I absolutely love the salty pretzels - I often have them for breakfast on my way to work from a German Bakery near by. So I thought I would recreate my own from a great recipe I found.
1 1/2 sachets dried yeast
2 tsp caster sugar
635gm (4 1/2 cups flour)
40g softened butter
50gm bicarbonate soda
1 egg yolk for brushing
Sea salt flakes for scattering
In a small cup empty out sachets of dried yeast and add a small amount of warm water - combine so you get a paste like texture. Cover with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for 5-7 minutes - it should rise and bubbles will form.
In a large bowl add flour, sugar and a pinch of salt and stir through. Add the yeast mixture and 250ml warm water. Combine and form the dough, it should be nice and soft and all of the flour should be incorporated. If you need to, add more water. Oil the dough mixture slightly and cover the bowl with a tea towel. Leave to stand in a warm place (this is called proving) for 1-1 1/2 hrs - until doubled in size. See step by step pictures below.
Knock back dough and divide into 8 even pieces or 10 if you want smaller pretzels. Roll each piece on a work surface to about 45cm long so it tapers on the ends and is thicker in the middle. Bring ends inwards and cross over once, then twist once more, then fold back and press ends onto the thicker side to create the pretzel shape. Place on an oil brushed tray.
Preheat oven to 200C. Bring 5 litres of water to simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add bicarbonate soda, stir to combine, then carefully add pretzels into the water to blanch. They should float on the top and you can turn them once then take them out (this procedure should take about 30 seconds on each side). Place the pretzels back into the oiled tray and brush the egg yolk over them. Scatter sea salt flakes over the pretzels as desired. Bake on 200C until golden brown (25-30mins).
Serve warm and enjoy - Happy Baking!