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Shared by Chaya Rappoport

Laugenbröt (Lye Rolls or Pretzels)

Yield: 12 pretzelsTime: 1 H 30 min

Shared by Chaya Rappoport

Photographer: Armando Rafael. Prop Stylist: Vanessa Vazquez. Food Stylist: Judy Haubert.

Laugenbröt (Lye Rolls or Pretzels)

Yield: 12 pretzelsTime: 1 H 30 min

Family Journey

Kishinev, MoldovaBasel, SwitzerlandSt. Gallen, Switzerland
ZurichBrooklynMonsey, NY
Brooklyn and Israel

“You can find laugenbröt, or lye breads, in any Swiss bakery you walk into. Salty, malty and perfect for sandwiches, they’re an essential part of German baking,” explains food stylist Chaya Rappport, who grew up in Zurich. Her grandmother serves them for Seudah Shlishit, the third Shabbat meal eaten before sundown on Saturday.

For the full spread, Chaya suggests serving several cheeses like raclette, which is great when melted, nutty gruyere, strong and tangy appenzeller, and full-flavored tomme du Jura. Salted butter, new potatoes, lox, cocktail onions, cornichon, and mustard are also excellent accompaniments — as is Thomy, a Swiss mayonnaise brand that you can find online. For something sweet, set out grapes, dark chocolate, apricots, apples, and jams. Serve with white wine. 

When making the bread, keep in mind that: “Lye is highly caustic, so make sure you don’t touch the soda lye water with your skin. Wear thick gloves and keep children out of the kitchen when using it,” says Chaya. 

Read more about Chaya’s family in "A Swiss Spread for Shabbat Afternoons" and try her recipes for chocolate schnecken, rösti with gruyere, and zwetschgenwähe (Swiss plum tart).


  • 4 cups bread flour 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt 
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 10 oz. beer, we recommend Guinness Stout
  • 100 grams food safe lye 
  • 1 egg, whisked 
  • 4 teaspoons coarse salt 




  • Step 1

    Add the flour, sugar and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk. Add the yeast, olive oil and beer and continue whisking until combined. Place the bowl into your stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook, and knead for at least 5 minutes on low-medium speed. The dough should be smooth and elastic.

  • Step 2

    Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise until doubled in size, around 2 hours. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and lightly knead with your hands to release any gas bubbles. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long, thin log, about 1 inch in diameter.

  • Step 3

    Shape the pretzels: Set down the log in a U shape. Cross the arms about midway thru, twisting them around each other one time. Pull each end straight down to the bottom edges of the U and press to stick.

  • Step 4

    Lightly grease a parchment lined baking sheet and place the pretzels onto it. Cover them with a clean towel and let proof for another 30 minutes. 

  • Step 5

    In a large pot, bring 1 quart of water with the lye to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow the boiling water to set. Using a large spoon or ladle, dip each pretzel or bread roll into the water, drain it well and place back onto the baking parchment.

  • Step 6

    Brush with the egg and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon coarse salt per pretzel. Repeat with the remaining breads and bake immediately at 400F for about 15 minutes, or until the dough is shiny and dark brown.