How to make pretzels

How to make pretzels

How to make pretzels

by Great British Chefs3 July 2015

How to make pretzels

You don’t have to look further than the nearest street corner in New York City to find a pretzel. Popular all over the US, especially in Philadelphia and Chicago, the pretzel was introduced to America from Germany in the late 18th century. They were an instant hit and have now become fully integrated into American cuisine. They are always present at sporting events and April 26th is even National Pretzel Day!




  • 500g of strong bread flour
  • 40g of unsalted butter, softened
  • 7g of fast-action dried yeast
  • 10g of salt
  • 280ml of milk, lukewarm
  • 20g of malt extract
  • 10g of bicarbonate of soda
  • rock salt
Make the dough by mixing together the flour, butter, salt and yeast and adding the milk and malt extract. Bring it all together in the bowl then turn it out on to the bench and knead for around ten minutes until you have a strong elastic dough
Lightly oil a large bowl, put the dough into it and cover with cling film. Leave in a warm place to prove until it has doubled in size, this will take approximately 1 hour
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
Divide the dough into 10 pieces. To form a traditional pretzel shape, roll each piece of dough into a long baton, roughly 40cm in length. It should be around 5cm wide in the middle and taper to 1cm wide at the ends
Bring the ends of the dough around in a U-shape, then bring the ends in to meet in the middle like a heart. Twist them around each other twice. Secure the ends of the dough to the base of the U, leaving a space in the middle so the pretzel has 3 holes in total
Bring 3 litres of water to the boil with the bicarbonate of soda. Carefully dip each pretzel in the water for 5 seconds. This process will help create the signature dark brown, glossy exterior of the pretzel
Transfer the pretzels to a baking tray and sprinkle with a little rock salt. Make a slash in the thickest part of each one then bake for 20–25 minutes until a deep brown colour. Don’t be tempted to take the pretzels out of the oven too early; they are supposed to be dark brown, this gives them their flavour
Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool


Pretzels don’t have to be savoury; you can sprinkle them with sugar instead of salt, or spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg.

Serving suggestions

For a traditional snack, serve pretzels with mustard or barbecue sauce. You could also try serving them with cheese sauce. For sweet pretzels, serve with chocolate sauce or honey.

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