- For the dough:
- 300ml water, divided
- 4 tsp sugar
- 15g dried active yeast (not dried fast action yeast)
- 500g strong bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- For the water bath:
- 4 tbsp bicarb of soda
- 2L water
- To sprinkle:
- Coarse salt and/or poppy seeds
- Put 100 millilitres warm water into a mixing bowl and mix in the sugar. Add the yeast and whisk until it’s dissolved. Leave 5-10 minutes until it blooms, then pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the remaining 200 millilitres of water, the flour and salt, and use the dough hook on a low speed to bring it all together. Once combined, turn the speed up and knead for 10 minutes on a medium setting until you have a smooth silky dough. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Knock the dough back and divide into 8 pieces. Take one at a time and roll out to a long sausage at least 60 centimetres long. With the middle of the sausage close to you, take both ends and twist them around each other, then fold them back towards you and secure down. Place onto a baking sheet while you repeat with the rest. LIghtly cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for 20 minutes or so while you bring two litres of water to a rolling boil. Add in the bicarbonate of soda and preheat your oven to 250C or as hot as it will go.
- Get any toppings, like the coarse sea salt and poppy seeds to hand. Pick up one pretzel and put it onto a slotted spoon, submerge it in the boiling water and boil for 30 seconds each side. Then remove it and place it back onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with coarse salt or poppy seeds. Repeat with the rest then bake for 10 minutes until deep golden brown.