This soft pretzel recipe is a great way to use up that cup of discarded starter from when you feed your sourdough. And it’s some of the best sourdough pretzels you’re ever gonna eat. No lie!
It’s also a very easy recipe that does not call for boiling soda water.
I like that very much because last time I made pretzels I found out that the bubbles that form on top of the boiling soda water can burn your hands when you are dropping the pretzels into the boiling soda water.
Which made me very sad and made dropping the rest of the pretzels into the boiling soda water extremely very not fun!
So, if you are a die-hard pretzel fan and insist on dropping them into boiling soda water (or lye water), you may not like this recipe.
But some of you might enjoy it even more. Like I do. And I suppose that if you really, really want to, you can go ahead and drop them into boiling soda water. I really don’t mind.
If you don’t have a sourdough starter, click here to learn how to make one.
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Sourdough Pretzel Recipe
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp yeast
- 1 Tbsp melted butter
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1 cup unfed sourdough starter (can come straight out of the fridge)
- 3 cups flour
For Topping Pretzels
- 1 Tbsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- pretzel salt, sea salt, kosher salt, sugar & cinnamon, poppy seeds, etc.
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
Now you have all your ingredients handy, let’s make some sourdough pretzels!
First, you’re gonna need to dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Mix it up a bit and let it sit for a few minutes.
While that is dissolving, put the flour, dried milk, and sea salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Put a little well in the center and add the sourdough starter, the melted butter, the honey, and the water/yeast mixture.
Mix that all up really well. You can use an electric mixer, or just a wooden spoon. I usually opt for the spoon, cuz mixers are too noisy!
Now that it’s all mixed up well, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead with a push, turn, fold motion until you have a dough that is fairly smooth, but slightly sticky. That should take you about 5 to 8 minutes. Form the dough into a ball.
Then you need to clean out your mixing bowl and butter it so the dough won’t stick while it’s rising. Put the ball of dough into the greased bowl top side down. Spin it around a little to get some of the butter on the top of the dough.
That will keep the bread cloth from sticking to the top of the dough. Basically, we don’t what anything to stick to anything while the dough is rising. 🙂
Now cover the bowl that the dough is in with a damp bread cloth and let it rise for about 45 minutes. It’s not going to rise very much so don’t get worried when it doesn’t.
Shaping the pretzels
After the dough has risen, remove the bread cloth and punch the dough down to deflate it. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased (not floured) work surface. And then divide the dough into 12 pieces.
Take one of the pieces and cover the others with the bread cloth. One at a time, roll each piece into a rope about 18 inches long. Make sure they’re all pretty even in length. Then fold and twist the ropes of dough into the classic pretzel shape. Like this.
Or any other shape that happens to catch your fancy. You can make logs, or cut them up into little nuggets. These are your pretzels, do what makes you happy. 🙂
Flip the pretzels over so that the loose ends are underneath, and place them on a buttered or parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
When they are all made into the pretzel shapes, dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water and brush that over the tops of the pretzels.
You can sprinkle them with salt now, or wait until they come out of the oven. Here’s the best part: the pretzels don’t have to rise and they don’t take a dip in the boiling soda water! Yay!
Bake at 350° F in a preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until they are lightly browned.
Remove the sourdough pretzels from the oven and brush with the melted butter. The butter will keep them from getting hard. This is when I usually sprinkle the toppings on them.
And there you have it! Homemade, non-dipped in boiling-something-water, soft, baked, sourdough pretzels!
Serve these bad boys with your favorite mustard or melted cheese sauce, or top with cinnamon sugar to soothe the sweet tooth.
What is your favorite way to eat a soft pretzel?