German Pretzel Rolls (Laugenweck)

30 Dec

Closeup There is nothing like authentic German Pretzel Rolls hot from the oven.  I made these to bring to a friend’s house for Christmas Eve and everyone was raving about them all night.

The key to making these is that you must use Food Grade Lye better known as Sodium Hydroxide.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you can skip this step by using baking soda.  If you want the real deal you must use Sodium Hydroxide or the crust will not be dark brown like it is supposed to.  You must be careful of course when using this product and where protective gloves and long sleeves and goggles.  Do not ever add the crystals to hot water or you will cause the water mixture to over flow and probably burn yourself in the process.

You can order Sodiuym Hydroxide on-line through Amazon and it will take about 4-5 days to ship since it is considered dangerous cargo.

I followed this recipe from German Foodie as posted on the The Fresh Loaf and it worked out great.

Another note, don’t do what I did the first time and use parchment paper to line your cookie sheets.  I did this foolish thing and had to cut the paper off the bottom of most of the pretzel rolls.  Instead, use metal baking sheets and spray them heavily with cooking spray.  If they still stick you can simply use your dough scraper to loosen them from the baking sheet.

Make sure you have real pretzel salt as this will make a huge difference if you don’t.

They came out just as good the second time around as the first.  Next time I will start experimenting a little and try some with cheese stuffed inside and I may try adding some rye flour into a batch to make Pumpernickel pretzels.

I made double the recipe which makes around 20 pretzel rolls.

Make sure after you mix the dough you use a big enough container to let the dough double in size while in the refrigerator.

This post has been submitted to the Yeast Spotting Site here:


3 Responses to “German Pretzel Rolls (Laugenweck)”

  1. Veronika December 30, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    Those look great – I adore pretzels and pretzel rolls, but I am going to be one of those people who will disagree – you CAN achieve the same sort of crust with baking soda, you simply need to use more of it in the solution! I know, I’ve tried it. The pretzel salt IS a must, however!

    Now I am tempted to make those tomorrow for New Year’s Eve… and I would, had I not already sorted the bread out. Eh, there’s always next week!

    • mookielovesbread January 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

      Thanks Veronika for your comments.
      I have not tried using baking soda, only have read many posts where people have sworn that you must use the Lye to make them authentic. They do come out greating using the Lye and I will have to try an experiment to see if there really is a difference. Someone suggested baking the baking soda to make it more potent.
      Anyway, hope you had a great New Year’s Eve and have a great 2013.

      • Veronika January 2, 2013 at 5:39 am #

        Thank you, we did – and I hope you had a great one as well!

        The thing with baking soda is that it is an alkaline compound, same as lye, which causes the browning to intensify – it’s just simpler to use and much safer. Baking it won’t make it more potent (baking soda on its own doesn’t do much about the heat, similar to regular salt) – unless it was wet and you bake out the water, which would be minor.

        I believe they come out great using lye (NaOH), but considering how scarily potent that is (we can buy it here in a shop next to drano, granulated, but the only thing I use it for is cleaning drains!), a completely safe alternative is worth testing – I would love to hear your comments on comparison. The baking soda solution needs to be a lot more concentrated than lye to achieve the correct degree of gelatinization in the crust – I think I used something like 1/2 cup soda to 4 cups boiling water, but as I understand, the concentration needs to vary depending on whether you want to use cold or hot water (cold needs more soda).

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