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Oct 24, 2021

Sourdough Soft Pretzels

Soft sourdough pretzels are a wonderful bar snack that you can also make at home. 

Soft sourdough pretzels.



Serve these with a German beer and sweet mustard to celebrate Octoberfest. 

To get the dark thin crust on these pretzels, before baking, plunge them in a waterbath that has added alkaline. In this case, I used baking soda. In the past, I have tried food grade lye, which is what the pros use, but it is pretty scary stuff, so I've used it only once. 

You can still get a great maillard reaction (browning) with the baking soda solution, and you don't have to dress up in a hazmat suit. 


Soft Sourdough Pretzels on a rack.



Pretzel Salt and other Toppings:

For the salt on these pretzels, I used pretzel salt. While coarse sea salt is delicious, it melts into the pretzels over time, while pretzel salt is non melting and bright white. You definitely can use sea salt or kosher salt. Just know that the granules will disappear into the crust after about a day. 

You can also use Everything Bagel topping (store-bought or make your own) or sesame seeds. 

Soft Sourdough Pretzels in a basket.



Equipment (and more) Used to Make Sourdough Pretzels:

To make the dough for these pretzels, I used a stand mixer to get a smooth and supple dough. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can definitely knead this dough by hand. Just be patient and keep kneading until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. 

You will also need two baking sheets (also called rimmed half-sheet pans). Line them with good parchment paper (I love the individual sheets from King Arthur Baking) and spray the parchment with spray oil. 

I love using Cambro storage containers for dough rising. They have markings showing you how much the dough has risen. I used a two quart container for this dough. 

If you've visited my baking posts before, you know how much I love using a kitchen scale. It makes such a huge difference when measuring flour and starter. Plus, you don't need to wash a bunch of measuring cups! 

Soft Sourdough Pretzels on plates.



To add a slight sweetness to the dough, I recommend barley malt syrup. You can usually find it in the sweetener section of grocery stores or organic food stores. It's an ingredient often used in pretzel and bagel dough. 

It also helps with the browning of the pretzels. If you can't find it, you can substitute honey, sugar, or brown sugar. 

How to shape soft pretzels:

First, divide the dough into 12 pieces. Stretch each piece out to 12 inch logs by rolling the dough under your hands back and forth from the center out. Cover the 12 pieces with oiled plastic wrap. 

Next, using the piece of dough you stretched out first, roll the piece out to 20 inches long. The reason you do this in two steps is to give the dough a chance to relax. 

After that, form the dough piece into an upside down "U." Cross the ends over each other into an "X" with about 2 inches left on each end. Cross the ends over each other one more time. 

Flip the twisted end, knot and all, toward the "U," resting the "legs on the "U" and the twisty part laying in the center of the pretzel. Adjust the shape and place on the oiled baking sheet. Cover with oiled plastic wrap. 

Repeat with the rest of the dough. 

For a truly authentic German shape, leave the center fatter than the ends (I did not do this). 

Soft Sourdough Pretzels crumb.



These pretzels are delicious served warm. If you have leftovers, individually wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer bag in the freezer. 

Reheat them from frozen in a 325 degree F toaster oven for about 5 to 10 minutes. 

I've been enjoying leftovers for breakfast with salted butter. They're also amazing with melty nacho cheese, beer cheese, different mustards, and, of course, your favorite pilsner. 


Welcome to another Sunday Funday! This week we are celebrating Octoberfest, hosted by Food Lust People Love.  Check out everyone's delicious sounding dishes. 


Soft German Sourdough Pretzels on a rack.



Soft Sourdough Pretzels

Soft Sourdough Pretzels
Yield: 12 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 1 HourCook time: 15 HourInactive time: 15 MinTotal time: 16 H & 15 M
Soft sourdough pretzels are a wonderful bar snack that you can also make at home.

Ingredients

For the Pretzels
  • 300 grams (10 ounces/1 1/4 cups) warm water, about 90 to 100 degrees F. 
  • 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
  • 224 grams (8 ounces / 1 cup) bubbly sourdough starter, 100 percent hydration
  • 490 grams (17 1/2 ounces / 3 1/2 cups) bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons pretzel salt
For Boiling the Pretzels
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/3 cup baking soda

Instructions

  1. in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the water, barley malt syrup, and sourdough starter. Give everything a stir with a Danish dough whisk or wooden spoon.
  2. Add two cups of the flour to the bowl and mix with the Danish whisk or the paddle attachment. Cover the bowl and let rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the flour and all of the salt.
  4. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed for 5 minutes, until you have a smooth and springy dough.
  5. Form the dough into a ball and place it into an oiled bowl or Cambro container, cover, and let rest for 30 minutes. Stretch and fold the dough by pulling the four "sides" of the dough and folding it over the center. Cover and let rest for 30 more minutes. Repeat 2 more time at 30 minute intervals. Cover and let rest an additional 30 minutes. Refrigerate overnight.
  6. The next day, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray each with spray oil.
  7. Divide the cold dough into 12 equal pieces. On a floured surface, shape each into 12 inch ropes and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Next, using the piece of dough you stretched out first, again on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough piece out to 20 inches long. 
  8. Form the dough piece into an upside down "U." Cross the ends over each other into an "X" with about 2 inches left on each end. Cross the ends over each other one more time.
  9. Flip the twisted end, knot and all, toward the "U," resting the "legs on the "U" and the twisty part laying in the center of the pretzel. Adjust the shape and place on the oiled baking sheet. Cover with oiled plastic wrap.
  10. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  11. Let the shaped pretzels rest for 1 hour. Heat the oven to 475 degrees F. with a rack in the middle position.
  12. Thoroughly whisk together the egg white and tablespoon of water and set aside. 
  13. When the dough is ready, bring the water for boiling the pretzels to a boil and add the baking soda. 
  14. Drop each pretzel, one at a time, and boil 10 seconds per side. Return them to the baking sheets. When the first 6 are boiled, brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake for 15 minutes, until a deep brown. If necessary, turn the baking sheet halfway through. 
  15. Cool on a wire rack. 
  16. Repeat with the second six pieces of the dough. 
https://www.karenskitchenstories.com/2021/10/sourdough-soft-pretzels.html
pretzels, sourdough
bread
German
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This recipe was adapted from Baking Sense. Be sure to check out her book, Easy Baking From Scratch. I've loved everything I've baked from the book, including these English muffins

Would you like to comment?

  1. Your buns are beautifully browned, Karen, proof enough that the baking soda works! I am adding the barley malt syrup to my shopping list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome!! I always have a bottle in my fridge.

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  2. They look amazing Karen. I have made sourdough pretzel bites and was pleased with them. Can't wait to try this recipe. I'm thinking it would be perfect as a pastrami sandwich.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to have to use this dough for bites!

      Delete
  3. These look so good, prefect for breakfast or to make a sandwich, love these Karen1

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