Sourdough Pretzels are homemade pretzels made with your sourdough starter and sprinkled with your choice of sweet or savory toppings. For another delicious recipe using your starter, try my Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls!
Soft pretzels are one of my favorite snacks to order at a ballgame. Well, there are no ballgames going on right now, so of course, I am craving what I can’t have. Then, I noticed the sourdough starter I had finally mastered and had an idea to make a sourdough pretzel.
They took a little time because you have to let the dough rise for a couple of hours, but they were so worth it, especially with the many toppings you can add to the pretzels.
How to Make a Sourdough Starter
For these pretzels, you just need to make it to the day when you begin removing half the starter (around day 3). Then, you can add it to your recipe. But, make sure you have enough discard (if using that) when you make these–it takes 1 1/2 cups of the starter.
To begin, add 1/2 cup flour and 1/3-1/4 cup water to a jar and stir well. Then, gently cover the jar (do not seal it closed) and let it sit in a warm place (70°F is best) for 24 hours. The best option for a cover is a paper towel and rubber band. Or, just remember to keep the jar lid loosely sealed. Try to keep it in an area of your house that is somewhat warm. Very cool rooms tend to slow the action of a starter. Wait 24 hours before checking the mixture.
Day 2: After 24 hours, check the mixture for bubbles. If you see bubbles, add the flour and the water, mixing it well, and let it sit for the next 24 hours. If you don’t see bubbles, do not get discouraged! It sometimes takes a couple of days for the science of it all to work. Just wait another day (or even two) until the first feeding (adding flour and water).
Day 3: After another 24 hours, check for bubbles. If you do see bubbles, remove half of the starter, add the 1⁄2 cup flour and 1⁄4-1/3 cup water and stir thoroughly. Let sit 24 hours. Oh, and don’t get rid of the starter you removed! You can use this for these pretzels (if you have enough)! And, now that you have been successful in feeding the starter, don’t stop now!
On days 4, 5, 6 you can feed it 2 times a day with the flour and water. Continue this routine (from Day 3; discard then feed) until the starter is consistently bubbling and doubling in size within 8 hours of each feeding.
Sourdough Pretzel Dough
Begin by warming up the milk until it’s warm to the touch. Then, mix the milk in with the butter, sugar, and the sourdough starter. Add in the flour and mix it on low for about 5 minutes. Gently scrape the dough out of the bowl and place it into a separate bowl that has been coated with oil. Let the dough rise for about 2 hours.
After the 2 hours, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for a couple of minutes. Then, separate the dough into 12 sections. Roll each section out into a long rope (about 30 inches). You are shooting for about 1 inch in thickness. Shape each rope into a pretzel and put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes before you boil them. Now would also be a good time to preheat the oven to 450°F.
Boiling and Baking the Pretzel Dough
After the pretzels have cooled in the freezer, you will drop the pieces into a boiling combination of water and baking soda. Drop a few in at a time, and only for about 30 seconds, or until they float to the top. Have a slotted spoon handy for easy removal. Place the boiled dough back onto the baking sheets lined with parchment. Brush the tops with the egg wash and your choice of topping combinations. Bake them for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let them cool before eating them. They will also soften a bit as they cool. Enjoy!
What Other Dips Work with Pretzels?
Besides the cheese dip I provided, you could also serve the pretzels with other kinds of dips. Try spinach dip, crab and artichoke dip, mustard, or skillet queso dip. Of course, don’t forget about favorite dips like French onion, ranch, or roasted garlic hummus!
How to Store Homemade Pretzels
Homemade Pretzels will last a few days when stored at room temperature in a sealed container. Or, for longer shelf life, freeze the pretzels. Reheat them in the microwave when ready to enjoy.
- 1 cup (245 g) milk, warmed
- 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1½ cups (339 g) sourdough starter, discard or fed
- 4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
- 12 cups (839 g) water
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
SEA SALT TOPPING
- 1 large egg, beaten for egg wash
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
GARLIC PARMESAN TOPPING
- 1 large egg, beaten for egg wash
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt (can start with 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder (can start with 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon grated parmesan
CINNAMON SUGAR TOPPING
- 1 large egg, beaten for egg wash
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
CHEDDAR CHEESE SAUCE
- 1 cup whole milk, divided
- 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup sharp shredded cheese, shredded
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In the microwave, warm up the milk.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine the warm milk with the butter, sugar, and sourdough starter.
- Add the flour and turn the mixer on 1-2 (never higher than 2 or medium-low) and let the mixer knead the dough for about 5 minutes.
- Turn off the mixer and scrape the dough into a medium bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Cover with plastic and set aside for about 2 hours while the dough rises.
- After 2 hours, turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Gently knead the dough for a couple of minutes.
- Separate dough into 12 pieces. Roll the pieces into 30 inch ropes (about 1 inch thickness).
- Shape each rope into a pretzel and place them on parchment-lined baking sheets. Put them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes before the water bath.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F while the pretzels are in the freezer.
- In a large stockpot, add water and baking soda. Cook over high heat. Once water is boiling, place 4 of the pretzels into the water. Remove with a slotted spoon after about 30 seconds (or after they have floated to the top) and place the pretzels back onto the lined baking sheets to add your choice of topping.
- Brush dough lightly with egg wash and sprinkle your choice of topping on top of each pretzel.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let them cool before serving.
CHEDDAR CHEESE TOPPING
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together ¼ cup of milk and the flour.
- Pour in the remaining milk and salt, bringing it to a boil over medium heat. Stir frequently.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture will start to thicken.
- Remove from heat, and stir in the cheese and pepper until the cheese melts.
Did you make this recipe?
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My dough is very stiff before the first rise, is this ok?
Amanda thank you for all your wonderful recipes!! I’m a beginner Baker! Just started my starter sourdough on Sept 10th so far so good!! So exciting to see bubbles( who knew)!! Can’t wait to try your recipes with my finished product!! I live in Colorado in the mountains having propane and High altitude is a challenge but one excepted!!
Wow these are amazing soft pretzels! At first I didn’t think I had the dough consistency right but I just kept chugging right along. Boy did they turn out great! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!
I wanted to share my success story ! First of all I used coconut oil instead of butter and I used almond milk instead of regular milk, I allowed the dough to rise on the counter for 2+ hours ( it didn’t double in size as it was a cool eve)and then refrigerated it overnight. It had about doubled in size after that. I then formed pretzels and froze them for 5+ hours before boiling and baking-They came out super awesome!
Can you leave in fridge over night to get a stronger sour dough taste
how should I store these? we ate them fresh out of the oven and they were delicious! I put them in Tupperware overnight and they are so dense the next day. I think next time I will leave them on a wire rack to cool for several hours and then through into a bread bag but IDK. any recs? thank you for your discard recipes!! they have been delicious!!