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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Low-Carb Pretzel Sticks (LC, SF)


Yep, they are low-carb!

For weeks now I’ve been wanting to experiment with making low-carb Pretzels! Maybe it’s the Oktoberfest atmosphere in the air!

Anyway, I was pretty sure that actual pretzels would fall short because the larger the piece of dough making it, the more you run into textural problems and sometimes also flavor problems.

But then I thought, what about Pretzel sticks?

So experimenting I went, fully intending to bake the sticks until they were hard and crunchy. But much to my surprise, when the sticks came out of the oven after their first baking at a fairly light “pretzel state”, they tasted very much like actual Pretzels!

Did they taste like real Bavarian Pretzels? No, but then I’m a Brezen snob, so it’s hard to get me to approve of even  most high-carb Pretzels outside of Bavaria. They do however taste very close to my low-carb taste buds. Fresh out of the oven with some butter they made me very happy indeed!

As predicted however, this was not quite the case with the normal sized Pretzel I made too, just to see how it would go! It seemed a bit more “low carb” tasting, while the sticks weren’t!

But they were also surprisingly soft-pretzel like in texture, even after they cooled down and not chewy like many low-carb baked goods tend to be! And none of them fell flat after cooling down, which is very unusual for low-carb baked good! Not at all as I thought they would turn out! And for once that was a good thing!


So after we had half the batch right out of the oven (the kids didn’t even notice that they were different than usual) we made the other half into crunchy pretzel sticks! Which were promptly devoured by my kids as soon as I took the photos!


Please also refer to my High-Carb Pretzel tutorial here. The method will be much the same!


Low-Carb Pretzel Sticks

Makes about 20 large Pretzel Sticks


For the dough:

2 1/4 cups of low-carb bake mix

3/4 cup of boiling water

1/4 cup of heavy cream

1/2 tsp bread salt 

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp. butter, melted

2 tsp yeast granules

1 tsp sugar (for the yeast)


For the lye bath:

2 quarts of water

2 tbsp.  Food Grade Sodium Hydroxide Lye

To prepare it, get a sealable container, a thick tupperware type bowl like mine for example, and fill it with 1/2 a gallon of cold water. Do NOT use a metal bowl! Glass is ok though!  You need it to be wider than it’s deep so you can easily and quickly dip the dough.


Wearing latex gloves and protective eye gear, add the pellets, stirring carefully with a metal spoon until the pellets are dissolved.


They have a tendency to form this crystalized structure at the bottom. Break it up and keep stirring until it is all dissolved.


Careful, the contents can get HOT!
Seal the container until you are ready to use it. 



This stuff is not only poisonous, it is very caustic.
So, please be extra careful and take precautions! PLEASE keep it far away from children!  Flush any unintentional contact with plenty of water.

You soap makers and olive picklers out there know the drill, but it can never be said enough – be careful around this stuff!



I used my bread machine to prepare the dough. Add in the order stated: water, cream, salt, melted butter, bake mix, yeast granules sugar and baking powder. Let the machine do it’s thing and mix the dough. Knead it for a few minutes until a smooth dough forms.



The dough will be very light and a bit puffy,  but not overly sticky.

Now line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Parchment paper is necessary as after the lye bath the dough almost welds itself to anything it touches, so unless you want to chiseled off dough bits later, line your cookie sheets!

Divide the dough into 20 (or more if you like the pretzel sticks to be shorter or thinner) equal balls and roll them out into uniform snakes. Place them on your cookie sheets with plenty of room between them.



Let the sit in a warm place (80F should do it,) UNCOVERED and let them rise. Usually we cover baked goods while rising but in this case we want the sticks to firm up a bit on the outside so they can stand the dunking better!


Preheat your oven to 400 F.

After about 20-30 minutes, put on your safety gear (gloves and goggles.)


Dip your risen dough sticks quickly but carefully into the lye bath. Dip each stick separately by placing it in the bowl,  letting it be for about 2 seconds, turn it or roll it briefly and scoop it out, placing it immediately on the baking tray. They hold up surprisingly well to the dipping, but you need to work fast nevertheless because once the moisture penetrates, the dough snakes become very fragile!

~Make sure you get the entire thing dipped, otherwise you’ll get a very patchy stick. You can see further down on a photo that my large pretzel is very patchy indeed. It was the last thing for me to dip and I didn’t want to let go of it as it seemed very heavy and fragile and the lye didn’t get all of the pretzel. ~

Sprinkle all dipped pieces with pretzel or kosher salt.



Bake for 10-12  minutes or until you get that deep brown color.

Remove them from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. They really want to stick to the parchment paper and if you try and pull them off you lose half your stick. Once they cool a little the bottoms seem to be more willing to come up too and you can carefully peel the parchment paper off!



You can now enjoy the sticks like warm breadsticks, with some butter. Yum!



Or, if you’re making the hard pretzel sticks, leave them in there for another 5-7 minutes to bake to a darker brown color. Remove them from the oven, turn off your oven and let it cool down to about 200 F. Place the pretzel sticks back in the oven and with the oven off, let them dry in there for about half an hour or so.


{Crunchy goodness!}

Remove, let them cool, peel of the parchment and then store in an air tight container.





  • If you have the patience and the inclination, you could make lots of mini pretzels.


{Isn’t it just so cute!? It’s about 1” x 1.5”}


  • Or roll the dough really thin and long, then cut off thin strips, much like the small commercial pretzel sticks.
  • Or if you have a pasta extruder, use that to make your shapes!
  • Make dipped pretzel sticks by melting some Lindt 85% chocolate with a little butter or coconut oil, then dip one end of the pretzel sticks in them and roll in chopped nuts or crushed sugar-free candy.

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  1. Maybe I missed it but how many carbs in one of the pretzels?

  2. It depends entirely on your ingredients/the kind of bake mix you use and how many pretzels you get out of the dough. With my bake mix, the entire batch has 50 net carbs, so at 20 Pretzel sticks that would be 2.5 g net carbs per pretzel stick. HTH!

  3. Would this work with food grade calcium hydroxide instead of lye?

  4. Hi Zehra,
    no! Food Grade Calcium Hydroxide is used for pickling and brining and is quite different.
    Have a great day!


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Birgit Kerr