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Sourdough Pretzels

Sourdough pretzels are all the best things about warm, salted, oven-fresh pretzels with a sourdough tang. You'll LOVE these easy-to-make soft sourdough pretzels.

I've started this silly thing where if I want my kids to do an unscheduled chore, I tell them I've got a small job. We all know it's not a small job, but ignore the reality to keep the peace!

I had been cooking all day, and no lie, my poor kids (note: not that poor) had already emptied the dishwasher twice when I told them I had a small job, and it rhymed with mish rawsher. Cue the pre-teen eye-rolling and groaning.

Then they caught sight and smell of my beautiful sourdough pretzels and I told them that we could all sit together and enjoy a pretzel when the dishwasher was done, and wooo, look out! Dishes were flyin!

This sourdough pretzels recipe is dedicated to small jobs.

Overhead view of freshly baked sourdough pretzels on a baking sheet.

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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 --> New to sourdough and need a homemade sourdough starter stat? Check out my super quick 24-hour sourdough starter!

No. 2 --> This is a sticky dough. Don't panic. It's normal - this is what makes a soft pretzel! When kneading with a mixer, you only want to add flour until it starts to pull away from the bowl in a cohesive ball with no dried flour bits. The dough will likely stick to the bottom of the bowl. That's totally fine.

No. 3 --> This is a "quick" sourdough pretzel recipe as we are using discard and also instant yeast. It doesn't have the same amount of tang as an overnight fermented pretzel, but they're damn delicious either way!

Stack of sourdough pretzels.

Key Ingredients

Sourdough discard: Use an aged sourdough starter for better tang! I have one in the back of my fridge that's like 3 weeks old with a quarter-inch layer of hooch on top. Stir that hooch back in and use that tangy delicious discard. If your discard is fresher, it will have a more faint sourdough flavor.

Flour: Use a high protein flour in this recipe, something like unbleached bread flour or a flour with 13+% protein. Calculate protein content as follows:

Grams of Protein / Grams per Serving = _________ X 100 = ______%.
ex: 4g protein /30g per serving =.1333 x 100= 13.3% protein

Yeast: Because sometimes you just want instant gratification when it comes to sourdough goodies, this recipe is written with instant yeast included. You'll be eating hot, oven fresh pretzels in under 3 hours, thanks to yeast!

Ingredients for sourdough pretzels.

How To Make Sourdough Pretzels

MAKE THE DOUGH:

  1. Combine warm water, instant yeast, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow the mixture to sit for 3-4 minutes, or until the top is foamy and smells yeasty.
  2. Stir in the olive oil, salt, and sourdough discard by hand. Install the dough hook.
  3. Add flour, starting with 4 1/4 cups, and knead on low speed for 4-5 minutes. If the dough is too wet, and refusing to pull away from the sides, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time until it forms a sticky ball. The ball will stick to the bottom of the bowl, this is ok!
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or do like me and use a shower cap!) and set it aside to rise for 45 - 60 minutes or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

MAKE THE PRETZELS:

  1. Once doubled, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough to gently deflate. Cut the dough into 14-16 pieces. I cut the dough ball in half, then quarters, eighths, and finally sixteenths. That was the easiest way I found to portion somewhat evenly.
  2. Roll each piece into a long rope, about 20-22 inches. Avoid over-flouring the working surface, if the dough is too floured it will not roll well. The dough sticking to the surface helps roll it consistently. Add flour to your hands as required.
  3. Fold the rope into a pretzel shape. Place on a lined baking sheet.
  4. Place the prepared pretzels into the freezer to chill for 15- 20 minutes while oven preheats.

BOIL + BAKE THE PRETZELS:

  1. While the pretzels are resting in the freezer, preheat oven to 425f and prepare the baking soda bath by bringing water, brown sugar, and baking soda to a strong simmer.
  2. Prepare the egg wash by beating an egg vigorously in a small bowl, set it aside.
  3. Once the oven has reached temperature, remove the pretzels from the freezer and dip each into the simmering baking soda bath for 30-45 seconds. Remove the pretzels from the water bath with a spider spoon, shake the excess water off, and return them to the baking sheet. (I borrowed some of these photos from my sourdough bagel recipe as the method is the same)
  4. Brush the pretzels with the beaten egg and sprinkle with kosher salt to taste.
  5. Bake at 425f for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Cool on a wire mesh rack before enjoying your sourdough soft pretzels!

