Jo Pratt’s soft pretzels recipe

Homemade pretzels are surprisingly easy to make and give you the most amazing results. Make them once and I guarantee you’ll do so again. You can bake them with a little flaked sea salt or mix things up and top them with cheddar and spicy jalapeños, or an irresistible cinnamon-sugar coating.

soft pretzels
Malou Burger

MAKES 8
PREP 55 MINUTES, PLUS 1 HOUR RISING
COOKING 25 MINUTES

500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
7g fast-action dried yeast
25g dark brown sugar
60g butter, melted
1 tsp flaked sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg, beaten, for glazing

  1. Put the flour, yeast and sugar in a large bowl, then stir to combine. Measure out 300ml lukewarm (around 40C) water and pour into the flour along with the melted butter and salt.
  2. Mix to form a dough, then turn out on to a floured surface to knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Alternatively, do the whole process in an electric mixer using a dough hook.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. Once risen, tip on to the worktop and divide into eight pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope, about 60cm long, trying not to knock out all of the air. Make a U-shape with each one, take the two ends and cross them over, then bring them down towards yourself and press into the base of the U-shape at 4 and 8 on a clock.
  5. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line two baking trays with baking parchment.
  6. Fill a wide saucepan with about 1.8 litres water then bring to a simmer. Add the bicarbonate of soda. One at a time, carefully immerse the pretzels in the water and cook for 20 seconds each side. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon then sit on the baking tray. Repeat with the remaining pretzels.
  7. Brush with beaten egg then sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 20-25 minutes until deep, rich golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Be flexible

VEGAN Use a plant-based butter alternative or olive oil in the dough and rather than egg to glaze the pretzels you can brush with some olive oil before baking.

FLAVOUR SWAP To make cheddar and jalapeño pretzels, top each pretzel with a handful of grated mature cheddar cheese (you’ll need about 175g for 8 pretzels) and 3-4 slices of pickled jalapeños and bake as above. Cover the top of the tray loosely with foil if the cheese starts to colour too much. Enjoy warm, dipped in a mix of equal parts honey and mustard.

Now buy the book

The Flexible Baker
Our recipes are from The Flexible Baker by Jo Pratt, published by White Lion, price £20. To order a copy for £17 until 20 March, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937. Free UK delivery on orders over £20.