Soft Pretzel Twists

One thing I have discovered when trying to make soft pretzels is that the traditional shape is tricky. In fact, make that near-impossible. So of course, I went on the hunt for easier shapes. These soft pretzel twists not only avoid the tricky shaping techniques needed for the traditional pretzel, but also give you a full twirly stick of the best bit – the knot! What more could you want?

Apologies if you are a traditionalist and disapprove of my crazy soft pretzel twists, but seriously. Try them before you judge!

Now one thing that is worth noting here is that I give the quantities needed to make twelve pretzel twists. This means you will need two silicone baking mats, or to make them in two batches. I actually only made six, but didn’t like to put those quantities as it means using only half a packet of yeast which is a bit wasteful, but on this particular day I just didn’t have the hordes available to consume a dozen pretzel twists. So if you too want to make six, just halve the ingredients.

Soft Pretzel Twists

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups warm 110-115ºF water
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt plus extra for decoration
  • 1 1/4-ounce or 7gram package active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose US / plain (UK)) flour
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • Vegetable oil
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda US / bicarbonate of soda (UK)
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon water


  • In a large mixing bowl mix the warm water, sugar and salt. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and leave for 5 minutes, until it begins to froth.
  • Pour in the melted butter and then gradually add the flour. Initially you will need a wooden spoon to mix, but as the batter thickens you can switch to kneading with your hands.
  • When the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl, tip out onto a silicone baking mat and knead for around 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and even.
  • Clean and lightly grease the bowl, form the dough into a round and place in the bottom of the bowl. Cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place to prove for one hour or until doubled in size.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 450⁰F / 230⁰C / Gas mark 8, and place your silicone baking mat on a cookie sheet or baking tray. Stir together the 10 cups water and baking soda/bicarbonate of soda, and heat in a large pan. You will want this to get to a rolling boil.
  • Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto an un-floured surface (not a silicone baking mat) and divide into 12 equal pieces. Now comes the time to shape your twists! Instructions are for each 12th of the dough, so one pretzel twist.
  • Roll the dough into a long thin sausage of about 18-20 inches. Note the reason you do this on a non-floured surface, and not on the silicone baking mat, is that you will need traction for the dough to stay rolled out. The silicone mat is just too non-stick!
  • Fold the sausage in half, pinching the ends together to hold in place, and then twist 2 or 3 times.
  • Gently pull the twist at the folded end apart to leave a hole.
  • Take the stuck-together end and, folding the shape in half, twist it around the other end. Poke the stuck-together end through the hole you made at the folded end.
  • Got that? Phew!
  • One by one, place the twists into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and shake off any excess water. Place onto your baking mat, evenly spaced.
  • Brush the pretzel twists with the egg wash and sprinkle with rock salt. Bake the twists for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown, rotating the pans halfway through to ensure even baking.
  • Remove the twists from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving warm.
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