These soft, easy German pretzel buns taste perfect with cheese sauce or beer cheese soup. Use these homemade rolls for amazing sliders or hamburger buns at your next Super Bowl party. Your family will gobble them up!
For the Dough
- 4 1/4 cups bread flour (500g)
- 1 tablespoon fast-action yeast (10g)
- 2 teaspoons fine-grained salt (10g)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (57g)
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar (20g)
- 2/3 cup whole milk (150 ml)
- 2/3 cup filtered water (150 ml)
For the Poaching
- 10 cups water (2.4 liters)
- 2/3 cup baking soda (167g)
- Kosher salt, for sprinkling
Making the Pretzel Bun Dough (25 minutes + 1 hour proving)
- Stir together the milk and water, then warm the liquid to 115 F.
- Pour the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl and stir in each one with your hand. Make sure the salt and yeast don’t touch each other directly, as the salt can slow down the yeasts’ growth or even kill it.
- Dump in the softened butter and dark brown sugar. Using the paddle attachment, blend on the mixer’s lowest speed, constantly trickling in a thin stream of the milk mixture as the dough is mixed. Continue adding the liquid until a sticky dough has formed; you may not need all the liquid.
- Once the dough is blended, switch to a dough hook and knead on medium-low speed until the bowl comes clean. Most importantly, the dough should pass the windowpane test. Break off a large clump of dough and stretch it between the thumb and forefinger of each of your hands. The dough should stretch until it’s translucent in areas without breaking. If it breaks, knead for 30 seconds to a minute longer and check again.
- Shape the dough into a smooth ball, place in a buttered bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough prove at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Shaping the Pretzel Buns (15 minutes + 1 hour proving)
- Line two 9 by 13-inch rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and punch it down all over to knock out the gas pockets.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, using a kitchen scale for accuracy. Roll each piece into a taut ball and space the buns well apart on the two prepared trays.
- Place each tray inside of a clean garbage bag. Inflate the bag and tuck the ends under the tray to seal. Let the buns prove inside the bags for until the dough just barely springs back when gently prodded with a fingertip, about 30-45 minutes.
- Put the covered trays in the fridge for 30-40 minutes to allow the dough to firm up some.
Poaching & Baking the Buns (30 minutes + 15 minutes baking)
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Once the dough has proved, pour 10 cups (2.4 liters) of water into a large Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Gradually add the baking soda, stirring to dissolve. Don’t add the baking soda all at once, because it fizzes up when it hits the boiling water. Turn the heat down to a simmer.
- Slide a thin metal spatula under one of the buns and gently place the bun in the simmering water. Allow it to float on one side for 15 seconds, then flip it over carefully and let it poach for another 15 seconds. Gently remove the bun from the water with a slotted spatula and place on a large wooden cutting board. Repeat with the other 11 buns.
- Use a thin metal spatula to transfer the buns from the cutting board to the two parchment-lined cookie sheets. Slash each bun in a cross shape with a baker’s lame or a very sharp serrated knife. Sprinkle as desired with coarse-grained kosher salt.
- Bake at 400 F for 13-15 minutes, until the buns are a deep brown and have an internal temperature of 190 F. Allow the buns to cool for a minute or two on the trays, then peel the buns off the parchment and let them cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
- Use bread flour. All-purpose flour doesn’t have a sufficient protein content to make chewy, high-rising yeast breads.
- Knead thoroughly. If the dough is under-kneaded, it won’t rise very high and will be dense and doughy. You should be able to stretch a lump of well-kneaded dough until it’s paper thin.
- Feeling authentic? Use food-grade lye instead of baking soda to poach the pretzels.
- Poach the buns for 15 seconds on each side. This is a crucial step for making pretzels, ensuring a moist, chewy bun with a thin, dark brown crust.
- Use a thermometer to see if the pretzels are done baking. Their crusts brown very quickly, so it’s hard to tell if they’re cooked just by appearance. They should have an internal temperature of 190 F on a meat thermometer.
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: German
Keywords: super soft pretzel rolls recipe, german pretzel buns