Makes 12 pretzels
Ingredients for the dough
1kg T55 flour (hard white wheat flour, used for making breads and puff pastry, it can be bought in any supermarket)
10g dry yeast
5g bread improver (this is used to improve the strength and workability of the dough, and can be bought from speciality bakery suppliers)
60g softened butter
550-600ml cold water
50g coarse sea salt
For the lye solution
1l iced water
30g bretzel lye powder (also known as food-grade sodium hydroxide, it can be bought from speciality bakery suppliers)
1. Place all the ingredients for the dough in a mixer with a dough hook and mix for five minutes at medium speed, then increase the speed and knead for another five minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Alternatively, the dough can be mixed and kneaded by hand for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Cover the dough with a damp tea towel and rest for 20 minutes.
3. Shape the dough into the classic bretzel knot and place on a baking sheet.
4. Place the baking sheet with shaped bretzels in a proving drawer, if you have one, and, let the dough prove for 15-20 minutes. Alternatively, prove the bretzels at room temperature for 25 to 30 minutes.
5. Place the bretzels in the freezer for 20 minutes.
6. Mix the lye solution and place the frozen bretzels in the liquid for three minutes. Using tongs, turn them over and leave for another three minutes.
7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and using tongs, transfer the dipped bretzels to the sheet.
8. Sprinkle with coarse salt and score the top of the bretzels.
9. Bake in a preheated oven at 210 degrees, for 17 minutes.
10. Remove the bretzels from the oven, spray with water, leave to cool down and dry.