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Homemade Soft Sourdough Pretzel Recipe

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Our soft Sourdough Pretzel Recipe comes with a video demonstration and several suggestions for how to finish them. So many yummy ideas…

Baking soda brush on method-nice browned sourdoughpretzels

Sourdough discard recipes are turning out to be a great addition to our family’s weekly menu.

When I make bread and keep my sourdough starter maintained there is always the discard. I won’t throw it out.

I’m too cheap to pay money for flour and watch it go in the garbage. So I have LOTS of recipes to use it up.

Homemade sourdough pretzels-pin image
These homemade sourdough pretzels are easy to make and so incredibly scrumptious. With a satisfyingly firm crust and a soft, chewy center that is packed with rich flavor they are perfect with creamy butter and salt.

This pretzel recipe is one of my favorite discard recipes now.

Soft pretzels can be made large or small, salty or sweet. skinny or fat. top them with salt or sugar and cinnamon.

More Sourdough Discard Recipes:

When you feed your sourdough starter KEEP the discard for more amazing recipes like these.

Visit our Sourdough Section to see ALL of our sourdough breads, bagels and many other recipes.

Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe:

This recipe is very simple. Only about 15 minutes of prep. Then rest the dough and make your pretzels. This visual guide will help you see all the steps.

Please also watch our video demonstration of this sourdough discard recipe.

TIPS:

  • Use instant yeast if you have it. Active dry yeast is not the same. They will both work. Instant yeast will just be easier to work with.
  • I have used both butter and oil to make this recipe. MIND the oil. A strong flavored oil will add flavor to the pretzels. Try avocado oil for a healthy flavorless oil.
  • I used sesame oil for my last batch. Yep the pretzels had the flavor. but it was a nice twist.
  • If the dough is too dry when you mix it to hold together add a few tablespoons of water until you can work with it before kneading.
  • You can knead with wet hands to further hydrate the dough if hand kneading.

let’s get started making sourdough pretzels.

Making Sourdough Pretzel Dough:

Baking Prep:

  • Preheat your oven now.
  • Line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly spray cooking oil on the parchment to prevent sticking. Or use a silicone mat like I do.
  • After Resting the dough turn the dough out onto a work surface.
  • Follow the guide below for instructions on forming the pretzels.

Forming the Pretzels:

We used the baking soda wash in our video demonstration. I’ve added more ideas for washes and baths below for this pretzel dough recipe if you’re interested.

This homemade pretzel recipe can be finished in several ways. Below we offer more ideas for finishing the pretzels.

Each idea will change the flavor and crust a bit. There is also a sweet variation for you.

Pretzel Wash Suggestions:

The final step before baking this soft pretzel recipe is to brush on a wash over your raw ready to bake bagels.

Brushing on baking soda wash-sourdough pretzels
Brushing on a baking soda wash helps with browning and adds some tang.

Brush On Methods:

  • Baking Soda Wash:The method demonstrated in our video is a very simple wash of 1/2 tablespoon baking soda dissolved in two tablespoons of water. Brush is over the raw pretzels
  • Non Diastatic Malt Powder is not currently available but King Arthur Flour usually stocks it. Use 1 Tablespoon malt powder dissolved in two tablespoons water. Brush it on.

Whole Egg Wash:

Instead of baking soda brush a beaten egg mixed with a tablespoon of water over the raw pretzels. We did this method and the pretzels did brown nicely.

Egg White Wash:

If you want your pretzels shiny and not browned this one will do the trick. Beat an egg white with a Tablespoon of water. Brush on the raw bagels.

Non Diastatic Malt Wash:

Non diastatic malt is currently out of stock so I can’t say how this works but it’s often used for pretzel wash with good results I understand. If you have some…

Mix 1 Tablespoon non diastatic malt with 2 Tablespoons water. Dissolve and brush on raw bagels. Bake.

