This Laugenbrezel - Homemade Soft Pretzels recipe results in six gloriously golden, chewy and salty pretzels that will taste as good as any place you might pick them up in Germany. They're also surprisingly easy to make and are a lazy Sunday kind of dish to make.
Table of Contents
Why you'll love them
Unlike store-bought pretzels, these homemade soft pretzels offer an authentic taste that transports you to the bustling streets of a German market. Enjoy the combination of a slightly chewy texture and a subtle hint of saltiness that will leave your taste buds wanting more.
These soft pretzels are incredibly versatile! Whether you're hosting a party, enjoying a movie night at home, or simply looking for a satisfying snack, these pretzels are a perfect choice. Pair them with your favorite dips such as mustard, cheese, or even a sweet caramel sauce for a delightful twist.
Ingredients and substitutions for the best Homemade Soft Pretzels
- Flour: Plain or all purpose is best, unless you live in the UK where the protein level in bread flour is equivalent to plain in the US, so check your protein levels in your bread where you live.
- Yeast: Yeast doesn’t just help give our bread rise but also gives it that perfect bread crumb.
- Sugar and salt: The flavor boosters here add depth of flavor with sea or kosher salt and superfine or caster sugar working best to dissolve into the dough.
- Baking soda: The baking soda is used in the boiling water to help give the pretzels their traditional chewy texture and golden brown appearance.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Pretzels:
Activate your yeast: Let the water and yeast sit until bubbly.
Combine the dry ingredients: Mix them together.
Form the dough: Add the water and yeast and create your dough.
Knead baby: You need to throughly knead the dough to create a soft dough that will result in the soft interior and chewy exterior.
Rest: Give the dough 30 minutes of breathing space.
Separate into 6 or 12 pieces: Weigh out each piece and shape into 6 or 12 pretzels.
Refrigerate: Give the dough more resting time and refrigerate uncovered to dry out a little.
Boil the water: Once you have a rolling boil, add the baking soda.
Boil the pretzels: Boil on each side briefly and place on your baking tray.
Salt: Sprinkle rough or sea salt over the pretzels.
Bake: Bake until they are golden.
Serve: Allow to cool a little and serve with mustard.
Equipment needed to make a batch
Mixing bowl: A medium or large mixing bowl will make whipping up that dough a breeze.
Baking tray: A nice large flat baking tray works best.
FAQ's for the best Homemade Soft Pretzels
Many classic pretzel recipes feature an ingredient known as lye, a highly soluble metal hydroxide. This solution, used to par-boil the unbaked pretzel dough, contributes to the delightful taste, rich brown color, and enticing shine on the pretzels' surface.
However, it's important to handle lye with extreme care due to its potential dangers, including the risk of blindness. For a safer and more accessible approach for home bakers, we recommend substituting lye with baking soda or bicarbonate soda. You'll be pleased to find that the results are just as impressive, offering the authentic pretzel flavor you crave.
To achieve your nice golden chewy exterior you shouldn't skip this step as refrigerating helps to dry out the pretzels prior to parboiling which is the key to that famous pretzel taste.
If you want to serve them fresh, they are best served the day they're made, however, see the next note as you can freeze and defrost for pretzels that are exactly like fresh.
Yes you can! The soft and salty homemade pretzels can be frozen for up to 3 months where they will taste as just as good as fresh once defrosted.
More bread recipes you'll enjoy
Homemade Soft Pretzels
- 275 milliliters / 1 + 2 tablespoons cup lukewarm water
- 14 grams / 2 packages / 4 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 640 grams / 4 cups plain flour
- 4 grams / 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
- 45 grams / 3 tablespoons butter softened
- 8 cups water
- 115 grams / ½ cup baking soda
- Course sea salt
- Place the lukewarm water and yeast in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the flour, sugar and salt in a separate bowl and stir together, creating a well in the center.
- Pour in the bubbly yeast mixture, add the softened butter, combining until a dough has formed.
- Knead until it is a smooth dough, approximately 8 minutes by hand or 5 minutes with a hand mixer.
- Add 1 tablespoon neutral oil to the base of your bowl and add the dough, covering and allowing to rise for 30 minutes.
- Cut into 6 equal slices and roll out to 23-25 inches.
- To form the pretzel, shape into a 'U' and twist twice, bringing the twisted ends down at the '4 and 8 o'clock' marks on the base of your dough.
- Dab a fingertip of water underneath the end and press to lightly into the dough to stick down.
- Place on a tray and refrigerate for an hour, uncovered.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400F and line 2 flat pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Next bring the 8 cups of water to a rolling boil in a large pot.
- Add the baking soda carefully as it will bubble a lot, but die down.
- Add one pretzel into the water and boil on 1 side for 10 seconds before careful flipping over and continuing with the other side.
- Remove and set on the prepared tray, continue par boiling the remaining pretzels and place each on your baking tray's, allowing 2 inches between each.
- Sprinkle over your course sea salt and place in the oven to bake until they are a deep golden color, approximately 24 minutes.
- Remove and allow to cool.
- Enjoy, with a little mustard on the side.
- Why refrigerate the unbaked pretzels: To achieve your nice golden chewy exterior you shouldn't skip this step as refrigerating helps to dry out the pretzels prior to parboiling which is the key to that famous pretzel taste.
- Using baking soda instead of lye when boiling the pretzels: For a safer and more accessible approach for home bakers, we recommend substituting lye with baking soda or bicarbonate soda. You'll be pleased to find that the results are just as impressive, offering the authentic pretzel flavor you crave.
- You can freeze them: The soft and salty homemade pretzels can be frozen for up to 3 months where they will taste as just as good as fresh once defrosted.
Subscribe to receive a free weekly newsletter using seasonal produce as well as exclusive content!
Made it and loved it?
If you have made this recipe, it would mean so much to leave a review below to help more people find this.