A recipe for Silserli (Swiss Pretzel Rolls)! These little yeast-based rolls are briefly boiled in a baking soda solution, then baked until golden.
Silserli are Swiss Pretzel Rolls with a wonderfully chewy texture and shiny, deeply golden crust created by boiling in a baking soda solution before baking. They go by many names based on the region and language spoken. I have also seen them called Laugenbrötli, Pains de Sils, Laugenbrötchen, Délices, Laugensemmel, and more.
The yeast-based dough comes together relatively easily with just a handful of ingredients. After resting at room temperature until doubled (this may take 1-2 hours), the bread is divided into 10 equal pieces. Each piece is formed into an oval and allowed to rest again for 30 more minutes before cooking.
After the final rest, boil each oval in the simmering baking soda water (traditionally this is done with lye) for 30 seconds, then place back on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with an egg wash, sprinkle with salt, and slice two slits across the top. Bake in a 425˚F (220˚C) oven until deeply golden.
You can eat the Silserli straight from the oven with butter or honey. If there happen to be any leftover, they are also an amazing base for sandwiches with cheese and ham or salami.
A Few Tips
Some recipes I have come across use half water and half milk in the dough.
When boiling the rolls, make sure to flip them so all sides are coated in the baking soda solution.
After brushing with the egg wash and sprinkling with salt, I used a sharp knife to cut two slits across each roll, long side to long side. The pretzel rolls can also be formed into rounds with an “X” cut on the top.
I topped the Silserli with coarse salt, but you can stick simply to the egg wash or cover with poppyseeds or sesame seeds.
The texture is best the day these Swiss Pretzel Rolls are made. They will last in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days. Once cooled, I often freeze a few for quick access to fresh bread for sandwiches. Just warm the rolls straight from the freezer in a 350˚F (180˚C) oven until heated through.
Looking for more recipes from Switzerland?
- Älplermagronen (Swiss Alpine Macaroni)
- Ghackets mit Hörnli (Swiss Macaroni with Meat Sauce)
- Meitschibei (Swiss Hazelnut Horseshoe Pastries)
This recipe was originally posted in January 2014 and updated May 2021.
Silserli (Swiss Pretzel Rolls) Recipe
Adapted from Rosa’s Yummy Yums
Silserli (Swiss Pretzel Rolls)
- 1 1/4 cups (300 milliliters) lukewarm water (105-115˚F, 40-46˚C), divided
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast
- 4 cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons (9 grams) fine salt
- 4 tablespoons (60 grams) unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
- 8 cups (2 liters) water
- 1/2 cup (125 grams) baking soda
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) water
- Coarse sea salt
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 1 cup (237 milliliters) of the warm water. Stir to combine and let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Slowly mix in the yeast with water and butter. If needed, slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) water to create a soft dough.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic or a towel, and allow to rise until doubled, 1-2 hours.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment or lightly grease.
- Once doubled, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into 10 equal rolls. Form each roll into a smooth oval, tucking the seams under, and place on the prepared baking sheets. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425˚F (220˚C). Place the 8 cups (2 liters) water and baking soda in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a low boil and gently place the pieces of dough into the water, being careful not to overcrowd. Turn to coat on all sides, boil for 30 seconds, and remove with a slotted spatula back to the prepared baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, beat together the egg and 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) water.
- Brush the top and sides of each piece of boiled dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle with the coarse salt, then lightly make two slits across the top, long side to long side, with a sharp knife. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 15-18 minutes.
- Remove to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. These rolls are best the day they are baked.