Pretzel recipe – Very traditionnal in Alsace

By Marine
Updated on 2024-04-26

In Alsace, if there's one thing you'll find hard to resist at aperitif time, it's a plump, soft, golden pretzel (we spell it bretzel)! It's quite easy to make, you'll see, and when you bring it to the table, it's a real showstopper. So, I'll give you the recipe for homemade pretzels?

Born and raised in Alsace, I'm in love with my region, but I also love to travel. On my blog Miss crumble, I share both traditional Alsatian recipes and recipes from other parts of the world. Cooking is all about the emotion of the taste buds!

Pretzel history

These knot-shaped salted rolls are found not only in Alsace, but also in southern Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland.

While the origin of some recipes is quite clear, that of the pretzel is not. There are two legends that I particularly like.

The first relates that in 610, the baker at the Abbey of Saint-Gall (in Switzerland) was inspired to create the shape of the pretzel by the monks crossing their arms while waiting for their beers… What an imaginative baker!

The second legend has it that the pretzel was created much later, in 1477, by a baker who had committed petty theft. Condemned by the lord of the castle, his sentence would be forgotten if he succeeded in creating a special bread: the sun should shine three times through this bread. In despair, the baker found the solution as he watched his wife praying, arms folded. He then came up with the idea of taking his dough, making a circle of it, then crossing the two ends so as to obtain the bread through which one could see the sun three times!

The result was much appreciated by the Count, who pardoned the unfortunate baker. Perhaps you’ve heard another legend? I love this kind of story, it’s what makes ancestral recipes so charming!

Why add bicarbonate to water for cooking?

This is an essential step in making good pretzels. They are poached in boiling water, to which baking soda is added, before being baked in the oven. It’s the same “poached dough” technique as the famous North American bagels, and it’s what gives them the crispy crust that makes them so special! So, are you going to start making pretzels?

Our recipe


Recipe for Alsatian pretzels, the must-have aperitif in Alsace!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Rest time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 35 minutes
Cuisine: Alsacienne
Servings: 10


  • 500 gr T55 flour
  • 1/2 cube of fresh yeast (11gr or 1 sachet dried yeast)
  • 150 ml warm milk
  • 150 ml water at room temperature
  • 20 gr of butter
  • 1,5 teaspoon salt
  • 80 gr baking soda
  • 1 egg yolk for gilding
  • Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and ground flowers


  • Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk. Pour into a bowl, then add the melted butter, water, flour and salt. Mix until the dough is soft and elastic and pulls away from the sides of the container. Leave to rise away from draughts until doubled in size (30 to 40 minutes).
  • Turn the dough out onto the work surface, expel the air and separate into 10 equal-weight pieces. This usually makes dough pieces weighing around 80g.
  • Shape the pretzels. The first step is to form a long sausage, with the center more rounded than the ends. Then bring the strands together to form a knot. Finally, place the ends of the strands on the curved part, to obtain the typical pretzel shape. Follow the photos, and you'll soon get the hang of it. Don't use too much flour on your work surface, as the pretzel dough should be very slightly sticky.
  • Place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Leave to rise for a further 30 minutes, away from draughts.
  • Preheat oven to 200°C.
  • Boil a large volume of water and add the baking soda. Lower the heat and plunge the pretzels into the simmering water for a few seconds. Drain and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Brush with an egg yolk diluted in a little water. Sprinkle with salt or seeds of your choice (poppy, sesame or pumpkin seeds).
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.


In general, the

pretzel is sprinkled with salt

but I like to sprinkle it with sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds.