No-Knead Soft Pretzel Rolls
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Soft-crumbed with a nice chew, these no-knead pretzel rolls are perfect for sandwiches of all kinds: egg and cheese, turkey and brie, roasted vegetables and mozzarella. The dough takes no time to mix together, and time does the work from there. Simple and delicious!
At some point this summer, my youngest child introduced the family to pretzel rolls. She had tried one at her grandparents’ house and asked me if I could start buying them, which I did.
A bag of four soon proved not to be enough for the family. As soon as I would bring them home, the kids would break into the bag, savagely grabbing them as though they hadn’t eaten all day, as though they feared I might never buy them again. On our recent camping trip, my youngest, before going to bed, staked her claim on the last pretzel roll for breakfast, and when she awoke the following morning to find it eaten, tears ensued.
Friends, while these pretzel rolls from the local grocery store are good, they are nothing to write home about. I am still a little perplexed, in fact, by my children’s enthusiasm for them. Deeply brown in hue, like a dark rye bread, the rolls are not terribly inviting (for children anyway), and while the crumb is light, the crust (to me) tastes like cardboard.
After buying bag after bag of pretzel rolls, I had to try making them from scratch. The recipe below is the product of several experiments, which began with this favorite soft pretzel recipe. It yields a tender-crumbed but sturdy roll, with an irresistible very pretzel-y tasting crust.
In short, I’ve changed the recipe by increasing the water and reducing the yeast, which means the dough comes together without kneading and requires a long, slow rise. I like mixing the dough in the evening, shaping the rolls in the morning, then boiling and baking them around lunchtime. See the recipe box for timing variations.
Friends, I hope you love these pretzel rolls as much as I do. My children still have yet to use the rolls for sandwiches, favoring eating them whole, but I have been halving them, spreading them with pesto, and loading them with roasted red peppers, eggplant, arugula, and mozzarella. I think they’d make an excellent egg sandwich, and, around the holidays, they’d be wonderful to have on hand for leftover turkey or ham sandwiches.
How to Make Pretzel Rolls, Step by Step
First, gather your ingredients:
Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and instant yeast:
Then add the water and olive oil:
Using a spatula, mix until a shaggy dough forms:
Knead briefly with your hands just until a sticky dough ball forms:
Cover the bowl tightly with a lid:
And let rise at room temperature for 8-10 hours or until doubled in volume:
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface:
Divide the dough into 10 portions. Use as scale if you want evenly shaped rolls:
Ball up each portion:
Then transfer to a lightly floured, roomy vessel to proof:
I love these DoughMate lidded containers and can’t recommend them enough if you have the space. If you don’t, use two 9×13-inch pans and cover with plastic wrap to ensure the dough balls don’t try out as they proof:
Four to five hours later or when the dough balls have doubled in volume…
… it’s game time! Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Fill a large pot with 8 cups of water and bring to a boil:
Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the pot and stir to dissolve:
Working with one ball at a time, carefully lower it into the pot, flip it once or twice to submerge, then transfer it to the sheet pan:
Once you’ve dunked five dough balls in the hot water, brush each with melted butter and sprinkle generously with flaky sea salt:
Use a sharp blade to make two slashes:
Then transfer to the oven for 22-25 minutes or until deeply golden brown:
Brush with more melted butter immediately:
Let cool briefly before halving:Print
Adapted from this recipe for buttery soft pretzels, these homemade soft pretzel rolls are tender-crumbed, sturdy, and perfect for sandwiches.
- For best results, please use a scale to measure. It is the only way to measure accurately.
- Plan ahead: These rolls require an overnight rise (or an all-day rise, 8-10 hours), a 4- to 5-hour proof, a brief boil, and a 22- to 25-minute bake.
- Faster Method: Though I have not tried this yet, if you are looking for a faster way to make these pretzel rolls, try this: use 2 teaspoons of instant yeast and lukewarm water. Let the dough rise for 2 to 3 hours initially; then let the shaped rolls proof at room temperature for at least an hour before proceeding.
- Timing Help: If you are wondering how you might make the timing work with your schedule, consider this: after the dough doubles in volume, you can deflate it, and stick the bowl in the fridge until you can tend to it. The shaped rolls similarly can be stashed in the fridge until you can tend to them. The key is letting the shaped rolls proof at room temperature sufficiently — they should be very light to the touch before boiling,
- Yeast: If you are using active-dry yeast, sprinkle it over the cold water. Let it stand for 15 minutes; then proceed with the recipe.
- Salt: If you are using Morton Kosher salt or fine sea salt, use half as much by volume or roughly 2 teaspoons. (If you are measuring by weight, use 13 grams.)
- Equipment: You’ll need a spider or a large slotted spoon to remove the dough balls from the pot of water. You’ll also need a pastry brush to brush the dough balls with melted butter. Finally, you’ll need a sharp razor blade to slash the dough.
For the dough:
- 640 grams (about 5 cups) all-purpose flour
- 2 grams (about 1/2 teaspoon) instant yeast, see notes above if using active-dry
- 13 grams (about 4 teaspoons) Diamond Crystal kosher salt, see notes above
- 12 grams (about 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
- 450 grams (about 2 cups) cold water
- 14 grams (about 1 tablespoon) olive oil or neutral oil
- 115 grams (about 1/2 cup) baking soda
- 8 cups water
- flaky sea salt
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the water and oil and stir with a rubber spatula until a shaggy dough forms. Use your hands to knead the dough briefly in the bowl just until it comes together — it will be wet and sticky.
- Cover the bowl with an airtight lid or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume, 8 to 10 hours (or more or less depending on the time of year and the temperature of your kitchen).
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a bench scraper to portion it into 10 pieces, using flour as needed. (Note: If you want identically sized pretzel rolls, weigh your total dough, then divide by 10. Each portion should weigh roughly 112 grams.)
- Ball up each portion: Using flour as needed, form each portion into a ball by grabbing the edges of the dough and pulling them toward the center to create a rough ball. Then flip the ball over, cup your hands around the dough, and drag it toward you, creating tension as you pull. Repeat this cupping and dragging until you have a tight ball.
- Transfer the balled portions to a roomier, lightly floured vessel to proof: I use two of these DoughMate containers, but you could use two 9×13-inch pans or something similar. Cover the pans with an airtight lid or plastic wrap to ensure the dough balls do not dry out. Let the dough balls proof for 4 to 5 hours or until doubled in volume and very light to the touch.
- Heat the oven to 400ºF. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Bring the 8 cups of water to a simmer in a large pot. With the heat on low, add the baking soda and stir to dissolve. Adjust the heat so that the water is barely simmering.
- Working with one ball at a time, carefully lift it from its proofing vessel — I like to use a bench scraper — and lower it into the water top-side down. Use a spider to flip it over immediately, then over again so that the ball is top-side down. Use the spider to remove the ball (still top-side down) and flip it onto the sheet pan top-side up. This should take no more than 30 seconds. Repeat until 5 balls have been dipped and transferred, evenly spaced, to one of the sheet pans.
- Brush the balls with melted butter. Sprinkle generously with sea salt. Use a razor blade or sharp knife to make two slashes on the top of the dough ball — don’t worry if the dough balls deflate slightly. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until the rolls are a deep-brown hue.
- Remove the pan from the oven and immediately brush the hot rolls once more with melted butter.
- Repeat with the remaining dough balls using the remaining prepared sheet pan.
- Let cool briefly before serving or let cool completely if using for sandwiches.
- Prep Time: 18 hours
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Bread
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: all-purpose flour, instant yeast, olive oil, salt, sugar, baking soda