There’s so many bretzel recipes out there that I had avoided making them for so long. A lot of them had accompanying pictures that looked nothing like the gorgeous dark brown and creamy white originals. This one, however, showed a little more promise. This is one of those recipes that is not hard to make…but makes you feel a great sense of accomplishment when looking at the finished product. You can either make them into a tight knot, pretzel shape or simple bun shape. And how was that finished product? Tasted just like the originals and Christian went back for more so I’d call that a success.

NB I use Australian measurements in my recipes.

* 1 1/4cups warm water
* 1 1/2 tablespoons warm milk
* 7g active dry yeast
* 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
* 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
* 4 cups all-purpose flour
* kosher salt or pretzel salt
* 2 litres cold water
* 1/2 cup baking soda

In a large bowl mix a 1/3 cup of the warm water (just above room temperature or it will kill the yeast) with the yeast and let stand until foamy.

Add the remaining warm water along with milk, sugar & melted butter and stir lightly to dissolve the sugar. Add flour and combine until mixture forms a nice a firm, pliable dough ball. Add more flour if necessary.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured table and knead for 2 minutes. Roll into a 2 foot long log and cut into 12 even pieces. Cover dough with plastic and let sit for 10 minutes.

Pat dough into rolls or form knots and arrange on a lightly floured surface about an inch apart and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let the pretzels rest for an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

In a large stockpot, bring the cold water to a rolling boil and add baking soda carefully (it will fizz and bubble).

Drop two rolls into the boiling water and boil for no more then 30 seconds, turning once. Carefully remove with tongs or slotted spoon and hold above pot and let drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with the remaining rolls.

Arrange rolls on baking sheets and bake on the upper and middle racks of the oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until browned all over.

Let rolls cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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