The additional step here of baking your baking soda is optional – it gives you a darker finish and a more authentic taste, but the results without the additional step will be equally delicious – though a bit paler.
To transform baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) into sodium carbonate you will need;
- 220g (1 cup) baking soda, 2 hours, and an oven – see directions straight after the recipe.
- 350ml (1 ½ cups) warm water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 14g active dry yeast
- 650g (just over 5 cups) strong white flour, approximately
- 60g (4 ¼ tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- Vegetable oil, for pan
- 2.5L (10 ½ cups) water
- 130g (9 ½ tablespoons) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) – preferably baked – baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp water
- Pretzel salt (or flakey sea salt)
- Combine the 350ml water with the yeast and the sugar. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook; Add the flour, salt, and butter, add the yeast mixture, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it on the counter a couple of times until its super smooth, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and sit in a warm place for approximately 60 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 220℃ (450℉). Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
Bring the 2.5L of water and the bicarbonate of soda (preferably the baked baking soda) to a rolling boil in a large saucepan or roasting pan.
In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 60-cm rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other twice and press the ends onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, one by one, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the baking trays, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt (or flakey sea salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 10 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Best served the day they are made, or freeze as soon as they have cooled down completely.
Baked Baking Soda:
Spread 1 cup of baking soda on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, and baking it in a 120℃ (250℉) oven for two hours. Baking dehydrates the soda to form sodium carbonate and carbon dioxide, raising its pH from about 8 to about 11.