pretzel bread

Pretzel Bread

When I was in Fort Myers last summer visiting my cousin Jaime, she introduced me to pretzel bread.  I am a lifelong soft pretzel fan, but had never seen it in loaf form, just the usual twists and nuggets.  The bread Jaime had was rich and buttery with a golden pretzel “crust” and lots of coarse salt.  It was addicting and delicious, and once I had it, I knew I didn’t want to live without it.

It took me awhile to get working on a batch myself, but this weekend’s snowstorm gave me the perfect opportunity. The extra step where you boil the dough in a bath of baking soda is what makes it pretzel bread, but don’t be alarmed by the extra step. It’s easy and kind of fun.

pretzel bread recipe

After just 25 minutes in the oven, they were perfect.  Also, anything that gets melted butter slathered on it right out of the oven can’t be bad.

pretzel bread butter

Having two small loaves is helpful for portion control, but it also makes this pretzel bread recipe perfect for gift giving. If you can part with one.

pretzel bread

My house smelled like that pretzel stand at the mall. It was awesome – and dangerous.

pretzel bread sliced

In an attempt to be civilized, I decided to make mini grilled cheese sandwiches with the bread using Cabot shredded cheddar, sliced onions, and fancy mustard.  The results were heavenly.  One of my top grilled cheeses of all time…

pretzel bread grilled cheese

Make this bread.  Make it right now!  It’s that good…

Pretzel Bread
Adapted from Two Bites in Suburbia

1 packet (2 1/4 tsps) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 – 120 degrees)
2 Tbsp. milk, room temperature
1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
3 Tbsps. melted butter, room temperature
1 tsp. coarse salt
3 cups bread flour (spooned and leveled)

4 quarts of water
1/2 cup baking soda

Coarse salt to taste
2 Tbsps. melted butter


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, combine the yeast, water, milk, brown sugar, and butter.  Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes so the yeast come alive.
  • Mix in the coarse salt, then the flour, one cup at a time.  The dough will be tacky.
  • Spray a large bowl with cooking spray or coat with oil.  Transfer the dough to the bowl, flip to coat on both sides, and cover with plastic wrap for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.  Return the dough to the bowl, flip to cover both sides, and re-cover for an hour, or until roughly doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bring 4 quarts (16 cups) of water to a boil.  Gently deflate the dough and cut in half using a sharp knife or bench scraper.  Shape each half into a round loaf.
  • Slowly add the 1/2 cup of baking soda  to the boiling water (it will bubble).  Place one piece of dough onto a large slotted spoon and gently lower into the boiling water.  Use the spoon to flip the dough in the boiling water for around 20 seconds, then lift the dough out of the water with the slotted spoon – allow the excess water to drip back into the pot.
  • Set the dough onto a greased baking sheet.  Repeat the water bath with the remaining dough.  Sprinkle both rounds with coarse salt, then slash an X on the top of each with a sharp knife so the bread can expand while it bakes.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through.
  • Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter.
  • Enjoy like nobody is watching, meaning it’s okay to eat a whole loaf in one sitting.  You won’t be able to help it…

Yield:  2 small loaves

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65 thoughts on “Pretzel Bread

  1. Krista says:

    Yum! On my trips to Germany, I also make sure to get some pretzel rolls or bread. Definitely my favorite, but before your post I had never seen a good recipe to recreate. Not to mention the cheddar grilled cheese is right up my alley too. Lovely post!

  2. mgw says:

    Oh Aimee this looks sooo good. I know what I want you to make the next time you come home! I will happily let you mess up my entire kitchen too….

  3. erin says:

    as I was reading this I just kept saying “what what what what what???” in my head. I am so doing this. On a day that I am home alone. And don’t need to share!!

  4. Liz says:

    Grilled cheese is such a good idea with this bread. Although I would probably eat the whole thing by ripping off pieces before I had a chance to cut a slice…

  5. kellie@foodtoglow says:

    Total yum! I have never heard of pretzel bread but as soft pretzels are a weakness (luckily they don’t sell them here in Edinburgh or I’d be the size of a house) this must be tried. Loving the over-blown pale ‘split’, just like on the smaller, original version. I think this would be fabulous torn and dipped in honey-mustard.

