Authentic German Pretzels

Authentic German Pretzels

Everyone from young to old loves pretzels, so let's try making them at home. If you put the dough in Laugenwasser (alkaline water) and bake it until it's crunchy, it will taste authentically German.

Ingredients: 6 rolls

◆Bread (strong) flour (type 550 in Germany)
500 g
1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon
20 g
Dry yeast
1 sachet (7 g)
Lukewarm water
250 ml
Coarse salt
to taste
For the Laugenwasser - alkaline water to poach the dough (2-4%)
Here I used 3%
Lukewarm water
1 liter
NaOH (food-grade lye)
30 g


1. Put the ◆ dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
2. Put the yeast in lukewarm water and dissolve. Add the yeast water and butter to the bowl and knead well. (or use a bread machine).
3. After kneading for 10 minutes, the dough will come together like this. This dough is on the stiff side.
4. Divide the dough into 6 portions, and round them off.
5. How to make pretzels: Roll out about 40 cm long, with thin ends and a fat middle.
6. Twist the ends together once, and make a heart shape. If the dough won't stick to itself, use a little water to help it stick.
7. I tried making other shapes too. Butter a baking tray. If you use parchment paper, the alkaline nature of the lye in the Laugenwasser may rip it.
8. Since you'll be using NaOH (lye), put on protective gloves and protective goggles.
9. Put the lye in a pan, and pour in lukewarm water. If you add boiling water the lye may spit, so don't do that!
10. Boil the formed dough from step 7 in the alkaline water. When the dough turns yellow take it out with tongs, and put in the buttered baking tray. Boil the dough for 15 to 30 seconds.
11. This is the dough after it's been poached. Can you tell that the dough has turned a bit yellow? Let it rest like this for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
12. Use a knife to slash the tops of the rolls, sprinkle on some coarse salt and put in the oven. (Be sure to put on gloves.) Bake for 15 to 20 minutes and they're done.
13. This is a Bretzel (pretzel). The name of the bread changes depending on the shape/
14. This is a Laugenstange.
15. This is a Broetchen (a little roll).
16. To make an alkaline Laugenwasser using bicarbonate of soda: Put 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda in 750 ml of water. I boiled the dough for 30 seconds per side. The color is different from the ones boiled in lye water, but they are just as delicious.

Story Behind this Recipe

I wanted to make this typical German bread, which I've always bought at home.