This soft pretzel with bacon and cheese is a copycat recipe of the famous German Ditsch bakery's addictive 'Schinken-Käse Brezelstange.' And to me, it tastes exactly like it (if not better!). I top my soft homemade pretzel sticks with high-quality ingredients, such as uncured bacon and Emmentaler cheese to get the authentic, addictive taste.
What is Ditsch?
Ditsch is a German pretzel bakery and as you may have guessed, they only bake pretzels (or Brezeln in German)! They are a walk-up bakery where you order things to-go only.
You will often find Ditsch bakeries in German city centers or at train stations and airports as it's super convenient to just quickly grab a pretzel. Ditsch offers A LOT of different varieties of pretzels including classic German pretzels, pretzel sandwiches, and pretzel croissants.
But the showstopper and my FAVORITE is the Schinken-Käse Stange, a double pretzel stick topped with ham and cheese. Learn to make these bacon and cheese-topped soft pretzels using this authentic and complete recipe with easy-to-follow instructions.
We even had a little backyard picnic with our bacon and cheese pretzels. We love Picnic Time products for its beautiful and super functional picnic gear, serving boards even even beer coolers!
How to make soft pretzels with bacon and cheese
Making these soft pretzels with bacon and cheese is easier than you think (and I promise you'll love them and may not want to share them!).
I based this recipe on my famous authentic German pretzel recipe. Instead of featuring the iconic pretzel shape, I turned it into sticks. I then paired up two of these pretzel sticks by laying them next to each other, giving me enough surface to top them with plenty of cheese and bacon.
As for the bacon, you would use a lean, smoked ham in Germany (and you can already buy it cubed there). But this type of ham is impossible to find in the USA. The most authentic substitute I have been able to come up with is thick-cut bacon. I trim off any excess fat, then dice it up into small bits.
As for the cheese, I use Swiss cheese like Emmenthaler. You can also use Gruyère cheese, an aged type of Swiss cheese, giving this pretzel stick a more rustic flavor.
The authentic pretzel taste comes from dipping the pretzel sticks in a lye solution. And believe me, it's worth it and nothing to be scared about. There are a few tips I am sharing in the recipe card for using real lye that you should be aware of. I know you will love the authentic pretzel taste!
Other than lye, none of the ingredients to make bacon and cheese pretzels are hard to find.
- Flour. I use all purpose wheat flour.
- Yeast. Active-dry yeast is my go-to for yeast-based baking. I always keep it sealed and in the fridge, so it stays fresh for longer.
- Brown Sugar. I use light brown sugar and just a little bit in my pretzel dough. Don't have brown sugar on hand? Just use regular sugar.
- Butter. I add a little butter to my pretzel dough, which makes it incredibly smooth and helps to create small air pockets thoughout the dough.
- Salt. I use fine pink sea salt in all of my baking.
- Lye. I buy mine online and always buy the kind with a childlock lid. I store it in the back of an upper cabinet with our medicine to keep it away from our kids.
- Cheese. I usually use some kind of Swiss cheese for my bacon cheese pretzels, such as Emmentaler (mild) or Gruyère (aged and more rustic). You can also use other cheeses such as Gouda or even Cheddar.
- Bacon. I buy thick-cut bacon, trim off the fat and then small dice it.
Watch this short video showing you how to make bacon and cheese pretzels at home.
Soft Pretzel with Bacon and Cheese (Ditsch Copycat Schinken-Käse Brezelstange)
- 500 ml cold water It's important to mix the lye into the cold water, not the other way.
- 20 g lye lye comes in dry granules
- 100 g Swiss cheese I usually use Emmentaler or Gruyère, which are both different types of Swiss cheeses. You can also use Gouda or even Cheddar.
- 150 g bacon I buy a thick-cut bacon & trim off the excess fat. Then small dice it.
- To make your pretzel dough, combine brown sugar, dry yeast and barely warm water and allow to sit for 5 minutes until the yeast starts to activate and bubble.
- In a large bowl, combine sifted flour, salt, room temperature butter (heat for a few seconds in microwave if too cold) with the yeast mixture. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes or until you achieve a smooth, elastic dough.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel and place in a warm spot. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours. You can also prepare the dough the night before and keep it in the fridge.
- When ready to start working with the dough, preheat your oven to 420℉ or 220℃. Prep two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Divide your pretzel dough into 16 equal pieces. I divide the dough in half, shape two long logs and divide each log into 8 equal pieces using a knife or dough cutter.
- The roll each piece out to 10 inch (about 25 cm) long logs, tapering both ends. Place 2 logs next to each other on the parchment paper covered baking sheets to make 8 double log pretzel sticks (view photo). Cover and allow to rest in a warm spot for 20 minutes.
- Prepare your lye solution by carefully whisking the lye into the cold water, not the other way around. Carefull and ideally wearing rubber gloves and a steel skimmer, submerge one pretzel stick at a time in the lye solution for about 10 seconds, then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Top with the shredded cheese and small diced, trimmed bacon.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes on the middle rack. Serve warm or cooled, ideally the same day.
- Store leftovers in your fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. When ready to reheat, run some water over the pretzel sticks, then bake for 5 to 8 minutes at 350℉ (180℃).