Big soft pretzels

Big soft pretzels

B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself

For my wife’s 30th birthday, we went to Oktoberfest in Munich to enjoy the rich culture, the beautiful buildings and the delicious food. We may have had a pint or two while we were there... Aside from a hangover, the main thing I brought back with me was a hankering for massive, soft, salty pretzels. After a few disasters, I reckon I’ve got them down. Have a go and see what you think.


Quantity Ingredient
500g strong white bread flour, plus more to dust
50g light soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon ‘quick’ yeast
2 teaspoons table salt
300ml warm water
a little bit flavourless oil, for the bowl
3 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda
coarse sea salt or sea salt flakes, to sprinkle

Tool kit

Quantity Ingredient
tape measure
pastry brush
baking tray
wire cooling rack


  1. Measure the flour, sugar, yeast and salt into a bowl, making sure you add the salt and yeast to opposite sides of the bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon, then add the water and continue to mix, first with the spoon and then your hands, until all the flour has come away from the sides of the bowl.
  2. Tip on to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5–10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  3. Lightly oil the bowl, return the dough to it, cover with cling film and leave to rise at room temperature for 1–2 hours until at least doubled in size.
  4. Tip out on to a floured surface and divide into 8 equal-sized pieces.
  5. Roll each piece out into a thin 75 cm-long worm. To make the classic pretzel shape, form the worm into an upside down ‘U’ in front of you. Take the 2 ends and twist them around each other twice, then press the end of the twists on to opposite sides of the ‘U’, sticking them on with a dab of water.
  6. Preheat the oven to 240°C, and fill a large saucepan with 3.5 litres of boiling water. Add the bicarbonate of soda and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Using a slotted spoon, gently lower each pretzel into the boiling water and hold it there for 10 seconds, placing them on the prepared tray as you lift them out.
  7. Slash the dough with a sharp knife, sprinkle with coarse sea salt, and bake for 15 minutes, or until a rich brown colour. Take out and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  8. Try really hard not to eat them all in a single sitting.


  • This recipe has a level 3 (advanced) difficulty.


  • These are great eaten still warm. The basic recipe works really well, but you can gussy it up with plenty of stuff:

    Parmesan is great to sprinkle on with the coarse salt, as are sesame seeds, garlic salt or even piri piri seasoning.

    You can make sweet pretzels: cinnamon sugar works well, as does drizzling the salted pretzels with icing or caramel after they’re cooked. In fact, the salt-and-sweet combo is delicious.
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