Confession #114: I CRAVE Soft Pretzels… Pretzel Rolls

by alexandra

Post image for Confession #114: I CRAVE Soft Pretzels… Pretzel Rolls

 I’ve talked about my love for soft pretzels before. I also said I don’t like salt on my pretzels – nix that.

Homemade Pretzels Rolls sprinkled with sea salt are where it’s at.

I’ve never been much of a fast-food girl, but soft pretzels are about as close as I get. You know the kind – the ones from the mall, or the amusement park.  I love them dipped in cheese, sprinkled with Parmesan with a side of marinara, or doused in cinnamon sugar. Normally I would have no interest in something sold from a cart and served with mysterious cheesy sauce, but pretzels have always been the exception to the rule.

Pretzel Rolls from Confessions of a Bright-Eyed Baker

The last time I bought one though, I was left disappointed. Seriously disappointed. Because who wants a not-so-soft soft pretzel with salty cheese sauce that doesn’t even taste like cheese? Not me; but that’s what I got. Luckily, I can take matters into my own hands, and make these.

These Pretzels Rolls are beyond awesome, like the glorified version of everything I’ve ever loved and craved about soft pretzels, but in homemade, roll form. Or burger bun form ← talk about taking it up a notch. Serve them with mustard, serve them with cheese sauce (homemade please), or just eat them plain, and I guarantee you’ll be in love.

Pretzel Rolls from Confessions of a Bright-Eyed Baker

Kick those fast-food pretzels to the curb, will ya?


Pretzel Rolls from Confessions of a Bright-Eyed Baker

Pretzel Rolls

  • Yield: 16 rolls or 8 buns


These Pretzel Rolls taste just like the traditional pretzels you known and love, but are made from scratch! They’re perfect plain or dipped into mustard, but you can also make them into pretzels buns for an extra-tasty burger.



  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled


  • 8 cups water
  • 1/4 cup baking soda

Glazing and Topping:

  • 1 egg
  • sea salt (or pretzel salt or kosher salt), for sprinkling


  1. Pour the water into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the yeast and sugar, stirring to combine. Let sit until foamy, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add the flour, salt, and melted butter to the yeast mixture and use the dough hook on lowest speed to knead the ingredients together for 5 minutes. By the end of this period, you should have a smooth dough centered on the hook and no longer clinging to the sides of the mixing bowl. If the dough is still sticky, sprinkle on a bit more flour and continue to knead until it is incorporated.
  3. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and tucks the ends underneath to form a ball with a smooth top. Place in a greased bowl about double its size and cover with a towel. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-2 hours. If you’d like do an overnight rise and bake the rolls the next morning, place the dough in the refrigerator for the first rising instead (see notes).
  4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. Punch down the risen dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the ball of dough like you would a pizza into 16 equal pieces (or 8 for burger buns). Take each piece and smooth and stretch the top, tucking the ends underneath and pinching them together at the bottom so that you have a smooth ball of dough. Place pinch-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Cup your hands around the sides of the dough ball and rotate it gently in your palms to smooth it more. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough. Cover shaped dough with plastic wrap and leave to rise again until doubled in size and puffy, about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 425°F with the oven racks positioned on the bottom and middle levels. Place the poaching water in a medium saucepan, stir in the baking soda, and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, lightly beat the egg for glazing.
  6. Dunk each roll pinch-side down into the water, let it sit for 30 seconds, flip it over, and let it sit for another 30 seconds. Use a large slotted spoon or a tea strainer – something larger in scoop size than the roll – to remove it from the water and flip it back over, right-side up, onto the baking sheet again. (I have a fairly shallow 3-1/2″ tea strainer that worked perfectly for this.) Once you get the hang of the process, you can poach more than one roll at once; just be sure to leave enough room to maneuver the spoon or sieve around as you flip and remove the rolls. Keep the rolls spaced at least an inch apart on the baking sheet.
  7. Brush all exposed areas of the poached rolls with the egg and sprinkle the tops with sea salt (or salt of choice). Slash across the middle of each roll with a serrated knife, using a back and forth motion to create a fairly deep gash.
  8. Bake the rolls in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, switching and rotating the trays halfway through the baking time, until the rolls are golden-brown and sound hollow when tapped at the base. Cool slightly before serving. Store in an airtight zip-top bag; leftover rolls can be reheated in the microwave wrapped in a light kitchen linen.


For Overnight Rise:
Place the dough in the refrigerator during the first rising. The following morning, take it out, punch it down gently, knead lightly to smooth it out, and continue with the recipe as instructed. The rolls may need a longer time for the second rising, but you can speed the process along by letting them rise in a warm oven. (If your oven has a bread proof setting, use that. Otherwise, you can turn the oven on as if preheating to 350°F and allow to warm up for ONLY 1-2 minutes. Then, turn it off, cool briefly if needed so the oven is just warm, and place the rolls inside to rise.)

Recipe slightly adapted from Stress Cake, originally adapted from Alton Brown

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Laura (Tutti Dolci) March 8, 2013

These rolls look so tasty, homemade is always better!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) recently posted..maple-glazed carrot spice sconesMy Profile

Julia | March 8, 2013

Oh, these rolls look so good! I’d love to have one … but not bake one! I am still not too comfortable with yeast, it seems like a whole new learning curve to conquer.
Julia | recently posted..Apple cinnamon yogurt pancakesMy Profile

alexandra March 11, 2013

You should just dive in! Yeast really isn’t difficult to work with, it just has a reputation for being intimidating somehow. One thing about yeast doughs that I really like is that usually you can judge what your dough needs to look like and adjust things as you go, as opposed to a no-yeast batter where once the dry and wet are combined, you don’t have much wiggle room before you start over-mixing things. If you want to try out a super easy yeast bread recipe though, I would suggest this one. It’s literally fool-proof! :)

Ashley March 11, 2013

I’m totally with you – I’m not a fan at all of fast-food but I do love soft pretzels. Love the idea of them in a roll form! I bet these are so so good just plain… I could easily polish a few of these off! lol
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alexandra March 12, 2013

Omg they are SO good! This is probably one of my favorite bread/roll recipes ever.

Andrea March 12, 2013

Made this last night – could NOT believe how fool proof they were! I was very intimidated about the whole boiling/rising since i am very new to making bread products! But these turned out PERFECTLY and i snarfed down like 2 straight from the oven and slathered them with butter. Absolutely will make these again! Thanks for sharing!

alexandra March 12, 2013

That’s so great!! I’m really happy you gave them a try despite your intimidation. The poaching process does seem a little daunting at first, but once you start doing it you kind of get the hang of it. Thanks for letting me know about your success with the recipe! :)

Hari Chandana March 13, 2013

Wowwwww…. Looks simply amazing.. First time here.. Happy to follow your space :)

alexandra March 14, 2013

Thank you! I’m glad you got to check out the blog!

Ellen @ Indigo Scones March 21, 2013

Gorgeous! These remind me of a Two Broke Girls episode, in a good way :)
And I hear you, I loooove soft pretzels, and that even that nasty cheese you can dip it in. Guilty pleasure, most definitely.
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Britlover272 March 17, 2014

SO AMAZING!!! YOU HAVE TO MAKE THESE THINGS!!! AHHHHHH!!! I love these soooooo much! My whole family loves them! MAKE THEM!!! Don’t let the poaching thing discourage you! It’s super-dee-duper easy! And so tasty!

alexandra March 17, 2014

Aww I’m so happy you were so thrilled with them! You should definitely try these Cheese and Jalapeño Pretzel Rolls too. :) They’re like this but WITH CHEESE!

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