Soft pretzel sticks

Soft pretzel sticks

The Art Of The Larder
Mike Lusmore

These soft pretzels are delicious. The hefty measure of bicarbonate in the water as you boil the pretzels is crucial to the spontaneous burst in height that the dough achieves in the boiling process. Best eaten still warm, swooped through softened butter and some of that dayglo yellow mustard.


Quantity Ingredient
50g light brown sugar
240g water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
320g strong white bread flour, plus extra for kneading (or substitute 80g of the white flour with dark rye for a more complex pretzel flavour)
7g sachet of dried yeast
flaky or coarse sea salt
50g bicarbonate of soda
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
seeds to top – sesame or poppy, (optional)
2 tablespoons melted butter
yellow mustard and softened, room temperature butter, to serve


  1. Mix and knead the brown sugar, water, oil, flour and yeast by hand or in a mixer to make a cohesive, fairly smooth dough. It should be slightly sticky – if it seems dry, knead in an additional tablespoon or two of water. Cover and rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Add a pinch of salt and fold the dough a couple of times, then cover and let it rest for 45 minutes.
  3. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface, fold it over a few times to gently deflate it, then divide it into 12 pieces. Use a bit of flour to roll each piece of dough into a 20cm rope, then place on an oiled baking tray and leave for 30 minutes, uncovered.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Carefully add the bicarbonate of soda to the boiling water – it will bubble up.
  6. Gently remove the pretzels from the baking tray and drop them into the boiling water, 3 or 4 at a time. Simmer for about 30 seconds, then turn them and simmer for an additional 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean tea towel to dry, then return to the baking tray. Repeat with the remaining pretzels, boiling in batches.
  7. Brush the pretzels with the egg wash and sprinkle with salt and sesame or poppy seeds, if using. Bake until richly browned, about 12–15 minutes.
  8. When you remove the pretzels from the oven, brush with the melted butter and serve warm with mustard and additional softened, room temperature butter.
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