Soft Pretzel Twists

Now here in sunny old England we aren’t quite the soft pretzel aficionados that our American cousins are. In fact, I only found out what a soft pretzel was as an adult! Prior to that, I only knew pretzels as the little crunchy things you get in chip-type packets. So discovering these beautiful chewy treats was a revelation for me.

One thing I have discovered when trying to make soft pretzels is that the traditional shape is tricky. In fact, make that near-impossible. So of course, I went on the hunt for easier shapes. These soft pretzel twists not only avoid the tricky shaping techniques needed for the traditional pretzel, but also give you a full twirly stick of the best bit – the knot! What more could you want?

Apologies if you are a traditionalist and disapprove of my crazy soft pretzel twists, but seriously. Try them before you judge!

Now one thing that is worth noting here is that I give the quantities needed to make twelve pretzel twists. This means you will need two silicone baking mats, or to make them in two batches. I actually only made six, but didn’t like to put those quantities as it means using only half a packet of yeast which is a bit wasteful, but on this particular day I just didn’t have the hordes available to consume a dozen pretzel twists. So if you too want to make six, just halve the ingredients.


Soft Pretzel Twists – Ingredients (Makes 12)

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110-115ºF) water
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus extra for decoration
  • 1 (1/4-ounce or 7gram) package active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose (US) / plain (UK)) flour
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda (US) / bicarbonate of soda (UK)
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon water

Soft Pretzel Twists – Method

  1. In a large mixing bowl mix the warm water, sugar and salt. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and leave for 5 minutes, until it begins to froth.
  2. Pour in the melted butter and then gradually add the flour. Initially you will need a wooden spoon to mix, but as the batter thickens you can switch to kneading with your hands.
  3. When the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl, tip out onto a silicone baking mat and knead for around 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and even.
  4. Clean and lightly grease the bowl, form the dough into a round and place in the bottom of the bowl. Cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place to prove for one hour or until doubled in size.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 450⁰F / 230⁰C / Gas mark 8, and place your silicone baking mat on a cookie sheet or baking tray. Stir together the 10 cups water and baking soda/bicarbonate of soda, and heat in a large pan. You will want this to get to a rolling boil.
  6. Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto an un-floured surface (not a silicone baking mat) and divide into 12 equal pieces. Now comes the time to shape your twists! Instructions are for each 12th of the dough, so one pretzel twist.
    1. Roll the dough into a long thin sausage of about 18-20 inches. Note the reason you do this on a non-floured surface, and not on the silicone baking mat, is that you will need traction for the dough to stay rolled out. The silicone mat is just too non-stick!
    2. Fold the sausage in half, pinching the ends together to hold in place, and then twist 2 or 3 times.
    3. Gently pull the twist at the folded end apart to leave a hole.
    4. Take the stuck-together end and, folding the shape in half, twist it around the other end. Poke the stuck-together end through the hole you made at the folded end.


Soft Pretzel Twists

  1. Got that? Phew!
  2. One by one, place the twists into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and shake off any excess water. Place onto your baking mat, evenly spaced.
  3. Brush the pretzel twists with the egg wash and sprinkle with rock salt. Bake the twists for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown, rotating the pans halfway through to ensure even baking.
  4. Remove the twists from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving warm.


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