Pretzel buns

Pretzel buns

The Hang Fire Cookbook

We were the first to start selling these delicious buns in Wales at our streetfood events. We’ve stuffed them with everything from pastrami to Carolina-style pulled pork and buttermilk fried chicken. And in our opinion, a pretzel bun beats a brioche bun when it comes to being stuffed with barbecue any day of the week.

The buns have bite, but are soft, savoury and not too sweet, so they’re robust enough to handle as much ’slaw, sauce and filling as you can throw in them. We spent almost two years trying to find a baker to make these the way we wanted. Eventually a French patisserie, based in Cardiff, nailed it for us. This is our recipe that they bake for us.


Quantity Ingredient

For the dough

Quantity Ingredient
1 x 7g packet dried yeast
500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 teaspoons caster sugar
40g unsalted butter, melted

For the poaching

Quantity Ingredient
30g bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoons malt extract

For the glaze

Quantity Ingredient
1 egg, beaten
coarse sea salt, to sprinkle


  1. To make the dough, mix the yeast with 360ml lukewarm water (you want the water at 38°C) in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set aside to rest for 5–10 minutes until it starts to foam.
  2. Now add the flour, salt, sugar and butter, and mix with the dough hook on a slow speed until thoroughly combined. The dough should come together in a smooth and silky ball that easily comes away from the sides of the bowl. (You can also make this dough by hand.)
  3. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Line two flat baking sheets with a silicone baking mat or baking parchment.
  5. Use your fist to push down on the dough to remove some of the air, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into eight pieces, each weighing around 130g. To shape, take a piece of dough and start forming a nice round, smooth ball by pulling the sides to the centre and pinching to seal the folds. By doing this, you’re creating a smooth skin around the dough ball. Place, pinched side down, on the work surface and lightly cup your hand around the dough ball. Space evenly on the lined baking sheets, pinched seam side down, leaving at least 5cm between each roll.
  6. Cover with a tea towel or lightly with cling film and let the buns rise in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled in size.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200°C and place your oven racks on the low and middle positions.
  8. Next, we’re going to poach the dough. This is what gives the pretzel buns that rich dark colour and helps to crisp up the surface. Fill a large pan with 1.5 litres water and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Maintaining a gentle boil, slowly add the bicarbonate of soda and the malt extract and stir through. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
  9. Working in batches of 3–4 at a time, carefully lower the rolls into the poaching liquid, seam side down. Poach for 30 seconds, then carefully use a slotted spoon to turn the roll over in the poaching liquid. Poach the other side for 30 seconds, then return to the lined sheets, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining buns, leaving at least 5cm between the buns for baking.
  10. When all your buns are poached, mix together the egg and 2 tablespoons of water. Using a pastry brush, glaze each roll with the egg mixture, making sure to fully coat all sides. Top each roll with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt. With a very sharp straight-edged knife, cut a slash or ‘X’ (or a ‘H’ in our case) in the top of each roll. (This allows air to escape and the rolls to expand while baking.)
  11. Bake the rolls for 17–20 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through baking – top to bottom, front to back – for even browning. Pretzel buns are easy to over-bake, so we recommend using an instant-read thermometer – the middle of a bun should read around 95°C when done.
  12. Remove and transfer to wire racks to cool completely. The buns are best eaten on the day they are baked but they store pretty well in the freezer, tightly wrapped in cling film.
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