Soft, chewy and completely addictive these pretzel buns are the perfect carb-fest. Turn them into pretzel burger buns for the ultimate burger experience or just chow down with my mustard dip.
With a handful of ingredients, these buns are easy to make and made by hand so no fancy equipment required.
This recipe was originally posted on October 10, 2019 and reposted with updated instructions, ingredients and images on September 28, 2020.
A little bar in Portland called Sweet Hereafter make the dreamiest pretzel burger buns. And since I live nowhere near Portland, I had to come up with my own.
What We Love About These Buns
I was a bit intimated by making my own pretzels, but they are easier than you might think. They buns are:
- Made with simple ingredients
- Chewy and soft
- Made by hand so anyone can have a go
- Easily turned into pretzel burger buns. Mmmmm...burgers
What You'll Need
You will most likely have all of these ingredients in your fridge and pantry already.
You are going to need:
Flour. Just regular old all-purpose flour will do.
Baking soda. For the bath.
Vegan butter. Nothing fancy, just what you have.
Yeast. Active or instant yeast.
Salt. I use two kinds, a fine salt for the dough and salt flakes to sprinkle on top.
Sugar. I always cook with raw caster sugar but any granulated sugar will work here.
Lukewarm water. If you are not sure what lukewarm is, run water over your hand from the tap and adjust the temperature until you can't really feel it being hot or cold. That's lukewarm.
Are Pretzels Hard to Make?
You need very little cooking skill to make pretzel buns. If you can knead dough for a few minutes and boil water, you're kinda golden. Golden like the fantastically chewy pretzel bun outer. Yup, I went there.
Honestly, even the shape makes things easy. While traditional pretzels are wrangled in to the pretzel knot these guys are simply rolled in to a ball. I weighed my dough to get them reasonably equal but that's the control freak in me. They are then boiled and baked. Simples.
What Makes Pretzel Buns Different?
Pretzel buns are different to regular bread because they are boiled in a baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and water solution before being baked in a hot oven.
The baking soda/water combo helps to give the pretzels their golden brown, crispy crust and signature chewy texture.
How to Make Pretzel Buns
You'll find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Step 1. Firstly, we take basic bread ingredients; flour, yeast, water, salt, sugar and add a little melted butter.
Bring the dough together in a large bowl before tipping it out on to a floured surface to knead for around 5-minutes or until the dough is smooth and tacky but not sticky.
Make a ball, stick in a lightly greased bowl, cover it and rest it for an hour to double in size.
Next, punch down the dough, divide it and roll it in to equal-ish balls. You with me?
Step 2. The next step is the most important. Up until now we've pretty much made bread. To make perfect pretzel buns with the iconic rust brown surface, soft interior and iconic flavour we have to drop the rolls in a baking soda bath.
You can save time and get the water boiling as you’re shaping the dough into balls. Add baking soda to the boiling water and carefully pop each ball in for a minute turning them over gently half-way through.
They look a little Mr Potato Head when they come out but trust me, the bath is essential.
Step 3. Brush each bun with a little melted butter or dairy-free milk and bake. And voila, you just made pretzel buns, baby.
You can eat them straight, use them for your next slider or serve them with soup. I can't wait to try these in my Crispy Quinoa Cauliflower Burger Recipe. But, today I am dipping them in a completely decadent mustard ale dipping sauce.
I don't drink beer but for this sauce I will make an exception. Silky and buttery with a kick of Dijon mustard and a hint of ale, this sauce is ridiculously easy to make and even easier to eat/ lick/ slurp.
Serve it with your gorgeously soft and chewy pretzel buns and your friends and family will think they've died and gone to carb heaven. Enjoy, x.
Score the tops of the buns. Use a sharp knife score the top of the buns when they come out of the baking soda bath. Scoring the tops allows the rolls to expand and the centre to cook all the way through.
Brush with melted butter or milk and sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Trust me, don't skip this step for buttery cafe-style buns.
The deeper there colour, the better the flavour. Bake them until deep golden brown.
Want more plant-based goodness?
Soft Pretzel Buns with Mustard Ale Dip
Vegan Pretzel Buns
- 1 cup water lukewarm
- 2¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon raw caster sugar
- 2 ¾ cups / 345 grams bread flour + 2 tablespoon for kneading
- 1 ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoon vegan buttery spread melted and cooled slightly + 1 teaspoon to brush the rolls
- 2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Soda Water Solution
- ⅓ cup baking soda
- 3 litre / 3 quarts boiling water
Mustard Ale Dip
- 1 tablespoon vegan buttery spread
- ¼ cup scallions, finely sliced
- ¾ cup pale ale
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Combine the lukewarm water, yeast and sugar in a jug and stir to combine. Set the jug aside for a few minutes in a warm place to bloom. You'll know it's ready when it looks creamy and foamy on top.
- Meanwhile, combine the bread flour and sea salt in a large mixing bowl.
- When the yeast is ready stir in the melted butter and then add the wet ingredients to the dry.
- With a large spoon or clean hands bring the mixture together in the bowl. When it is combined enough to loosely hold together, tip it out on to a lightly floured countertop and begin kneading.
- Knead for around 5 minutes adding small amounts of flour if the dough it too sticky. We want a smooth dough that is tacky to the touch but doesn't stick to our fingers.
- Bring the dough in to a ball and place it in a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover it with cling film. Set the bowl in a warm corner and allow it to proof for 1 hour.
- While the dough is proofing, we'll make the dipping sauce. Melt the vegan butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the sliced scallions. Cook for around 5 minutes or until soft.
- Add the pale ale and reduce the heat to low-medium. Continue cooking until the ale has reduce to around a ½ cup. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the mustard and maple syrup. Set aside to serve with the vegan pretzel buns.
- Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. I also spray the paper with cooking oil for good measure.
- After an hour, turn the pretzel dough on to your countertop and punch it down. Divide the dough in to even balls - I weighed mine and each was around 85g - and place them on lined trays.
- While you are rolling your pretzel balls add 3L of water to a wide pan and bring it up to a boil over medium heat. When it comes up to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. When the balls are ready, whisk the baking soda in to the boiling water - it will bubble so please be careful.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Carefully drop two pretzel buns in to the soda bath and poach them for 30 seconds before flipping them over for another 30 seconds. Gently move the buns around the water while they are cooking so they don't stick to the bottom. Using a slotted spatula or spoon remove the buns from the water and place them on the lined baking trays. Continue with the remaining buns.
- When finished, score a slit into the top of each with a sharp knife. Lightly brush each bun with the extra melted butter and sprinkle with the sea salt flakes or poppy seeds.
- Bake for 16 - 18 minutes or until a deep rust brown on all sides. Serve with plain mustard or the Mustard Ale Dipping Sauce