Bavarian Pretzels cooling on a wire rack.

Bavarian Pretzels

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 cooling on a wire rack.
Bavarian Pretzels

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.

Bavarian Pretzels stacked in a baking pan.

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.

My Vermont Table cookbook on a table.

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

  1. 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. Dough for Bavarian Pretzels.

  2. . 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.Dough for Bavarian Pretzels, proofed.

  3. 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. Shaped Bavarian pretzels on a bakng sheet.

  4. 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. Dipping Bavarian pretzels in a baking soda bath before baking.

  5. 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).Bavarian Pretzels on a baking sheet.

Holding a bavarian pretzel.

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

How to Make Beer Bratwurst from Scratch
Blueberry Muesli
Chicken and Herb Spaetzle Soup
Spaetzle with Garlic Butter Mushrooms and Baby Kale
Brown Butter Pumpkin Spaetzle

Bavarian Pretzels in a baking pan.

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.

Bavarian Pretzels

Bavarian Pretzels – This easy soft pretzel recipe brings a taste of Oktoberfest into your kitchen! Gesine Bullock-Prado's German heritage and life in Vermont inspire this Bavarian pretzel recipe. It makes soft pretzels without lye, using a baking soda bath instead for beautiful, golden brown pretzels with a soft texture!
Bavarian Pretzels cooling on a wire rack.
Print This Pin This
5 from 1 vote
Course Bread, Snack
Cuisine German
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6 Pretzels
Calories 277kcal

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Excerpted from MY VERMONT TABLE: Recipes for all (Six) Seasons by Gesine Bullock-Prado Copyright © 2023. Used with permission of the publisher, Countryman Press. All rights reserved.
Notes from Liren:
If you’ve never made pretzels, it’s not difficult but time-consuming. Most of the time is hands-off when the dough is proofing. While it can be made in one day, splitting this recipe into two days makes it very manageable. Prepare and shape the dough (steps 1 through 3), then freeze until you are ready to bake the following day (or up to a week later).
Roll out the dough on a clean, unfloured work surface. The friction will help as you shape the dough into ropes for twisting.
Gesine recommends rolling the dough into 18-20 inch ropes before twisting. I found that rolling the ropes on the longer side (between 20-22 inches) makes it easier to form the pretzel shape with actual holes since the dough will puff up considerably.
 
Notes from author Gesine Bullock-Prado:
Oktoberfest season means pretzels. It also means sausage and other scrumptious things that go well with a giant stein of Vermont beer (preferably one of our world-famous IPAs). Aside from the beer, I serve these gorgeous pretzels with some Vermont Salumi Fiddlehead IPA Bratwurst, a heap of homemade Sauerkraut, and a lovely side of Vermont Obazda.”

Nutrition

Calories: 277kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 2342mg | Potassium: 92mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 0.003mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see! Tag @kitchconfidante on Instagram and hashtag it #kitchenconfidante

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  1. Sabrina

    5 stars
    love these, and only allow myself this many carbohydrates is when the splurge is worth it, like these, preferable even with mustard as strange as that may seem, thank you!

    Reply
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