German Pretzels!

Pretzel German









I followed this recipe here. I really recommend this recipe as they turned out nice – soft and chewy. I brushed mine with egg and sprinkled them with salt after they came out of the boiling water. As you can see from the picture I also choose to do a double twist in the middle, though one twist will do!

They aren’t quite as dark as traditional pretzels, and that’s because I used sodium bicarbonate/baking soda instead of lye. I was a bit scared off by every site saying I needed to wear gloves and eye protection whilst adding lye to water. Staying safe tastes great!

A tip is to make sure the oven is preheated and there is a baking tray, salt and beaten egg wash at hand as soon as you drain the pretzels, so that they can go straight in to bake. You don’t want to be running about looking for bits and bobs! Also make sure that you place the shaped pretzels on to a well floured surface before their rise, as you don’t want trouble trying to get them off and into the water!


  • 1kg strong white flour
  • 260ml milk (lukewarm)
  • 260ml water (lukewarm)
  • 7g fast action yeast
  • 80g butter (unsalted)
  • 1 tbsp malt extract (or brown sugar)
  • 2 tbsp salt


  • beaten egg (to brush on top)
  • sea salt (to sprinkle on top)
  • 3tbsp of sodium bicarbonate/baking soda or lye (for the boil)

1) Mix flour with yeast and water. Cover and leave for 5 hours.

2) Add rest of ingredients, mix and knead for about 10 mins to 15 mins til soft and elastic.

3) Let rise for 11/2 hours (approx – depends on the temperature of the rising place)

4) Knock the dough back and form into pretzel shapes. The original recipe from bbcgoodfood has a good description of how to:

” The easiest is to make batons around 2cm thick. If feeling adventurous, try the traditional shape. Roll the dough out to be a long (40 cm) rope with the middle 5cm bulged to a diameter of around 3 cm, tapering to the ends being around 0.75 cm thick. Bring the two ends together about 5 cm in, overlap them, twist, and bring back to go over the main body. Almost like tying a knot.”

5) Let rise for approx 30mins, uncovered. Maybe 45 mins if your room is cold.

6) Bring around 1.5litres of water to boil in a large pot, a wok is ideal. Add 3tbsp of sodium bicarbonate/baking soda or lye (food grade sodium hydroxide) but only if you have suitable protection like eye gear and gloves. I’m scared of going anywhere near lye so I used sodium bicarbonate.

7) Put the pretzels next to a source of some cold air (e.g. window) to let a skin form on top so that they’ll be nice and chewy.

8) Drop the pretzels one at a time into the boiling water until they float, about 5 seconds. Fish out, draining the water, and place straight on to a prepared baking tray lined with baking parchment. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sea salt. Slash the dough (about 1cm) at the top back.

9) Bake at 200C for about 15mins until nice and dark.

10) Let cool and enjoy with some beer and cheese!





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