Bavarian Pretzels – This easy soft pretzel recipe brings a taste of Oktoberfest into your kitchen! This simple recipe is from Gesine Bullock-Prado’s cookbook, My Vermont Table: Recipes for All (Six) Seasons, and is inspired by her German heritage and life in Vermont.
Bavarian Pretzels – This easy soft pretzel recipe brings a taste of Oktoberfest into your kitchen! It makes soft pretzels without lye, using a baking soda bath instead for beautiful, golden brown pretzels with a soft texture! Gesine Bullock-Prado’s German heritage and life in Vermont inspire this Bavarian pretzel recipe, and is from her cookbook, My Vermont Table: Recipes for All (Six) Seasons.
In the evenings at our house, after dinner has been devoured, the kitchen cleaned, and the dishwasher humming quietly in the background, my husband declares, “It’s time for pretzel course.”
The pretzel course follows the dessert course and the periodic cheese course. It’s what he craves to round off the meal, and it has to be a specific type of pretzel. Giant, German-style pretzels sprinkled with coarse salt is the preferred choice, and I can’t help but sometimes wonder if this particular preference can be explained by his German heritage.
Whatever the reason, when I welcomed Gesine Bullock-Prado to the podcast to discuss her newly released cookbook, My Vermont Table: Recipes for All (Six) Seasons (affiliate link), I couldn’t help but get excited about her recipe for Bavarian pretzels. Gesine shares her German heritage in some of the recipes in her book, where the traditional flavors are very at home in her kitchen in Vermont.
As we chatted on the episode about the six (!) seasons of Vermont, cooking and baking with maple syrup, and Oktoberfest in Vermont, all I could think about was tackling her German soft pretzel recipe. I’m happy to report that several batches of pretzels later, my husband wholeheartedly approves. Pretzel course just got a whole lot better.
How to Make Bavarian Pretzels
The craft brewery scene in Vermont is huge, and a Bavarian Pretzel is the perfect thing to pair with their world-famous IPAs. Gesine’s German heritage inspires this recipe and is a great example of her savory baking.
This recipe makes soft pretzels without lye, using a baking soda bath instead for beautiful, golden brown pretzels with a soft texture!
How to Make Bavarian Pretzels
- Make the dough
In a mixer, combine the flour, malt syrup, yeast, and salt. Add lukewarm water and mix with a dough hook until the dough is smooth and shiny. This takes between 8 to 10 minutes.
- . Let the dough rise
Transfer the dough to a large, greased bowl, cover it, and let it sit in a warm (not hot!) place until it has doubled in size. This could take up to 1.5 hours.
- Shape and freeze the dough
Once it has had time to rise, roll the dough into a log and cut it into six equal portions. Shape the portions into a small round, cover, and let them sit for about 10 minutes.
Next, roll and stretch each portion into an 18- to 20-inch rope, leaving the middle thicker. To shape the pretzel, form the dough into a U shape and cross the ends twice, leaving the remaining ends about 3 inches long. Press the ends into base of U shape.
Place the shaped dough onto a baking sheet, wrap with plastic wrap, and put in the freezer until frozen solid — about 2 hours or up to 1 week.
- Prepare the pretzels for baking
Once the pretzels are frozen solid, and you’re ready to cook them, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and pour it into a heatproof bowl — just large enough to hold one pretzel. Dissolve baking soda in the bowl and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Then, one at a time, dip each frozen pretzel into the baking soda mixture for about 5 seconds, then turn and soak the pretzel for 5 seconds more.
Remove the pretzel and let the excess water drip back into the bowl. Return the pretzel to the baking sheet. Cover and let rest in a warm place one last time — for 1 to 2 hours, until puffy.
- Bake and Serve
As a final step before baking, brush the pretzels with egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt. Now, the pretzels are ready to be baked! Preheat the oven to 400°F and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven and let cool on a rack.
Serve them warm with a giant stein of Vermont beer, local sausage, a heap of homemade Sauerkraut, or a lovely side of Vermont Obazda (beer cheese).
Listen to the Podcast with Gesine Bullock-Prado
For more baking and Vermont-inspired recipes, check out my interview with Gesine Bullock-Prado in Episode 66 of the Kitchen Confidante Podcast!
More German-inspired Recipes
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of My Vermont Table to review for the Kitchen Confidante Podcast Episode 66 with Gesine Bullock-Prado. All opinions are, of course, my own. The post may have affiliate links; see my Disclosure page to learn more.
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 420 g (recommended: King Arthur)
- 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup or packed brown sugar
- 1 package instant yeast 1/4 oz or 7 g (recommended: Red Star Platinum Premium Instant Yeast)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water 105° to 115°F
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- Egg wash 1 egg whisked together with 1 tablespoon water
- 1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt Diamond Crystal or pretzel salt
- Whisk together the flour, malt syrup, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the lukewarm water, then fit the mixer with a dough hook and mix for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and shiny. Coat a large bow with nonstick cooking spray, transfer the dough to the bowl, and mist the top of the dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap; let sit in warm place until doubled in size (1 to 1 1⁄2 hours).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; coat with nonstick cooking spray. On a clean work surface coated with nonstick cooking spray, roll the dough into a 12-inch-long log; cut into six equal portions. Shape each portion into a small round and place on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap; let rest 10 minutes.
- Roll and stretch each portion into an 18- to 20-inch rope, leaving the middle thicker. Form into a U shape; cross the ends twice, leaving the remaining ends 3 inched long. Press the ends into base of U shape. Return the shaped dough to the baking sheet. Wrap with plastic wrap; freeze 2 hours to 1 week.
- Before baking, make sure the pretzels are frozen solid. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and pour into a heatproof bowl just large enough to hold one pretzel. Add the baking soda and stir until the soda dissolves. Let the mixture come to room temperature. One at a time, dip each frozen pretzel into the baking soda mixture for 5 seconds, then turn and soak for 5 seconds more. Lift out the pretzel and let the excess water drip back into the bowl. Return the pretzels to the baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap coated with nonstick cooking spray; rest in warm place for 1 to 2 hours, until puffy.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Brush the egg wash on the pretzels. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on racks.