I have a confession: I am shamefully obsessed with Auntie Anne’s pretzels. At least I used to be. I haven’t fact-checked this, but I’m pretty sure they’re dripping in butter. Though I don’t indulge my Auntie Anne’s cravings anymore, the sweet scent of freshly baked dough never fails to transport me back to my days of working at the mall (I was a devoted cashier at American Eagle in college).
While I still love to indulge in a soft, fluffy pretzel once in a while, now I make them at home so I know exactly what’s in them. I stumbled upon a recipe I would eventually adapt to the vegan version below on a blog called La Cerise. The blogger, Astrid, translated and adapted her recipe from another pretzel recipe written entirely in German. If that’s not authentic, I don’t know what is.
To take my mind off the fact that summer is officially over, and to celebrate Oktoberfest, I decided to make a batch of vegan Bavarian pretzels. Held annually in Munich, Oktoberfest always kicks off the third Saturday of September and includes two weeks of folk music, beer, sausages, and of course – pretzels. German food isn’t the most veggie-friendly cuisine, so attending an authentic celebration could leave a vegan pretty hungry.
Not to worry!
You can have your own vegan Oktoberfest from the comfort of your backyard. Bake up a batch or two of these vegan Bavarian pretzels, grill up some vegan sausages (we love Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage Sausages) and don’t forget the sauerkraut. If you’re not up for making your own kraut (or just don’t have the patience), you can buy a big jar for a few bucks in pretty much any grocery store.
These vegan Bavarian pretzels are warm, fluffy, and chewy – perfect for satisfying all of your chilly weather carb cravings. Give them a generous sprinkling of coarse salt before popping them in the oven and serve with your favorite spicy mustard.
Vegan Bavarian Pretzels (Oktoberfest!)
These vegan Bavarian pretzels are warm, fluffy, and chewy – perfect for satisfying all of your chilly weather carb cravings. Give them a generous sprinkling of coarse salt before popping them in the oven, and serve with your favorite spicy mustard.
- Prep Time: 1 hour 30 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 10 servings
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. sugar (I used coconut sugar)
- 3 ½ tsp. instant yeast
- 1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
- 3 Tbsp. vegan butter (cooled to 100-110 degrees F)
- Coarse salt, for sprinkling
- ½ cup baking soda
- 8 cups water
- Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and instant yeast in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the warm water (not too hot or it will kill the yeast) and melted vegan butter. Stir to combine and then use your hands to knead everything into a smooth dough. You may need to add a touch more water (I used ½ tablespoon) to help the ingredients hold together.
- Wipe out your mixing bowl and coat with a thin layer of cooking spray. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes (it won’t rise during this time).
- While the dough is resting, you can prepare a warm spot for the pretzels to rise. Simply heat your oven to 200F degrees and then turn it off. The interior temperature of your oven will lower to around 85F degrees by the time you’re ready to stick the pretzels in.
- Coat two baking sheets with cooking spray and set them next to your work surface. Divide the pretzel dough into 10 equal parts, then use your hands to roll each piece on your countertop into ropes, about 20 inches long. Work from the middle of the dough and press outwards to get it the length you want. You shouldn’t need to flour your work surface. If your dough is slipping around while you try to roll it, wet a paper towel and lightly dampen the countertop. The water will provide some friction.
- To form a pretzel shape, make the letter “U” with a dough rope. With either end of the rope in your fingertips, twist the ends twice and then fold them down onto the bottom curve of the pretzel. You can use a little bit of water to make the ends stick.
- Repeat with each piece of dough, transferring the pretzels to the baking sheet as you go. When you’ve shaped each pretzel, pop the baking sheets in the warm oven (it should be turned off at this point) until the dough doubles in size, about 10 minutes.
- Once the pretzels have risen, place them in the fridge for about an hour, uncovered. This step isn’t mandatory, but chilling the dough will help build a skin that will absorb the dipping solution better and make that beautiful shiny crust we all adore.
- Meanwhile, get your dipping solution ready. Combine the baking soda and water in a large pot and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Preheat your oven to 390F degrees. After an hour, remove the pretzels from your fridge and carefully drop them, one at a time, into the pot of boiling water. Use a spoon to gently press down and submerge each pretzel (they’ll want to float). Wait 10 seconds, and then lift each pretzel out of the water with a slotted spoon and return to the baking sheet. While the pretzels are still wet, sprinkle with the coarse salt.
- Bake until the pretzels are golden brown, about 13 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pretzels to a cooling rack or cutting board to prevent them from getting too crisp on the bottom. Enjoy as-is or with a side of spicy mustard for dipping.
- I don’t recommend using whole wheat flour in this recipe. The dough becomes too dense to work with.
- The pretzels will stay fresh for up to three days when stored in a gallon-sized Ziplock bag at room temperature, or up to six months in the freezer.