Sugar Wash for Sweet Bagels:

I did use a sugar wash on a batch of pretzels. If you want a sweet pretzel and plan to sprinkle your pretzels with a cinnamon sugar topping rather than salt use this wash.

  • 1 Tablespoon sugar to 2 Tablespoons water.
  • Dissolve the sugar in the water and brush it on your raw bagels.
  • sprinkle with your sweet toppings and bake.
Baking soda brush on method-nice browned sourdoughpretzels
I brushed the baking soda THOROUGHLY over these pretzels. They are beautifully browned.

The pretzels pictured above were washed with baking soda UNBAKED. The soda tang is more pronounced with this wash. But it is very quick to do.

Immersion Methods:

We found some pretzel wash ideas in this LA Times article by Noelle Carter. She describes several ways you can finish a pretzel. We tried Two.

Baked Baking Soda Bath:

  • I’m impressed with this one. The baking of the soda tempers the flavor and gave the pretzels more of the authentic Pretzel crust and flavor.
    1. On a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper
    2. Spread 1 1/3 Cups Baking soda in an even layer
    3. Bake at 250 degrees F. for 60 minutes
    4. Pour into 4 cups of warm water in a low wide pot, bowl or saucepan to 3 inches depth.
    5. Using a large slotted spoon lay the raw bagels in the bath for 2 minutes.
    6. Turn pretzel over in bath for another minute or two.
    7. Remove to bath of plain water to rinse.
    8. Lay back on baking sheet and sprinkle with pretzel salt.
    9. Bake as directed.

Lye Bath:

We did NOT try this. But traditionally lye is the tried and true pretzel wash.

Go to The Times Article linked above for more instructions on how to do this potentially dangerous bath. I’m not getting into personal protective gear in my kitchen. 🙂

The different washes produce different crusts and subtle changes in the flavor as well.

In the printable recipe card I’ve put all the variation ideas in the NOTES section for you.

Baking and Finishing:

Soft Sourdough Pretzels
Golden Brown Soft Sourdough pretzels brushed with melted butter. Ready to eat.

Your Printable Recipe:

Baking soda brush on method-nice browned sourdoughpretzels
Yield: 12 pretzels

Soft Sourdough Pretzels Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Soft and chewy sourdough pretzels are simple to make. This delicious homemade pretzel recipe uses sourdough discard. The sourdough adds flavor and softness. They are ready to eat in under two hours!

Ingredients

Pretzel Dough:

  • 198 grams milk-3/4 Cup
  • 227 grams sourdough starter- unfed (1 Cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon softened butter or oil
  • 361 grams bread flour- 3 cups
  • 14 grams sugar- 1 Tablespoon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons INSTANT yeast (active dry yeast will work in a pinch but not as well)

Baking Soda Brush On Wash: -More wash choices in NOTES

  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons water

Finishing touches:

  • Pretzel Salt-to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons butter-melted

Instructions

Make the Pretzel Dough:

  1. In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer) Add all of the pretzel dough ingredients.stir into a cohesive dough
  2. Mix them all together to make the dough. The dough should stick together.
  3. Knead until smooth (about 10 minutes by hand). You may need to add a few extra Tablespoons of water to make a cohesive dough.
  4. Cover the dough and let it rest about 45 minutes.

Baking Prep:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with a silicone mat or parchment paper. spray oil lightly over parchment paper to prevent sticking.

Making the Pretzels:

  1. Roll the dough out about 1/2 inch. cutting sourdough pretzel dough(OR form the dough into a log and cut from the end.)
  2. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces.
  3. Roll each piece of dough into a rope about 18 inches long (Think making playdough snakes).pretzel dough ropes
  4. Form each dough rope into a pretzelMaking dough into sourdough pretzels
  5. Lay each raw pretzel on your baking sheet. (If using an immersion bath method do it now).
  6. Brush the baking soda wash over each pretzel evenly. (if using)
  7. Sprinkle salt on the wet pretzels.

