get in Swabia, one state over. Bavarian prezls have thicker arms.


I used parchment paper and the pretzels stuck to the paper I think from the acid. Will probably use glass to bake on. First time making however and they turned out amazing. I used the recommended 2 tablespoons of lye and 1 quart water for dipping. Will probably let it sit in fridge longer next time to add flavor to the dough. I may also use 5.5 cups of flour instead of 6. Was pretty dry when I rolled.


I've been making these since a trip to Germany and the need to feed the resulting pretzel addiction. Lye is a MUST for that distinctive chewy brown crust. These stick like mad on parchment so I use a silicone mat or grease the paper.I make the lye solution in an 8 qt pyrex measuring cup or a ceramic bowl. When pretzels come out of the fridge I let them warm up while the oven preheats. Then I dip, readjust shape, sprinkle with pretzel salt, and bake.Made rolls and topped with gruyere-- yum.

With Lye and Without

First time - I used baking soda. The pretzels were blond and matte. Meh. Second time - I used lye. The pretzels were mahogany and shiny. Yum. This recipe is a 3 hour commitment if you follow the directions. Perfect.


First, if using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, just combine sugar, water, and yeast first and let sit for 10 mins to activate, then add the rest of the ingredients. If you already mixed all the ingredients together and used regular active dry yeast, just allow for 15-20 mins longer rise time. Second, I live in a mostly cool/dry environment. I needed to add approximately 1/2 cup more warm water to the dough for the right consistency.

Susan, Luxembourg

Good taste - I made half the recipe to start with. I also used a lye solution with 1 part lye to 20 parts water. But I have a couple of questions - does this solution need to be heated? The bretzels were a good golden brown but not glossy. How do I make them glossy? Can I add maple syrup or similar to the lye solution? Thanks for your help!

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Bavarian-Style Soft Pretzels Recipe (2024)


What is the secret ingredient which makes a pretzel taste like a pretzel? ›

Pretzels are dipped in food-grade lye before baking. It gives them a characteristic shine and flavor.

What are the ingredients in Bavarian Gourmet Soft pretzels? ›

We use only five natural ingredients when making our famous Bavarian pretzels: wheat flour, water, oil (usually soybean oil), salt and yeast.

What makes a Bavarian pretzel different? ›

These authentic Bavarian pretzels are different than their American counterpart soft pretzels because they are dipped in a more traditional lye mixture. In fact, the German name for these pretzels laugenbrezel literally translates to “lye pretzels.”

What are the ingredients in Deutsche Kuche Bavarian soft pretzels? ›

Wheat Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast, Malted Wheat Flour, Dextrose (from Wheat), Emulsifiers (471, 322 From Soy), Acidity Regulator (260).

What is the difference between Bavarian pretzels and soft pretzels? ›

Unlike their American counterpart, Bavarian pretzels pack a denser, chewier inside and a darker, crispier outside. And there's a certain "tang" to the Bavarian-style pretzel that sets it apart from other soft pretzels. But best of all, it doesn't need to be dipped in cheese or drenched in butter to taste delicious!

What is the secret ingredient in pretzels? ›

Traditional Bavarian pretzels are dipped in a lye solution before they are baked. Lye, also known as sodium hydroxide, is essentially the same stuff that's used to make soap and clean drains. It can even dissolve glass.

What is the difference between German and Bavarian pretzels? ›

Differences between American and Bavarian pretzels

German pretzels have thick, bulbous, and doughy borders with thinner, crunchier crossed arms in the middle of some varieties. Many Bavarian pretzel recipes cut the bottom of the pretzel lengthwise before baking it to achieve a fat underbelly with an exposed crumb.

What are some facts about Bavarian pretzels? ›

Traditionally, Bavarian pretzels are made from wheat flour, water, yeast, and salt, and dipped in an alkaline solution, which gives the pretzel its brown color and crisp texture. The snack is vegan and low in fat, making it an excellent snack for any time of the day!

What are the ingredients in Brauhaus Bavarian pretzels? ›


Why do they call it a Bavarian pretzel? ›

The pretzel, known as "Brezel" in German, is a type of baked bread product that is typically twisted into a distinctive knot-like shape. Its origin is often attributed to Germany, specifically to the region of Bavaria, although its precise beginnings are somewhat debated.

What do Germans eat with soft pretzels? ›

In Bavaria's world-famous beer gardens, pretzels are also enjoyed with obatzda, a strong, cheesy dip made with butter, hot paprika, and Camembert. Frankfurt is home to a milder, creamier version known as schneegestöber, also enjoyed with pretzels and glasses of sour flat apple cider named apfelwein.

What are Bavarian pretzels called? ›

Depending on the dialect, pretzels are called Brezel (High German), Brezn (in Bavaria and Austria), Bretzel (in Switzerland) or one of many similar names, based on the region.

What makes German pretzels so good? ›

The main difference to note between the more “American-style” pretzels and German pretzels is an ingredient called lye. Put simply, it's a “bath” pretzels soak in before the cooking is completed. Baking soda can be a substitute, however lye is the more “traditional” method.

Why do German pretzels use lye? ›

Dipping the dough in a lye solution gives traditional German pretzels their characteristic salinity; chew; and smooth mahogany exterior, but the strong alkali (sodium hydroxide) is corrosive and can burn your skin, so it must be handled with caution.

What is an Oktoberfest pretzel? ›

The main thing that sets the pretzels served at Oktoberfest (and throughout Germany) apart from their soft American counterparts is the use of lye to form a dark chewy crust.

What is the Flavouring on pretzels? ›

Salt is the most common seasoning, or topping, for pretzels, complementing the washing soda or lye treatment that gives pretzels their traditional skin and flavor acquired through the Maillard reaction. Other toppings are mustard, cheeses, sugar, chocolate, cinnamon, sweet glazing, seeds, and nuts.

Why do pretzels have a distinct flavor? ›

Lye (sodium hydroxide for the scientifically inclined) is an alkali solution that changes the pH of the dough in such a way that it helps the crust gelatinize, achieve the dark color, and even makes the salt stick. It's also responsible for the distinct pretzel flavor and texture of the crust.

What is the secret solution for Auntie Anne's pretzels? ›

While dough is rising, prepare a baking soda water bath with 2 cups warm water and 2 tbsp baking soda. Be certain to stir often. After dough has risen, pinch off bits of dough and roll into a long rope (about 1/2 inch or less thick) and shape. Dip pretzel in soda solution and place on greased baking sheet.

What makes pretzel dough taste different? ›

Lye. The dough is simple; take a basic yeast-risen dough that can be readied in an afternoon. But the trick to great pretzels is dipping the pretzels in a liquid wash before baking — and not just any wash, but a combination of water and lye. That's what gives pretzels their terrific color, texture and flavor.

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