Squishy Soft Homemade Pretzel Rolls
These Soft Homemade Pretzel Rolls are an easy recipe to make yourself. Perfect for a sandwich or homemade hamburger buns, they are so versatile and delicious.
When we lived in Los Angeles, my company used to order boxed lunches from a deli called The Corner Bakery. The food was decent, but what made me super excited on Corner Bakery day was that my sandwich came on a pretzel roll.
Soft. Salty. Pillowy. I’m not sure what little world I was living in to not have had pretzel rolls until my mid-twenties. But once I found them, I had no intention of letting them go.
When we moved back to Washington, there were no Corner Bakeries. Which was fine, because we were so broke that going out to eat wasn’t even a possibility. But learning to make my own totally was!
What Makes Pretzel Rolls Different From Bread?
I am so very glad you asked! Pretzel rolls/bread have a soft and chewy coating on the outside. They are essentially soft pretzels in bread roll form. Picture something like a bagel but in roll form. And then little moonbeams coming out of them because they’re ammmmazing!
With that gorgeous chewy outside, you give that bread the perfect surface for just the right amount of kosher salt to be sprinkled on top.
What Ingredients are in a Pretzel Roll?
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Bread flour
- Vital Wheat Gluten
- Sea Salt
- Kosher Salt
- Honey (use sugar if you’re vegan)
- Olive Oil
- Baking soda! Baking soda is the magical ingredient that creates that chewy outside on the pretzel rolls. So simple, right?
I use the exact same dough recipe for Soft Squishy Homemade Pretzel Rolls that I use for Simple Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread.
How to Make Perfectly Round Rolls
How to Make Pretzel Rolls – Step by Step:
- Combine water, honey (sugar if you want to make this vegan), and yeast. Stir and let it sit until it’s fluffy and full of bubbles. The amount of time this takes depends on the temp in your house. Aim for about 20-30 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and knead in a stand mixer using the bread hook. No stand mixer? Add the flour cup by cup if mixing by hand. And congrats, because your arms are about to be cut and totally on point. Invest in tank tops.
- Remove the dough from the bowl when it becomes one mass and is no longer shaggy. Drizzle olive oil in the bowl, turn the dough to coat in the oil and cover the bowl with a damp towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm location until it has doubled in size (1-2 hours).
- After it has doubled, punch that ish down and knead it for another 30 seconds.
- Pinch off 2 inch-sized pieces of dough (something between a golf ball and a tennis ball) and place on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and let rise until doubled in size (about 45 minutes).
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees with both racks offset in the middle by one rung (basically, get both racks as close to the middle as possible).
- In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Carefully add baking soda (you may get some foaming action) and carefully place 3 balls of dough into the water. Flip after 30 seconds.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the dough balls from the water and place on the parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Sprinkle with Kosher salt. Repeat with the rest of the dough until they have all been boiled.
- Bake for 10 minutes then rotate the pans and bake for another 7-10 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown and you want to name them Fluffy McFlufferkins and use them as pillows.
- Transfer rolls to a baking rack and allow to fully cool before storing. There is approximately 0% chance that you’ll be able to resist snagging one and slathering butter all over it while the others are cooling. It’s ok. Embrace your instincts and just do it.
Recipe Notes on Making Squishy Soft Homemade Pretzel Rolls
- Don’t rush the initial process when combining the water, honey/sugar, and yeast. Really give it time to develop all the amazing air bubbles possible. This mass, called a “sponge”, is the starting point for making these pretzel rolls bouncing and squishy.
- You don’t have to use whole wheat flour; all-purpose or bread flour will absolutely work. The whole wheat adds a layer of depth and flavor to these rolls and makes them a bit healthier.
- That being said, I get more picture-perfect round rolls when I use bread flour. The whole wheat rolls are still delicious, but a bit less, um, photogenic.
- The warmer your house, the faster the rolls will rise. In the winter I have been known to place trays of rolls near heating vents, our wood stove, or a sunny window.
- Bread usually rises better on rainy days due to the humidity in the air.
- When you add the baking soda to the boiling water it will foam up and may cause some “splashback” onto your stove. Add the baking soda carefully!
- Store the cooled rolls in an air-tight container at room temperature. Make sure they are 100% cool before storing. Any moisture trapped with the pretzel rolls will render the kosher salt on top mushy.
- You can freeze the rolls in a freezer-proof Ziploc. Simply let them come to room temperature or microwave for 20 seconds.
Other Homemade Bread Recipes You Will Love:
- Whole Wheat Pizza Dough in Your Kitchenaid
- No Knead Bread
- Red Lobster Biscuits – Homemade and 100% Whole Wheat
- Cheesy Garlic Bread – AKA Crack Bread
- Roasted Garlic and Asiago Cheese No Knead Bread
People who don’t bake will find any sort of homemade bread a magical feat of amazement. But then you go and bust out homemade pretzel rolls at a dinner party, and you’re straight up blowing minds and winning hearts. The idea of a few select ingredients, some patience, and a baking soda bath creating something so amazing is like a solar eclipse.
A solar eclipse that is the spotlight in a unicorn variety show.
Making this recipe or others?
Homemade pretzel rolls are chewy, salty, and oh so delicious. Making Squishy Soft Homemade Pretzel Rolls at home is easier than you could ever imagine.
- 2 cups hot water ~110 degrees
- 1 tbsp + 2 tsp active dry yeast You can use active dry or instant
- 1/3 cup honey preferably raw. Use sugar if vegan.
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 cup bread flour optional I use King Arthur Bread Flour
- 5 cups whole wheat flour if purchasing buy "whole wheat pastry" flour
- 5 tbsp vital wheat gluten
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- Kosher salt
- 2 quarts water
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the hot water and 1/3 cup honey. Stir to dissolve the honey. Add the yeast, and stir to combine. The yeast will not mix into the water completely; you just want to whisk it around a bit. This will create the "sponge". Set aside for about 30 minutes, or until the yeast has activated and more than tripled in size.
- Add the salt, olive oil, vital wheat gluten, bread flour, and whole wheat flour to the sponge. If you want a 100% whole wheat dough, omit the King Arthur bread flour, and add another cup of whole wheat flour, plus an additional 2 tbsp of vital wheat gluten.
- Using the bread hook on your mixer, mix the dough at mix speed "2" until it clings to the hook and almost all the dough is off the sides of the bowl. If the dough seems "shaggy" or is still sticking to the bowl, slowly add more whole wheat flour 1/4 cup at a time.
Remove the dough from the bowl. Drizzle olive oil in the bowl, turn the dough to coat in the oil and cover with a damp towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm location until it has doubled in size (1-2 hours). Rising time will depend on the temp in your house.
Once the dough has doubled, use the bread hook and mix the dough again at mixer speed "2" for about 30 seconds.
Pinch chunks of dough off (between golf ball and tennis ball size) and roll into a ball. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Let rise for about 45 minutes, or until doubled.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange your oven racks in the middle.
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add baking soda to the boiling water (careful, the water might foam a bit). Place 3 balls of dough into the water, and "boil" for 30 seconds on each side. Using a slotted spoon, remove the balls and place back on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake for 10 minutes, and then rotate the pans in the oven and bake for another 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Place on wire cooling racks, and allow to fully cool.
Store the rolls in an air-tight container at room temperature. Make sure they are 100% cool before storing. Any moisture trapped with the pretzel rolls will render the kosher salt on top mushy.
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This post was originally published in August 2011. It has been retested, updated with reader feedback, the recipe has been made printable, and new photos were added.