Baking Instructions:

  1. Bake at 350 degrees F. For 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. Remove to cooling rack.
  3. Brush the warm pretzels with melted butter to add shine and flavor.Brushing butter on pretzels

Notes

The Final Wash- Several choices:

You will taste the baking soda somewhat on the pretzels if you use our simple brush on wash. So I'm including other ideas on washing the pretzels if you prefer.

Baked Baking Soda Bath:

I'm impressed with this method. The baking of the soda tempers the soda flavor and gives the pretzels more of the authentic Pretzel crust and flavor. Downside is it uses a lot of baking soda and it takes time.

  1. On a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper
  2. Spread 1 1/3 Cups Baking soda in an even layer
  3. Bake at 250 degrees F. for 60 minutes
  4. Pour into 4 cups of warm water in a low wide pot, bowl or saucepan to 3 inches depth.
  5. Using a large slotted spoon lay the raw bagels in the bath for 2 minutes.
  6. Turn pretzel over in bath for another minute or two.
  7. Remove to bath of plain water to rinse.
  8. Lay back on baking sheet and sprinkle with pretzel salt.
  9. Bake as directed.

Whole Egg Wash:

Instead of baking soda brush a beaten egg mixed with a tablespoon of water over the raw pretzels. We did this method and the pretzels did brown nicely.

Egg White Wash:


If you want your pretzels shiny and not browned this one will do the trick. Beat an egg white with a Tablespoon of water. Brush on the raw bagels.

Non Diastatic Malt Wash:

Non diastatic malt is currently out of stock so I can't say how this works but it's often used for pretzel wash with good results I understand. If you have some...

Mix 1 Tablespoon non diastatic malt with 2 Tablespoons water. Dissolve and brush on raw bagels. Bake.

Sugar Wash for Sweet Bagels:

I did use a sugar wash on a batch of pretzels. If you want a sweet pretzel and plan to sprinkle your pretzels with a cinnamon sugar topping rather than salt use this wash.

  • 1 Tablespoon sugar to 2 Tablespoons water.
  • Dissolve the sugar in the water and brush it on your raw bagels.
  • sprinkle with your sweet toppings and bake.

Lye Bath:

We did NOT try this. But traditionally lye is the tried and true pretzel wash. Go to This Article for more instructions on how to do this bath. I'm not getting into personal protective gear.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 193Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 4mgSodium 702mgCarbohydrates 35gFiber 2gSugar 1gProtein 6g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Please follow and Tag us with your finished pretel pics and stories on our Instagram page. We love to see how you used this recipe. Thanks so much for participating in our Homemade Food Junkie community.

Simple homemade sourdough pretzels-pin image
These homemade sourdough pretzels are easy to make and so incredibly scrumptious. With a satisfyingly firm crust and a soft, chewy center that is packed with rich flavor they are perfect with creamy butter and salt. #sourdoughpretzel #soft #easy #recipe #bites #best #pretzels #homemade
Homemade soft sourdough pretzels-pin image
Our soft Sourdough Pretzel Recipe comes with a video demonstration and several suggestions for how to finish them. So many yummy ideas…
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Melissa

Saturday 30th of January 2021

This is a great dough. Quick and easy recipe--I've used it a few times now. I do prefer to boil mine. I found the BS wash REALLY bitter and too salty. I love that you've listed so many variations here.

Diane

Saturday 30th of January 2021

Hi Melissa, I agree the baking soda is harsh. That's why I went with all the variations. I'm happy one of them worked for you. Thanks for the great feedback. Happy Baking!

Aileen

Saturday 24th of October 2020

Please write unfed starter in your recipe. We went right to recipe without reading all ur blog and ended up wasting time because I thought I didn’t have enough fed starter. Hey thx

Diane

Sunday 25th of October 2020

Hi Aileen, Thanks so much for pointing this out. I will update the recipe card so it is clearer. Have a great day!

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