• 800g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp fast-action yeast
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 400ml dark beer
  • for kneading vegetable or olive oil
  • 4 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 egg yolk, mixed with a splash of water
  • 2-3 tbsp rock salt, depending on how salty you want the pretzels


  • 2 whole camembert
  • ½ tsp caraway seeds
  • ½ tsp white peppercorns
  • 4 tbsp dark beer


  • STEP 1

    Put the flour, sugar, yeast and 1 tsp salt into a large bowl and mix well.

  • STEP 2

    Heat the milk in a pan until just boiling, pour in the beer and stir. The mixture will curdle and look unappetising – but have faith! Pour the liquid over the flour mix and use a spoon to bring together as a rough dough. Set aside for 10 minutes for the flour to hydrate.

  • STEP 3

    Lightly oil a patch of clean worksurface and scrape the dough out onto it. Lightly oil a clean bowl for the finished dough. Using oily hands, gently knead the dough for just 10 seconds then put back into the bowl to rest for 10 minutes. Repeat this gentle quick knead followed by a rest twice more. At first the dough will feel very wet and sticky, but it should become softer and smoother with each successive knead. After the final knead, rest the dough in the bowl, cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours or overnight. You can also go for a quicker prove for 1-2 hours at room temperature if you are short of time.

  • STEP 4

    Lightly flour the worksurface and tip the dough onto it. Cut into 8 even-sized pieces, tossing in the flour so each piece is coated. If the dough has been proving in the fridge, leave the pieces for 30 minutes to come to room temperature before rolling – cold dough doesn’t behave very well.

  • STEP 5

    Lightly flour 2 baking sheets. Take each piece of dough and roll out into 60cm ropes, about 11/2-2cm diameter thick. If the dough is shrinking back, leave the ropes to rest for a few minutes then continue. To create a classic pretzel shape, form each rope into a U shape, then cross the ends over each other twice. Bring the twisted ends towards you so it meets the bottom curve of the circle and press down firmly to stick, dabbing with a bit of water to help it if necessary. Put onto the floured baking sheet, repeat with the remaining dough and leave to prove at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  • STEP 6

    Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

  • STEP 7

    Bring a very large pan of water to the boil and gently tip in the bicarbonate of soda –it will fizz up so take care. Add the pretzels, 2 at a time, into the boiling water for just 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon, draining off the water before resting on baking paper. Repeat with the remaining pretzels then lift the baking paper with the boiled pretzels onto the baking sheets.

  • STEP 8

    Lightly brush the tops of the pretzels with the egg yolk mix and sprinkle over rock salt. Put into the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until deep golden brown.

  • STEP 9

    Remove each camembert from any packaging and put in baking dishes, either together or separately, or bake in their cases. Prick all over with the tip of a sharp knife. Grind the caraway seeds and white peppercorns with a pestle and mortar to a coarse powder. Sprinkle over the cheeses and pour over the beer. Put the cheeses at the base of the oven for the final 10-15 minutes of cooking time.

  • STEP 10

    Serve as soon as the pretzels are baked and the cheese is molten.


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