Batch + Storage Information

Batch:

This sourdough discard pretzel recipe makes around 16 good sized pretzels. It can be doubled or halved depending on your desired outcome.

Storage:

Wrap each pretzel individually in plastic wrap then store them in an airtight container at room temperature. I use my cookie jar! They will keep for up to 3 days. For best enjoyment, refresh your sourdough pretzel in the toaster before devouring!

These pretzels can also be frozen. Wrap each once individually in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 4 weeks. Allow your frozen pretzels to thaw at room temperature and reheat in the toaster, if desired.

Overhead view of salted sourdough discard pretzels.

Variations + Substitutions

  • Sweet pretzels: sprinkle the pretzels generously with cinnamon sugar instead of kosher salt after the egg wash
  • Everything pretzels: Sprinkle the pretzels with everything bagel seasoning instead of kosher salt
  • Plain pretzels: don't add any herbs or spices after the egg wash
  • Pretzel bites: Instead of wrapping the rolled dough, boil the dough in the baking soda wash before chopping into bite-sized bits. Reduce baking time to approximately 15 minutes.

More Sourdough Discard Recipes To Try

Stand mixer:  I use my KITCHENAID MIXER for so many things. It makes everything much easier - I couldn't live without it for my baking! This dough is quite wet and sticky and it's much easier to knead by machine than by hand.

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Overhead view of freshly baked sourdough pretzels on a baking sheet.
Yield: 16 pretzels

Sourdough Pretzels

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

This soft pretzel recipe is spiked with sourdough discard before being boiled in a baking soda bath and egg-washed for that traditional chewy pretzel goodness. You'll love this sourdough discard recipe!

Ingredients

pretzel dough:

  • 3/4 cup warm water (~90 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 cup sourdough discard
  • 4 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups bread flour *See NOTE

baking soda bath:

  • 9 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

eggwash:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • coarse kosher salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine warm water, instant yeast, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Allow sitting for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Stir in granulated sugar, olive oil, salt, and sourdough discard.
  3. Add flour, starting with 4 1/4 cups, and knead on low speed for 4-5 minutes. If the dough is too wet, and refusing to pull away from the sides, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time until it forms a sticky ball.
  4. Cover the bowl and set aside to rise for 45 - 60 minutes or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  5. Once doubled, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough to gently deflate. Cut the dough into 12-14 pieces. Keep the pieces of dough you're not working with covered with a kitchen towel until ready for use.
  6. Roll each piece into a long rope, about 20-22 inches. Fold the rope into a pretzel shape. Place on lined baking sheet.
  7. Place the prepared pretzels into the freezer to chill for 15- 20 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425f and prepare the baking soda bath by bringing water, brown sugar, and baking soda to a strong simmer.
  9. Prepare the egg wash by vigorously beating an egg in a small bowl. Set aside for now.
  10. Once the oven has reached the temperature, remove the pretzels from the freezer and dip each into the simmering baking soda bath for 30-45 seconds. Remove the pretzels from the water bath with a spider spoon, shake the excess water off, and return them to the baking sheet.
  11. Brush the pretzels with the beaten egg and sprinkle with kosher salt to taste.
  12. Bake at 425f for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  13. Cool on a wire mesh rack before enjoying your sourdough soft pretzels!

Notes

** FLOUR: measure your flour via the scoop and level method. Stir the flour in your container or bag, then gently spoon the flour into your measuring cup before leveling the measuring cup with the back of a butter knife. Avoid packing in the flour!

Batch:

This sourdough discard pretzel recipe makes around 16 good-sized pretzels. It can be doubled or halved depending on your desired outcome.

Storage:

Wrap each pretzel individually in plastic wrap then store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They will keep for up to 3 days. For best enjoyment, refresh your sourdough pretzel in the toaster before devouring!

These pretzels can also be frozen. Wrap each once individually in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 4 weeks. Allow your frozen pretzels to thaw at room temperature and reheat in the toaster if desired.

variations + substitutions

  • Sweet pretzels: sprinkle the pretzels generously with cinnamon sugar instead of kosher salt after the egg wash
  • Everything pretzels: Sprinkle the pretzels with everything bagel seasoning instead of kosher salt
  • Plain pretzels: don't add any herbs or spices after the egg wash
  • Pretzel bites: Instead of wrapping the rolled dough, boil the dough in the baking soda wash before chopping into bite-sized bits. Reduce baking time to approximately 15 minutes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 656Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 671mgCarbohydrates: 129gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 22g

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