Just as bagels are kettled to produce the right texture and shine on the outside, traditionally prepared pretzels are boiled in brine to set the starch before baking. The only recipe for pretzel brine we turned up couldn’t be simpler.

Mix 5 teaspoons of baking soda in 4 cups of water in a non-aluminum pot and bring to a boil. Gently lower the pretzels into the brine for about a minute or until they float to the surface, at which point the are ready to be baked.