Introduction: Pretzel-ized Dough or Pretzel-lyed Dough?

About: I have a degree in Electronics Engineering and various certifications in all kinds of internet programming languages. Professionally, I have over 20 years of experience in various roles including an electronic…

Make delicious pretzel-ized baked goods. Pizza, calzone, rolls (stuffed or not), and yes, even pretzel shapes, to delight your guests and bring about great envy to others.

Step 1: Ingredients and Tools

When selecting your flour and yeast, keep in mind that the quality and freshness of your ingredients with come through in the finished product.

Dough Ingredients

  • 3 cups lukewarm water, 110-115 degreesF *Yeast dies at 138 degreesF*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (or heaping tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant dry yeast ( such as SAF-Instant )
  • 2 teaspoons - 1 tablespoon Diastatic Malt Powder, 1 lb.
  • Optional: ( Sourdough Starter )
  • 36 ounces (6 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour


  • 4 ounces salted or unsalted butter, melted
  • pretzel salt or any coarsely ground salt.
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dusting
  • vegetable oil and flour or Baker's Joy spray for preparing the tins.
  • 1 egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water OR


  • 2 Muffin or cupcake tins
  • kitchen brush
  • pizza cutter and/or plastic squeegee or dough cutter
  • dough rolling-pin
  • rubber kitchen gloves or disposable gloves
  • safety goggles
  • safety nose and mouth mask
  • spray Bottle 16oz. or more.
  • 4-6 Qt. lidded plastic container.

Step 2: Assemble the Dough

The easiest way to make the dough is by placing a large lidded plastic container on your kitchen scale. Zero it out and fill the container with flour. Now you can add the remaining dough ingredients: water, yeast, salt, diastatic malt powder and sugar. Use a kitchen spoon to combine. Once it has come together it is ready to be lidded and refrigerated at least over-night, up to a week or until it smells bad ;-)

If you would rather not have to wait, and/or prefer steps that are more traditional then I really enjoy this Instructable if you are using a bread machine or Instructables Guide Baking Bread

Step 3: Let It Rest and Rise

  • Wait for the dough to rest overnight.

DAY 2:

On baking day, prepare your work surface. I use a plastic pastry mat to work on but you can choose any clean surface that's available. Apply a liberal amount of flour as pictured.

Step 4: Shape, Divide, Roll It Out

  • Remove the dough from the container and onto the floured surface.
  • I will describe my personal technique for working with the dough rather than the textbook version.
  • Make sure the surface of the dough is lightly covered with flour. I typically do this by flopping the dough around the surface and letting it collect flour as I move it into place. Once I've loosely shaped the dough into a rectangular mass, I begin the shaping process by folding it in on itself. I typically fold the sides under left and right, then top and bottom curling the dough under itself to form a ball shape and then back into a rectangle.
  • Next I divide the dough into quarters using a dough scraper / plastic squeegee / pizza cutter. Fold each cut piece back into a ball.
  • Start rolling out each ball into whatever you've decided to make pretzel-ized.

I'm demonstrating the fantan-style rolls in the pictures because they are more complicated.

Step 5: Layer and Divide

When making the fantan-style pretzel rolls, we will roll out each quarter of dough.

  • Melt a 4oz. stick of butter in a microwave safe cup.
  • Use a kitchen brush to apply the butter to each layer, stacking one sheet of dough on top of the other.
  • After the last sheet of dough is stacked on to the pile, roll out the dough so that it compresses doubling in size.
  • Using a pizza cutter, divide the dough into 1" x 2" strips. Start in the center and work outward, making divides until you reduce to about 1" inch strips. Do the same in the horizontal/vertical making strips that are about 2" inches in length.

Step 6: Let It Rise in the Pan

For fantan-style rolls, shape by placing each stack of layered-dough into the muffin tins.

Other dough styles should be placed in their respective baking pan.

Loosely cover with plastic wrap or parchment.

  • Wait about 30-60 minutes depending on the temperature, humidity, and position of the moon. The dough should approximately double in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. by turning it on and waiting another 15-30 minutes.

Step 7: Optional Lye Treatment

If you are not comfortable working with potentially hazardous chemicals, such as bleach, then do not following the following steps. Instead, I recommend an egg yolk with tablespoon of water to brush over the dough.

Lye?As in Caustic Soda? Like Drain Cleaner? You mean Sodium hydroxide? NaOH?

Why in the world would we want this in our food? Well, technically it is not present in the pretzels when you eat them. By applying the lye/water solution to the pretzel dough, a chemical reaction occurs while baking them, the resulting crust is crisp and unmatchable. During the baking process the toxic properties of the sodium hydroxide are removed.

Learn more about the chemical reaction and cautions from this article: For A Proper Pretzel Crust, Count On Chemistry And Memories

If you're serious about the pretzel flavor and texture:

Additional Ingredients and Supplies

2 cups water (16 oz.)

1 spray bottle (food-grade) or kitchen brush.

1 ounce dry lye (food-grade)


  • safety googles ( avoid eye contact )
  • rubber kitchen gloves ( avoid skin contact ) or at least disposable gloves.
  • mouth and nose breathing mask ( avoid breathing lye fumes )

Step 8: Safety First! Suit-Up!


  • safety googles ( avoid eye contact )
  • rubber kitchen gloves ( avoid skin contact ) or at least disposable gloves.
  • mouth and nose breathing mask ( avoid breathing lye fumes )

if you do get it on you, and if you're like me, you eventually will, wash it off with cold water until your skin no longer feels slippery.

It would be a good idea to spray the dough outside of your house or in the kitchen where you can use a fan to blow air out while spraying.

  • Add 1 ounce or about two tablespoons of lye beads to the spray bottle or other plastic container.
  • Fill the bottle to the 16oz.measurement line with luke-warm tap water.
  • Return the spray head to cap the bottle and give it a little shake.

Wait at least 5 minutes before using the spray or brushing. Spray or brush the rolls when they are ready to be inserted into the preheated-oven. I apply a liberal amount so that all dough is covered with the lye solution.

Step 9: Is Salt Optional?

  • Add a coarsely ground salt now before inserting into the oven.

Step 10: Bake

We need the oven to be HOT! Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  • Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until the cooked dough reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F,
  • Rotate the pan halfway through baking.
  • continuing baking 5 - 10 minutes for rolls, calzones, or thicker.

Step 11: Wait for It

  • Let them rest for 5 - 10 minutes before removing them from the pan.


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