3 cups bread or plain flour
2 tsp dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp sea salt flakes
2 tsp thyme leaves, extra for sprinkling
1¼ cups warm water
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
¼ cup bi-carbonate of soda
1 egg, beaten
Pink river salt flakes
50g melted butter
Sift flour into a bowl. Stir in yeast, sugar, salt and thyme. Make a well in centre and pour in the water. Stir with a wooden spoon to form a dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 7-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Put in a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to prove for 1 hour or until doubled in volume. Use a floured hand to transfer dough onto a floured surface and knead until just smooth.
Cut dough in half. Wrap one half with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Weigh other half and cut into 8 even pieces (about 50g each). Working on a surface clear of flour, roll out each piece to a 17 inch (43cm) rope.
Take one piece and shape into a U. Twist ends together twice then fold them back over loop to form a pretzel shape. Press ends down lightly to secure in place. Place on a large oven tray lined with baking paper. Repeat with remaining dough pieces. Set aside in a warm place to rise for 10-15 minutes.
Remaining dough can now either be removed from fridge to make 8 more pretzels, or reserved – dough can be kept in the fridge up to 2 days or frozen for 2 months.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Half fill a large stockpot or 4L casserole pot with water – make sure it has high sides as water will foam once bi-carb is added. Bring to the boil.
Reduce heat to low. Add sugar and bi-carb. Stir and allow foam to subside. Regulate at a gentle simmer. Add 3-4 pretzels at a time and simmer for 30 seconds until slightly puffed. Remove with a slotted spoon and return to tray.
Let dry for 10 minutes. Brush with egg and sprinkle lightly with salt and some extra thyme leaves. Bake for 8-9 minutes until deep golden. If serving immediately, brush with butter. Allow to cool slightly and sprinkle with extra salt, if desired, to serve.
Tip: Pretzels are best eaten within a day. They can be frozen once baked.