Soft Sourdough Pretzels

Sourdough Pretzels
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Soft and chewy, these Sourdough Pretzels are addictive! Whether you’re after a savoury or a sweet snack, or something to dip into hummus, this is a great base recipe for soft sourdough pretzels that works every time!

It wasn’t that long ago that fell in love with pretzels. A couple of years ago I was walking by one of the kiosks selling cinnamon-dusted pretzels in a shopping centre and it smelled so tempting. Lucky me, they were handing out free samples, so I got to try a lovely, freshly baked piece of pretzel. It was my first pretzel ever. Yes, I was in my late twenties when I first tried a pretzel. But it certainly left a good impression!

Like most things, one of my favourite soft pretzel recipes uses a sourdough starter. I don’t think sourdough makes pretzels any different texture, but there’s that slight sourdough tang in them that makes these particular pretzels so special!

Whilst the dough takes its time and needs an overnight cold-proof, it is extremely easy to make and doesn’t require much hands-on time. I don’t knead it much, instead, I use my trusted coil-folding method, that you might have seen in my other sourdough recipes.

The trickiest part is actually shaping the pretzels. Whilst it isn’t a sticky dough and feels quite firm after an overnight cold-proof, it can be difficult to shape without stretching it out and making it irregular thickness when shaping the pretzels. All you need is patience and quick hand motions (more on shaping below).

Sourdough Pretzels

Shaped pretzels are first flash-boiled in water and bicarbonate of soda. I was surprised when I first made them, but having done some research, it all makes perfect sense. If you have an inner geek like me, this is a good read about what happens to pretzels when you boil them in baking soda. But essentially, you boil them for the chewy texture. And you add baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) for the lovely brown crust.

The beauty of home-made pretzels is that you can sprinkle them with anything your heart desires. Some of our favourites include:

  • Seeds: poppy, sesame, nigella, mixed seeds.
  • Ranch seasoning mix (wonderful recipe, here)
  • Cinnamon and brown sugar

How Do We Make Soft Sourdough Pretzels?

Day 1:

First thing in the morning, feed your starter and leave to at least double for 4-6 hours. Go by how much your starter rises, rather than the time indicated.

Once your starter doubles, mix starter, water and half of the flour to a smooth batter and leave for an hour to autolyse.

After an hour, mix in the rest of the flour, salt and sugar. In a stand mixer, or by hand, knead for 5 minutes until you arrive at a smooth dough.

Grease a shallow dish with some oil. Pop your dough into the dish, cover with a tea towel and leave somewhere warm (ideally 20-24°C). For the next 3 hours, you will perform coil folds every 30 minutes. After you’d done 6 sets of folds, leave the dough to prove for another hour. Then wrap with clingfilm and pop in the fridge overnight.

Day 2:

Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment and brush the top of it with some oil.

Take the dough out of the fridge and place onto a floured surface. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. With a palm of your hand, roll each of the pieces into a long (45-50 cm) thin rope.

Form a U shape with your rope. Twist the ends of the rope together and fold the twist over and rest on the centre of the U. Lift the pretzel by the two top loops and place on the prepared baking parchment. Repeat with the other 5 pretzels. Cover the pretzels with oiled cling film and leave in a warm spot for 1-2 hours.

Boil approx 2 l of water, then add bicarbonate of soda. Preheat the oven to 230°C.

Drop pretzels into a pan of simmering water (don’t overcrowd the pan). And cook for 10 seconds before flipping them over carefully and cooking for another 10 seconds. Repeat with the rest of the pretzels. Pop the boiled ones back onto the oiled baking parchment.

Brush the pretzels with some lightly beaten egg white. Sprinkle with seeds or other toppings that you’re using. Then bake in the oven for 20 minutes until they’re deep brown.

Cool on the tray for at least 30 minutes before digging in!

You might enjoy our other sourdough recipes, including:

Sourdough Pretzels

Soft Sourdough Pretzels

Soft and chewy, these Sourdough Pretzels are addictive! Whether you're after a savoury or a sweet snack, something to dip into hummus or soup, this is a great base recipe for soft sourdough pretzels that works every time!
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Autolyse, Resting and Proving 15 hrs
Total Time 15 hrs 40 mins
Course Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American, Bavarian, German
Servings 6 pretzels

Ingredients
  

  • 110 g active sourdough starter
  • 150 ml warm water
  • 240 g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda in the US)
  • 2 l boiling water
  • 1 egg white for brushing
  • 2 tbsp seeds or any other topping

Instructions
 

Day 1:

  • First thing in the morning, feed your starter and leave to at least double for 4-6 hours. Go by how much your starter rises, rather than time indicated.
  • Once your starter doubles, mix starter, water and half of the flour to a smooth batter and leave for an hour to autolyse.
  • After an hour, mix in the rest of the flour, salt and sugar. In a stand mixer, or by hand, knead for 5 minutes until you arrive at a smooth dough.
  • Grease a shallow dish with some oil. Pop your dough into the dish, cover with a tea towel and leave somewhere warm (ideally 20-24°C). For the next 3 hours, you will perform coil folds (see text above) every 30 minutes. After you'd done 6 sets of folds, leave the dough to prove for another hour. Then wrap with clingfilm and pop in the fridge overnight.

Day 2:

  • Line a large baking sheet with paking parchment and brush the top of it with some oil.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and place onto a floured surface. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. With a palm of your hand, roll each of the pieces into a long (45-50 cm) thin rope.
  • Form a U shape with your rope. Twist the ends of the rope together and fold the twist over and rest on the centre of the U. Lift the pretzel by the two top loops and place on the prepared baking parchment. Repeat with the other 5 pretzels. Cover the pretzels with oiled cling film and leave in a warm spot for 1-2 hours.
  • Boil approx 2 l of water, then add bicarbonate of soda. Preheat the oven to 230°C.
  • Drop pretzels into a pan of simmering water (don't overcrowd the pan). And cook for 10 seconds before flipping them over carefully and cooking for another 10 seconds. Repeat with the rest of the pretzels. Pop the boiled ones back onto the oiled baking parchment.
  • Brush the pretzels with some lightly beaten egg white. Sprinkle with seeds or other toppings that you're using. Then bake in the oven for 20 minutes until they're deep brown. Cool on the tray for at least 30 minutes before digging in!
Keyword Overnight Sourdough Pretzels, Seeded Sourdough Pretzels, Soft Sourdough Pretzels, Sourdough Pretzels, Sourdough Pretzels Recipe
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Sourdough Pretzels

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