How To Make Soft Pretzels

Super simple to make and the result is great. Serve them alongside some smoked sausage, mustard, and a cold beer.

There are recipes out there using lye to get that classic pretzel crust, but I think most of us will not be able to get hold of lye and even more of us will not be willing to use this potentially dangerous chemical on our food. To replicate the texture we will boil these pretzels in water with malt syrup. It will contribute to crust colour and flavour without having to use a hazmat suit! 🙂 

This recipe yields 6 pretzels. Double or triple the ingredients to make more.

Watch the video down below to see detailed instructions.


300g (10.6oz) strong white bread flour

160g (5.7oz) water at around 18 – 19C (64 – 66F) if your kitchen is quite warm 23-25C (73-77F)

6g (0.2oz) salt

2g (0.07oz) dry yeast of three times the amount of fresh yeast

15g (0.5oz) soft butter or oil

1g (0.03oz) diastatic malt powder. You can make them without this ingredient if you can’t get hold of it.

 To learn more about dough temperature control click here.


1 egg yolk for brushing

Malt syrup or honey for boiling


  1. Add the water and yeast in a bowl, let the yest hydrate.
  2. Add the salt, malt powder and butter and give it all a good mix to dissolve any salt crystals.
  3. Add the flour and mix until combined.
  4. Knead the dough for around 4 – 5 minutes. Desired dough temperature 25 – 26C (77 – 79F). If your dough is cooler, then extend the proofing time. If it is warmer, then reduce proofing time.
  5. Proof for 45 minutes.
  6. Fold.
  7. Proof for 45 minutes.
  8. Divide into 6 equal pieces and shape into blunt cylinders.
  9. Rest for 15 minutes.
  10. Shape the pretzels (see video) and place them on a non-stick surface.
  11. Proof for 25 minutes. If you dough has been fermenting quite rapidly up until now, then place them in the fridge right after shaping instead of leaving them out to ferment. The cold will slow them down and prevent over proofing. 
  12. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. During this time pre-heat your oven to 230C (450F) no fan!
  13. Boil the pretzels in a pan containing 2L (0.5gal) of water and a large tablespoon of either malt syrup or honey. Boiling time: 1minute! Handle the pretzels gently from here as they may become fragile.
  14. Drain the pretzels on a rack. If you do not have a rack, then you can use a colander in a pinch.
  15. Place them on a non-stick sheet and brush them with the egg yolk. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  16. Bake for around 15 – 17 minutes. Your oven may be more powerful, so it may take you less time to bake them. Keep and eye on your pretzels.

Cool down and enjoy with your favourite accompaniments! Check out the Basic Dough page where I have a pretzel recipe with bacon and a cheese dipping sauce.

Watch the video here

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