Stack of homemade German Pretzel Buns

INCREDIBLE Recipe for Pretzel Buns

This incredible recipe for Pretzel Buns makes buns that are dense and salty, soft on the inside and a little chewy. Exactly the way a true German Pretzel should be! These Pretzel buns come together quickly and easily and freeze beautifully!

Easy but INCREDIBLE Pretzel Buns

Making pretzel buns at home can seem to be intimidating but these incredible pretzel buns are so easy to make at home, you’ll be making them all the time!

This pretzel dough is so easy and only requires a few ingredients that you probably already have at home. The one exception is the Diastatic Malt Powder. This ingredient is optional and we’ll talk about what it is below.

Honestly, there is only about 10 minutes of hands-on time to make this dough and then you just wait for it to rise. Shape the buns quickly, rise again and then boil a couple at a time. This adds about 5 minutes to the hands-on time.

Then just brush with egg wash for a nice golden brown crust, sprinkle with sea salt – LIBERALLY is best in my opinion! – and BAKE.

Trust me, you can do this! Mix them up now and have them for dinner!

Recipe for Dark brown pretzel buns

Using Baking Soda to make Pretzels Buns

This recipe uses a baking soda bath to boil the pretzels just before baking. This is what gives the pretzels that deep, dark crust and signature pretzel flavor.

Commercial bakeries use lye instead of baking soda. Lye needs to be handled with EXTREME care as it can cause burns to any skin it touches as well as being dangerous to inhale or even get the fumes into your eyes.

That’s a lot of danger and I prefer to steer clear of it!

Luckily, there is a simple method that replaces the lye bath and you already have it in the cabinet. BAKING SODA.

Simply boiling water and baking soda together creates a high-pH bath that simulates the effects of lye. This will give the pretzels their signature flavor and dark brown crust.

This step simply must not be skipped, whether you are making pretzel buns, knots, bites or traditional twisted pretzels. Luckily, it is simple and only takes a minute or two!

What is Diastatic Malt Powder?

There is one ingredient in this recipe that you may not have on hand – Diastatic Malt Powder.

Diastatic Malt powder is made from barley grain and is used to increase enzymatic activity in bread dough. This allows more of the starches to be broken down into sugars that the yeast can use as food. The extra sugar helps to promote browning through caramelization, which might otherwise be lacking in a slowly processed dough and/or sourdough. Basically, It helps to improve the dough texture, volume, and flavor while also increasing the golden-brown crust.

These benefits are huge and I use diastatic malt powder in a lot of my bread recipes, especially those that have a very slow rise ie sourdough, baguettes, etc.

But, if you don’t have diastatic malt powder, you have two options.

  1. Buy some. Here is the link to the brand that I use. I buy it from amazon and a bag lasts for quite a long time since you only need a teaspoon or two for most recipes.
  2. Make this recipe without it.

Yes, you can absolutely be successful with this recipe without the diastatic malt powder! There is enough yeast in this recipe to raise the dough. The texture and flavor are already incredible and the egg wash will give you a beautifully browned crust.

So if you don’t want to buy malt powder or don’t have the patience to wait, make this recipe without. Your pretzel buns will be INCREDIBLE!

FYI – some of the photos in this post have buns WITH diastatic malt powder and some photos WITHOUT it. Can you tell the difference?? Probably not! The moral of the story is…diastatic malt powder gives your dough a boost but is not absolutely necessary.

Recipe for Dark brown pretzel buns

These Incredible Pretzel Buns are delicious to be eaten on their own, as sandwich buns or hamburger buns. Or just slather on a little butter and enjoy!

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Pretzel Bites

Homemade Cracker Jacks

Pizza Dough


Recipe by Tanya OttCourse: Appetizer, BreadDifficulty: Moderate


Hands On Time


Total Time





These incredible Pretzel Buns are dense and salty, soft on the inside and a little chewy. Exactly the way a true German Pretzel should be! These Pretzel buns come together quickly and easily and freeze beautifully!


  • 500 grams (4 cups) all-purpose flour

  • 7 grams (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 300 mL (1 1/4 cups) warm water, about 100F – 110F

  • 1 teaspoon diastatic malt powder (optional)

  • 40 grams (2.75 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • 3 tablespoons baking soda

  • 960 mL (4 cups) water

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten

  • 1 tablespoon sea salt flakes


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the dough hook, combine the flour, yeast, and salt for about 30 seconds, until well combined
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the 300mL warm water and the butter.
  • Add the butter/water mixture to the flour mixture and mix for about 4 minutes.
  • If you are making the dough by hand without a stand mixer, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until you have a smooth and elastic ball of dough, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let the dough rise in a warm place until double in size, about one hour.
  • Shape the Buns
  • When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, take it out of the bowl, and knead it for about 30 seconds.
  • Divide the dough into 10 equal portions (about 85 grams each).
  • Dust your hands with flour, take one portion of dough shape by stretching the sides down and into the bottom center. Roll the dough on the counter under your cupped hand until the top is round and firm and you can feel the tension increasing against your hand, about 10 seconds. This creates surface tension and prevents the rolls from deflating and becoming flat. Place the roll on the parchment paper and repeat with the remaining dough.
  • Cover the rolls with a towel and let rise in a warm place until puffy, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Boil the Buns
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a large pot wide enough to fit 2 rolls at once, bring the 4 cups of cold water to a boil. Add the baking soda carefully – it will foam up a bit. Stir briefly.
  • With a slotted spoon, gently slip 2 rolls into the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds. Flip them both over and cook for another 30 seconds, being careful to not let them stick to each other. When you remove the buns from the water, make sure to drain thoroughly through the slotted spoon. Transfer the rolls the parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining buns.
  • Bake the Buns
  • Using the tip of a sharp knife, score a cross on top of each roll, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake the pretzel rolls until golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.
  • Transfer the rolls to a wire rack to cool slightly.


  1. Gary Stortz

    The buns were wonderful. Thanks!

  2. Gary Stortz

    You mention in line 1 to add flour yeast and salt. Salt is not in the ingredients list.

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