1. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Mix and knead the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a smooth, slightly sticky dough.

  2. Allow the dough to rise in a lightly greased bowl, covered, for about 1 hour, until doubled.

  3. Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.

  4. Divide the dough into 10 pieces and shape each piece into a smooth ball. Alternatively, for instructions on how to shape long sub-style sandwich buns, see the tip below.

  5. Lightly grease a baking sheet; or line the sheet with parchment and grease the parchment. Place the balls on the baking sheet, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.

  6. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  7. Prepare the water bath: Bring the water, salt, and baking soda to a boil in a large pot.

  8. Drop 5 dough balls at a time into the water bath.

  9. Cook for 30 seconds, flip over, and cook for 30 seconds longer. Using a slotted spoon, return the buns to the baking sheet.

  10. Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut 1/2"-deep crosses into the center of each bun. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

  11. Bake the buns for 20 to 24 minutes, or until they're a deep-dark brown. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.

Tips from our Bakers

  • These pretzels can also be shaped into long stuffed sandwich-style buns, perfect for grilled sausage with peppers and onions or brats and sauerkraut. After the first rise, simply divide the dough into eight pieces, shaping them each into a ball. Flatten the balls into 6" disks and roll them into logs, pinching the seam and ends to seal. On a clean, dry work surface (no oil, no flour), use two hands to drag each log toward you; the friction of the work surface should seal the seam and smooth out the surface of the bun. Let the buns rest for 15 minutes, then boil and bake them according to the recipe instructions, slashing them diagonally or lengthwise.

  • Our easy pretzel mix makes wonderful sandwich rolls. Use the directions on the mix box to bring the dough through its first 30-minute rise. Divide the dough into six pieces and form them into balls, flattening them slightly so that they're more disk-shaped. Let the buns rest for 15 minutes, and prepare the water bath as instructed on the box. Place the buns in the water bath, and cook for 20 to 30 seconds on each side. Snip and salt the buns as directed in the recipe above. Transfer the buns to the well-greased cups of a hamburger bun pan (or a parchment-lined baking sheet), and bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 18 to 22 minutes, until they're a deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. Yield: 6 pretzel buns.
  • Interested in baking these pretzels with lye instead of baking soda? While wearing eye protection and rubber or latex gloves, mix 20g food-grade lye into a non-reactive bowl holding 500g cold water and stir to dissolve. Transfer your shaped pretzel to the bath and let soak for 10 to 15 seconds. Place the pretzel on a stainless steel rack over parchment to catch any excess solution. After a few minutes, transfer the dipped pretzel to a silicone or parchment-lined baking sheet. The dough can then be scored, salted, and baked. To dispose of the diluted lye solution, pour it directly down the drain, then follow with a few seconds of cold water from the sink faucet. For a guide to using lye in your baking, see our blog post, A baker’s tips for safely working with lye.