Soft Sourdough Pretzels Recipe

Let's face it: Most people who enjoy soft pretzels while out and about probably haven't made them at home. Though this project may seem intimidating, it's not actually that complicated, especially if you've worked with dough before. And if you were one of those people who got into making sourdough bread, that's even better — this recipe, developed by Jessica Morone, utilizes sourdough starter and bread flour for a soft pretzel that's got great texture and a hint of tang.

"Using bread flour in this recipe makes the pretzels softer and chewier than if you just use all-purpose flour because it has a higher gluten content," Morone explains. "It really makes a difference in pretzel recipes." Of course, any kind of soft pretzel isn't complete without something to dip it in. "My favorite thing to serve these pretzels with is beer cheese, which I make myself," Morone says. "Other than that a really good mustard is always a good option." Hungry yet? Here's how to make them.

Assemble your sourdough pretzel ingredients

As we mentioned, you'll need bread flour and sourdough starter for this recipe. You'll also need one egg, brown sugar, salt (and pretzel salt, if you want it), baking soda, warm milk, and melted butter.

Form, mix, and knead the dough

Start by adding the dough hook attachment to your stand mixer and filling the bowl with the warm milk, melted butter, sourdough starter, and some of the brown sugar. Start gently mixing it while you gradually incorporate the flour, then keep mixing on low until you get a ball of dough. "You can make this recipe without a stand mixer, you just have to knead the dough by hand until it is smooth, which takes about 10 minutes," Morone notes. Once you form your dough, take it out and knead it until smooth. Take a big bowl and coat it in a small amount of oil, then place your dough in it and cover with plastic wrap. Now, we wait — about 2 hours, to be precise.

Roll out and shape your pretzels

Once your dough is roughly twice the size it was before, scatter some flour on your rolling surface and start rolling out your dough into a rectangle. Cut that rectangle into 12 pieces, then roll those pieces out so they look like long strips or little snakes. Create that signature pretzel shape by first forming the dough strand into a circle, then twist the ends either once or twice. Bring the twisted ends towards yourself (and the round part of the circle) then optionally use a bit of water to make the ends stick. Voila, a pretzel!

If you're already exhausted from the dough-making process, you can actually take a break before creating your pretzel shapes. "Once the pretzel dough has risen you can refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days or even freeze it for a few months," says Morone. "But you will want to thaw it to room temperature before you form the dough into pretzel shapes."

Boil the pretzels

You're almost ready to enjoy homemade pretzels! Boil some water in a big pot, then mix in some brown sugar and baking soda. Once that dissolves, pop a few pretzels in (don't overcrowd the pot!) and boil them briefly on each side, placing them on a sheet pan when you're done. While you're at it, preheat your oven to 450 F.

Bake your pretzels until golden brown

Brush your sheet pan of boiled pretzels with egg that you've beaten with a little water (this egg wash will help them turn out nice and golden brown on top), add salt if you'd like, then bake them to perfection. Congrats: You've made your very own sourdough pretzels. Pair them with your favorite dipping sauce, like cheese or mustard, and enjoy.

This recipe makes 12 pretzels, but don't worry if you can't finish them all at once. "You can store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for about 4 days," Morone says. "I recommend heating them up in the microwave or toaster oven before eating leftovers because they taste best when they are a little warm."

Soft Sourdough Pretzels Recipe
5 from 38 ratings
Enjoy your next movie night with one of the all-time best theater snacks - a soft pretzel - but in homemade form and with a sourdough twist.
Prep Time
2.92
hours
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
12
pretzels
dipping soft pretzel into mustard
Total time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Ingredients
  • ½ cup sourdough starter, active and bubbly
  • 1 cup milk, warmed (110-120 F)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 quarts and 1 tablespoon water, divided
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 egg
Optional Ingredients
  • Pretzel salt, for garnish
Directions
  1. Add the sourdough starter, warm milk, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and melted butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
  2. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add in the flour. Mix until the dough forms a soft ball.
  3. Turn the dough onto a clean surface and knead the dough until smooth (about 2 minutes). Form the dough into a ball and place it into a clean, lightly-oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 2 hours, until the dough doubles in size.
  4. Once the dough has risen, turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a rectangle and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll out each piece to 18-20 inches in length.
  5. Shape each piece of dough into a pretzel. Do so by making a loose circle the dough strand, ends nearest you. Twist the ends together once or twice, then fold them over, pressing them gently into the round part of the dough. Place finished pretzels on lightly greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Place the cookie sheets into the freezer for 30 minutes to harden.
  6. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Place a large pot on the stove and add 2 quarts of water to it. Bring to a boil and then add the baking soda and remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Let the sugar and baking soda dissolve.
  7. Add pretzels 3 to 4 at a time to the water so that they aren't crowded. Let them boil in the water for 30 seconds on each side. Gently remove the pretzels from the water and add them back to the cookie sheets, evenly spaced.
  8. In a small bowl whisk together the egg and the remaining 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the egg wash over the pretzels on the cookie sheets and sprinkle with pretzel salt if desired.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes until the pretzels are golden brown.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 174
Total Fat 3.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 20.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 29.6 g
Dietary Fiber 0.9 g
Total Sugars 4.1 g
Sodium 523.5 mg
Protein 5.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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