  6. thelovecatway says:

    the pretzel bread looks delicious, and I love your idea to make a grilled cheese out of it! I would maybe even add some grilled jalapenos (although I tend to add them to pretty much every sandwich or burger I eat) and another cheese to have more than one (provolone or jarlsberg?). yours looked so tasty I just might do it right now!

  7. Hannah says:

    All right, I’m doing it. I finally found an excuse to make this. Tomorrow afternoon, we’re having a bunch of people over for lunch. The menu: Roasted cheddar broccoli soup, PRETZEL BREAD, and a delightful honey peach sorbet to top it all off. I can’t wait!

  8. Hannah says:

    Well, Aimee, I made the pretzel bread. And I was lucky I was able to grab some of the crusts before it vanished. :) We had 8 people over for lunch, and those two loaves of pretzel bread totally disappeared. It was SO good! Thank you thank you thank you for this post!!!! All the wonderful accolades I got from our guests today were SO gratifying, and I was so humbled and grateful to have had access to recipes like this to make people so enthusiastic about their food.
    Thanks a million.

    • Aimee says:

      Hannah, I am so delighted to hear that it was a success and that your guests enjoyed it! It is so humbling for ME to have someone make one of the recipes I post, and then share that it came out alright (phew!) – thanks for sharing and I hope you keep visiting!

  9. Amber says:

    Yummy! I think I need to try this. I’m also a fan of soft pretzels. After all, they go so well with beer. :) I also love Fort Meyers, FL. I spent a week there while in high school and have such fond memories. It’s always fun to bring back food memories from a good trip.

  10. Mary says:

    I just made this and it is sooo yummy! And it smelled so wonderful when it was baking in the oven. I followed the recipe exactly and came out perfect! Thanks for the great recipe!

  11. Devyn says:

    Is this one of those recipes that you can or cannot double straight off? There are some baking recipes that I never double because things don’t turn out the same….anybody doubled this one yet? IT was FANTASTIC when I made it with just the two loaves! Thanks in advance!

  12. superscout says:

    1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon warm water
    brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture.
    It’ll give it a deeper color and crunchier crust.

  13. Dorothy says:

    2013 is the year I start making bread, and I am starting with this!! Would you be so kind to tell me what exactly is “bread flour”, as I’m sure this must be critical to the taste and texture?

  14. Kay says:

    I made this bread today and it was absolutely outrageously delicious! So mad I didn’t double the recipe because it did not last. I know for next time. :)

  15. Vicki says:

    I know this is probably a silly question but I’ve never made bread before. Do I need to use the dough hook when mixing or just the regular paddle? Does it make a difference?

    • Aimee says:

      Hi Vicki – use the paddle to start, and when it’s clear the job’s getting too tough for it just stop the mixer and switch over to the hook. :)

    • Aimee says:

      Hi Jenna – the bread flour has a higher gluten content, so if you use AP it won’t rise as high, but should still come out fine. Let us know how it turns out!

  16. Sarah Cool says:

    I just made this bread and wanted to say thanks for a GREAT recipe! You made it super easy to follow along. I used regular AP flour for anyone reading, and it turned out great. YUM – this bread will be in regular rotation.

  17. hajo says:

    Umm, you are deflating the dough, shaping it round, soaking and then immediately baking it? No rise before baking? Hmmm, me confused…

    • Aimee says:

      Hi Hajo, The dough has a small rise, then is kneaded before the long rise, then is shaped and boiled for 20 seconds before heading right to the oven. They’ll look a little funny before they go in, but the heat works its magic and they come out beautiful.

