Sourdough Soft Pretzels have a wonderful flavor and chewy bite. Just when you thought homemade soft pretzels couldn’t get any better, they do!
I’ve made soft pretzels several times over the last year or so and didn’t really plan on posting another pretzel recipe just yet. But I recently made some terrific Sourdough Soft Pretzels which I baked in a 185 year old wood-fired oven and wanted to share it with you.
Don’t worry, you don’t need a wood-fired oven to make these pretzels!
You can read more about my adventures in wood-oven baking here. For a baking-geek like me these days are always so much fun.
Every time I’m invited for a baking day I bring a loaf of sourdough bread to bake and I also take the opportunity to test a few new recipes in the oven. I’ve baked Pear Upside Down Gingerbread Cake, Sourdough Rye Crispbread and Apple Cinnamon Galette in the oven, with varying degrees of success.
Because soft pretzels like to bake at a fairly hot temperature, I decided to try them in the wood-fired oven.
My sourdough starter has been wonderfully active lately and I’ve been making all sorts of new recipes that go well beyond a loaf of bread, including Sourdough Donuts & Sourdough Focaccia. So I thought, why not use the starter to make the pretzel dough?
This is a 2 day recipe because I don’t use any commercial yeast in the dough, just the starter. But the vast majority of the time is hands-off.
I like to start the dough in the afternoon/evening of day 1 and then roll the pretzels the next morning. Because it is a soft dough, it’s easiest to roll while it’s still cold.
Watch the video in my Sourdough Focaccia post to see how to turn the dough on the first day. It’s exactly the same process with the pretzel dough.
If you work on this schedule you’ll have fresh hot pretzels by early afternoon. The baked pretzels freeze really well. Just pop them in the oven to re-warm before eating.
So here you go, my favorite new pretzel recipe!
Watch the recipe video to see how to make Sourdough Soft Pretzels.
Since you’ve got your starter fed, check out the entire list of My Best Sourdough Recipes. Have fun!
I know you hate to throw away that sourdough discard. Check out these recipes that use sourdough discard.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
- 1 1/4 cups (10 oz, 300 ml) warm water
- 1 cup (8 oz, 224g) active sourdough starter
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3 1/2 cups (17.5 oz, 490g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 quarts (2 liters) water
- 1/3 cup (2.5 oz, 70 g) baking soda
- 1 egg white, lightly whisked
- salt and seeds for garnish
- Combine the water, starter, salt and sugar in a mixer with the paddle attached (or mix by hand).
- With the mixer running on low add 2 cups of the flour and mix to form a smooth batter. Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining flour. Knead on medium low speed for 10 minutes (speed 3 on my stand mixer). The dough will clear the bowl and cling to the hook after kneading.
- Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover the bowl and set aside at room temperature for 4-5 hours.
- Every hour repeat the following procedure: Uncover the bowl, lift one side of the dough over into the middle of the dough. Repeat with the other three sides of the dough then flip the dough over. (Watch the video in this post to see how to folding is done.) By now the dough should be lively, elastic and airy. If the dough is still sluggish give it another hour or two at room temperature.
- After 4-5 hours put the dough in the refrigerator overnight.
Make the Pretzels (Day 2)
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and coat the parchment paper with vegetable oil.
- Turn the cold dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rope. Using flat hands, roll the dough back and forth moving your hands in opposite directions from the middle of the rope towards either end. If the dough gets sticky dip your hands in flour and continue. The dough should stick to the surface just a little so that the friction will allow you to pull the dough into a long rope. The longer and thinner the rope the more open the pretzel shape will be. Try to get the rope to about 20"-24"
- To form a pretzel lift the dough rope on either end and allow the middle to sit on the surface, forming a "U" shape. Twist the ends of the rope together 2x and fold the twist over and rest on the center of the "U". Lift the pretzel by the two top loops and place on the oiled parchment paper.
- Cover the tray with oiled plastic wrap and set aside to for 1 hour to bring the dough to room temperature.
- Combine the 2 quarts of water and baking soda in a large pot and bring it to a boil. Preheat the oven to 450°F convection or 475°F regular.
- Drop the pretzels into the boiling water for 10 seconds, flip and boil another 10 seconds. (I can fit about 3 at a time in my pot, don't overcrowd the pan). Set the boiled pretzels back onto the baking sheets (lined with oiled parchment).
- Brush each pretzel with egg white and sprinkle with coarse salt and/or seeds of your choice. Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Turn the sheets halfway through baking so they brown evenly.
- They're best eaten warm from the oven. They also freeze really well.
This is a 2 day recipe because there is no commercial yeast in the dough, but most of the time is hands-off.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.