Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Sourdough Pretzels

I just love pretzels, especially the soft and chewy ones you get from the mall or a street vendor.  I’ve made soft pretzels a few times, and I always enjoy them. I also enjoy working with sourdough.  So when I saw this recipe for Sourdough Pretzels in a recent email from King Arthur Flour, I thought it was the perfect combination: soft pretzels made with sourdough.  What’s not to love about that?


If you’re like me and have a hard time discarding a cup of sourdough starter every time you feed your starter, this is a great way to put it to use.  This recipe calls for unfed sourdough starter straight from the refrigerator.  So instead of discarding the cup of sourdough, use it in this recipe, then feed your starter as you normally would.  I used my apple starter for this recipe.  It’s become my favorite starter simply because it’s so cool.

Another thing I like about this recipe is that it doesn’t require any lye.  I’ve looked at a few authentic soft pretzel recipes and they require the use of food grade rye to achieve the shiny effect on the crust.  At the same time, they include a disclaimer that you should wear long gloves and protective eye wear when working with the lye.  I don’t know about you, but the thought of using lye (even food grade lye) doesn’t particularly appeal to me. Plus, that sounds like a lot of trouble just to make a snack, even pretzels.  Well, no worries, this recipe uses a solution of malt powder and water to achieve the same effect. 


Sourdough Pretzels

Makes: 12 Pretzels

Adapted from: King Arthur Flour Sourdough Pretzel Recipe

These pretzels are really easy to make.  You don’t even have to boil them in a pot before baking them.


  • 170g lukewarm water
  • 227g unfed sourdough starter
  • 361g High Gluten Flour
  • 35g nonfat dry milk
  • 14g diastatic malt powder (the original recipe called for non-diastatic malt powder, but I didn’t have any so I substituted diastatic malt powder and it seemed to do okay.)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast



  • 1 tablespoon diastatic malt powder
  • 28g water
  • kosher salt
  • 28g melted butter, optional



Mix and knead the dough ingredients to make a cohesive, fairly smooth dough. It should be slightly sticky; if it seems dry, knead in an additional tablespoon or two of water.



Cover the dough and let it rest for 45 minutes. It will rise minimally. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.



Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface, fold it over a few times to gently deflate it.



Divide it into 12 pieces, each weighing about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 ounces. I divided mine into 13 pieces, about 2 1/4 ounces each.



Roll each piece of dough into an 18" rope.



Shape each rope into a pretzel.





Place the pretzels on a baking sheet.



Dissolve the malt in the water.



Brush the pretzels with the solution, and sprinkle lightly with coarse pretzel salt.



Bake the pretzels for 25 to 30 minutes, until they're a light golden brown.



Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush with melted butter, if desired.



These pretzels tasted good.  They made a great New Year’s Eve snack. 


Happy Baking!


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