Ingredients for the dough
500g strong white bread flour
40g softened butter
1 tbsp malt extract
21g bicarbonate of soda
7 litres boiling water
For the toppings
1. Add the flour, salt, yeast and butter to a bowl. In a jug, mix the malt extract with the milk and stir to dissolve. Add the milk mixture gradually and mix until a dough forms.
2. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and silky, although it is a very stiff dough.
Place the dough in a bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to prove for 1 hour minimum, the longer the better.
3. Preheat the oven to 180.
4. Once proved, turn the dough out and divide into 12 equal pieces. Using your hands, take each piece and roll into a long sausage, about 40-50 cm long. Then to shape the pretzels, make a U shape with the dough, then twist the two strands together twice, then pinch the loose ends down on opposite sides of the pretzels.
5. Add the bicarbonate of soda to 7 litres of boiling water. Drop each pretzel in for 5 seconds, then place on a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt or sesame seeds while still wet, so that it sticks.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until they are a dark brown colour.
Ta da! I was very pleased with how they turned out for a first attempt. Watch this space for new flavour combinations and more pretzels! X Bo