The Swabian Pretzel rolls are our favorite when it comes to the German baking culture! They taste best when freshly baked with some butter. There are US stores who sell the pretzel rolls but they are not quite the same. Some are too sweet and the brown crust is different. We found an authentic and proven recipe for you, you just need Natron which is part of the lye that makes the brown crust. Happy Baking!
680 g all purpose flour (in Germany it would be Type 405, see below)
– Click here to go to All About Flour –
30 g fresh or dry yeast (1 package is for 500g)
approx. 400 ml water
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
coarse salt to sprinkle
3 EL Natron or food grade lye
– Mix yeast with flour, salt, sugar and water. Amount of water depends on the quality of the flour, you might need less or more. So don’t add full amount of water. Start with half then add more as needed.
– Knead until you get a smooth dough. Place in a bowl, cover with kitchen clot, let rest for 30-60 min.
– Sprinkle flour on a smooth surface or a wooden baking board. Form the rolls (see the video how this is done properly as it is a special technique). One roll should weigh 75-80g.
– Let formed rolls raise for another 30 min. Form them, if needed, again.
– Pre-heat oven to 220 C (convection 190 C) or 420 F / 375 F.
– Place parchment paper on baking tray.
Make the Lye
– Dissolve Natron in 1 liter water and bring to a boil. Watch out, the water will get very foamy!
– By using a slotted spoon place 3 or 4 rolls into the lye and let boil for 1 min, turn them.
– Remove with slotted spoon and place on the baking tray.
– With a sharp knife cut the roll crosswise on top.
– Sprinkle with coarse salt.
– Bake on medium rack for 17-20 min.
If you want to freeze the rolls don’t use the coarse salt. Add it before you will bake the rolls.
From the same dough you can also make pretzels or pretzel sticks.
What is Natron?
A naturally occurring mixture of sodium carbonate de-cahydrate (a kind of soda ash) and around 17% sodium bicarbonate (also called baking soda, NaHCO3) along with small quantities of sodium chloride and sodium sulfate. But it is not the baking soda as you find it in American super markets. It is a bit different. In the USA they use the food grade lye and Amazon carries it. It can be the alternative.
The German brand Dr Oetker carries Natron, we found it on Amazon (see below),
Video shows how German rolls get the typical form, it’s called “Rundschleifen” in German