Homemade pretzel, authentic pretzels to make easy step by step

The Homemade pretzel, aka bretzel, is a type of German bread that is shaped like a bow. In fact, its name means “crossed arms” which alludes to its characteristic shape. To say that it is very popular not only in Germany, but in the countries with which it borders.

Perhaps in addition to this bread you also know the tiny and crunchy pretzels, in the shape of a cookie that are eaten as a snack. Here we are going to deal with the first ones, the soft and spongy ones that can be enjoyed on their own or with a little mustard. It is delicious!

A peculiarity of this type of bread is that prior to baking it is bathed in a solution with caustic soda. Its consumption is safe because the baking process transforms this substance into sodium bicarbonate, which is harmless.

However, since working with caustic soda requires great caution, protect yourself with gloves and so on, what we are going to use in our recipe is a safer alternative, easy and accessible: sodium bicarbonate. The result that we are going to obtain is practically like that of German bakeries.

To sprinkle on top, we have chosen to put only salt, which is undoubtedly the preferred option. However, you can also replace the salt with sesame seeds or even grated cheese. The process would be the same.

Pretzel accompanied with mustardDamian Serrano

recipe information

    • Preparation time: 30 minutes
    • cooking time: 20 minutes
    • total time: 3 hours and 15 minutes
    • rations: 10 pretzels
    • Category: loaves
    • type of cuisine: german
    • Calories per serving (kcal):207

Pretzel ingredients for 10 units

    • 500 g of flour of force
    • 6 g dry baker’s yeast (or 18 g fresh)
    • 1 spoon of sugar
    • 275 ml of water
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 25g butter
    • A little light oil or more butter for greasing
    • 30g baking soda
    • 2 egg yolks
    • coarse or flake salt
Ingredients for making pretzelsDamian Serrano

How to make homemade pretzels

In a bowl we put about 500 g of flour and make a hole in the center. Inside we put about 6 g of dry baker’s yeast or 18 g of fresh yeast. Eye! It must be yeast for making bread. The chemical booster in the biscuits is useless. We also put 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Prepare the pretzel batterDamian Serrano

On the other hand, we take about 275 ml of water and heat it a little, so that it does not burn. It has to stay warm. Ideally, it should not exceed 35ºC. Add the water to the flour and knead for about 5 minutes. No particular type of kneading is necessary.

Add water to pretzel batterDamian Serrano

Now add 1 teaspoon of salt and about 25 g of butter cut into small cubes. We knead to integrate. At first it may seem that the butter is not going to mix, but after a few minutes of kneading we will get a smooth and uniform dough. We let rest for 10 minutes and knead another 5. We repeat the process once more.

Knead the pretzel doughDamian Serrano

When we have our dough ready, we are going to form a ball with it. Grease a bowl with a little soft oil or more butter and place the dough inside. Cover with a slightly damp cotton cloth to keep it moist and let the dough rest at room temperature (or in the oven off with the light on) for a couple of hours or until it has doubled in volume.

Pretzel batter risenDamian Serrano

After the rising time has passed, we remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 10 equal parts of about 80 g each. Round each piece and let them rest for about 10 minutes covered with a damp cloth so that the dough relaxes.

Divide the pretzel batterDamian Serrano

Now we take a piece and shape it into a cord of about 60 cm, rolling with our hands from the center to the ends, so that the first one is a little thicker. If we see that the dough tends to shrink when stretched, we let it rest for a while and we start with the next one. When we have the string ready, we cross the ends twice (as seen in the photo) and fold the ends towards the center to give it the pretzel shape. We leave them again covered with the cloth for another 10 minutes.

Shape the pretzelsDamian Serrano

While the pretzels rest, we are going to prepare their bath. In a saucepan wide enough to hold 1 pretzel, put 1 liter of water and dilute 20 g of baking soda. Heat until it starts to boil. Then we lower the heat a little and cook each pretzel for 30 seconds. While we cook it, we constantly pour water over it with the spatula and make sure that it is always very hot but without boiling.

pretzel bathDamian Serrano

As we cook the pretzels, we remove them to two trays lined with baking paper. Once all are cooked, we preheat the oven to 220 ºC. Meanwhile, we beat 2 egg yolks with 1 tablespoon of water and paint the pretzels with this mixture. Finally, we sprinkle each pretzel with coarse salt or, better yet, with flake salt, and wait for the oven to reach temperature.

Paint with egg and sprinkle saltDamian Serrano

We put the trays with the pretzels in the oven and let them bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are golden to taste.

bake the pretzelsDamian Serrano

To finish, as soon as we take them out of the oven, we transfer them to a rack and let them cool there. Once cold they are ready to enjoy.

Rest the pretzels on a rackDamian Serrano

Easy preparation summary

    1. In a bowl, put the flour with the yeast and the sugar.
    1. Add the warm water and knead for 5 minutes.
    1. Add the salt and butter, and knead until integrated, let it rest for 10 minutes and knead twice
    1. Round the dough and put it in a greased bowl, cover and let it rest until it doubles in volume.
    1. Divide the dough into 10 parts, round and leave to rest for 10 minutes covered with a damp cloth
    1. Stretch each ball into a 60 cm roll and shape it into a pretzel, let it rest covered with the cloth for another 10 minutes
    1. Cook the pretzels for 30 seconds in water with bicarbonate of soda
    1. Preheat the oven to 220 ºC, beat the yolks with 1 tablespoon of water, paint the pretzels and sprinkle with salt
    1. Bake at 220ºC for 15 to 20 minutes
    1. Let the pretzels rest on a rack and serve