  18. Minta Caine says:

    I saw this on Pinterest &, being a HUGE pretzel fan after living in Germany for 15 yrs, I have been very disappointed with others’ attempts to recreate an “echte Brezel” (real/true pretzel) in bread form (known as either “Brezelbrot” or “Laugenbrot”. “Laugenbrot” means “lye bread”, which you find pretzel-like products called in many areas of Germany.). I was therefore THRILLED to find your absolutely authentic recipe/method (minus the lye, but the baking soda does a fabulous job! I think it must be the amount used. Other recipes I’ve seen have used much less…& it has shown, in the very weakly-colored crusts). Looking at your proportions, I thought “hmmmmm….I wonder if I could make this using the Dutch Oven method?” (I have difficulty w/kneading, after hand surgery including the removal of a bone, a few years ago.) I did, & I’m thrilled, & I thought you might want to give it a try! Although I know sometimes a good session of kneading is greatly cathartic. ;)

    As per the method (I found it first at, I used rapid rise/bread machine yeast & decreased the amount to 1/2 tsp., increased the salt to 1.5 tsp. fine-crystal sea salt (the bath adds a saltiness, so I decreased that amount from the usual 1.75 tsp.) & increased the water to a scant 1.5 cups. I stirred the flour, yeast, salt, & brown sugar w/the water until it came together as a wet-ish dough (as is the par for the Dutch oven method), & then worked in the melted butter. Saran over the bowl, I left it on the counter for about 20 hrs.

    The next day, using plenty of flour on my hands & between the dough & the bowl, I worked the dough out of the bowl & onto a lightly-floured long, thin strip (I cut it in half, lengthwise) of parchment paper, & formed it into a tight ball. Covered w/Saran, I left it to rest & rise a bit more, while I preheated my oven & Dutch oven together for 30 min., at 425F. At the end of the 30 min., I dipped the dough into the bath, lowering it using the parchment. The dough floated :), so I used a ladle to continually cover it w/water while the 20 seconds ticked by. Back out via the parchment, a couple of sharp slashes & sprinkle of crunchy salt, into the Dutch oven, covered, & then all into the (regular) oven for 30 min. Usually, for this method, after 30 min. you remove the lid for another 15 min. of baking, but that was too long (I made this a few times to figure out all the particulars); the 30 min. (& lower temp. – usually it’s 450F) was perfect for the best Brezelbrot I’ve ever had! Thank you, thank you, thank you! My homesickness has abated (for now)! If I could only find Johannisbeer (a kind of red currant) & a great Johannisbeer Kuchen (cake) recipe. Think you could take that assignment on? ;-)

  19. Jill says:

    So glad I found this recipe – it’s our new favorite bread! It doubles easily and you get four delicious loaves instead of two!! Great for sharing!! Keep the dough tightly shaped in a round loaf as you drop in boiling water – otherwise it spreads and you get a flatter loaf!! Still delicious, but not nice and round!! You won’t be sorry you tried this!!

  20. Linda says:

    I don’t know if anyone will see this comment. I’m making this now, and it’s in for its second raise. The recipe doesn’t mention extra flour for the kneading, so I didn’t add any. Is this correct?!

    • Aimee says:

      Hi Linda, I found the dough to moist enough that it didn’t need extra flouring, but like all doughs, other factors like humidity can mean your dough might need a little extra. If it seems too sticky, feel free to add a little. Trust your hands! Hope you enjoy…

  21. Kim says:

    I know the likelihood of you seeing this comment is slim, BUT I have seriously made this bread more times than I can remember. I double it every time and bake it in loaf pans so we can use it as sandwich bread. I made hamburger buns out of it, and tonight I made dinner rolls by following the recipe exactly except I skipped the baking soda water. Seriously we love this recipe.

  22. Donna G. says:

    Excellent bread. My husband and I ate the entire first loaf for lunch. The bread texture is soft and flavorful. I would have liked to share the second loaf with a neighbor, but decided to save it for dinner instead. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  23. Brittany says:

    I have been making this recipients for over a year now and my family loves it. We make it for family get together, for burger buns and sometimes just to eat right out of the oven. Thank you so much for this recipe

  24. Donna G. says:

    I love the process of making bread and this recipe is among my favorites. Made it with our Pasta E Fagioli last night and it was wonderful. The texture and flavor of this bread is amazing and the loaves lovely. The baking soda bath may be intimidating at first, but well worth the effort. I have an enamelware pot that I use for this very purpose when not storing Christmas cookies. :-) Instead of bread flour, I add a tablespoon of wheat gluten to my unbleached flour: 1 T. gluten per 3 cups unbleached flour.

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