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Bavarian Pretzel Recipe

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These are awesome with slices of swiss cheese and salami!  And beer, of course.

Awesome but do you prefer baking soda method or lye method?


  • 1 Package active dry yeast (2 tsp)
  • Warm water (1/8 Cup-105°f/30ml-40°c)
  • Warm water (1 1/3 Cup/315ml)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs Brown sugar
  • Flour (4 1/2 Cups/520 grams)
  • Baking Soda method
  • Baking Soda
  • Pot of water
  • Lye method
  • 2 Tbs food grade lye
  • 1 quart/liter water

Dissolve yeast in 1/8-cup warm water and brown sugar. Stir in 1 1/3 cups warm water, add salt and flour. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. Dough does not need to rise.

Heat oven to 400°f.

For Baking soda method: In a saucepan, measure 2 tablespoons baking soda to each cup of water. Put enough water to fill the saucepan at least 3 inches high. Bring soda and water mixture to a light boil and set heat to simmer. Make sure the baking soda is well disolved.

For lye method: Use ONLY a glass bowl and plastic measuring and stirring utensils. Put 1 quart of water in the bowl first and then add the lye. Stir slowly and do not splash. Wear protective goggles and plastic gloves. Do NOT heat the lye solution!

Cut the dough into eight pieces. Roll a long thick pencil shape with your hands but keep the middle a little thicker. Pick up both ends, cross to form rabbit ears and then twist the ends and pull them back to the rest of the loop. Place aside on lightly floured surface and let rise 10 minutes or so.

Place pretzels one at a time in water/baking soda or lye mixture for 10-15 seconds. I use a large slotted plastic spatula. Push down with plastic utensil to ensure good coverage. Remove the pretzel from the bath (let drain a few seconds on the spatulas so you are not dripping) and place onto a pan lined with parchment paper.

Use a sharp knife and slit the fattest part of the pretzel. lengthwise. Salt the top of pretzels with course ground sea salt/pretzel salt. Place cookie sheet with pretzels into the oven for 18-19 minutes or until pretzel is to desired darkness. Pretzels made with lye will get quite dark and the tips should be hard. Pretzels made with baking soda will not get as brown. Enjoy while warm.

Fyi, you can get food-grade lye on Amazon.

Seems like lye is the way to go, if you can stomach the process.

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