Friday, April 20, 2012

Sourdough Surprises #2 - Sourdough Pretzels

I am so excited for today's post. Not only is it the second reveal post for Sourdough Surprises, but it is a recipe so delicious that I really hope that it convinces anyone who hasn't tried working with sourdough to give it a shot.

These pretzels were, in a word, fantastic. 

And it all starts with the starter.

The dough comes together pretty easily. 

I mixed together all of the ingredients, other than the flour, in the bowl of my KitchenAid mixer.

I then slowly added in the flour, starting with one cup of whole wheat flour and continuing with  the bread flour.  The original recipe called for four cups of flour (total), but my dough only required three cups, and I soon had a soft, smooth ball of dough.

The recipe then calls for the dough to rise for several hours, until doubled. I allowed my dough to rest at room temperature for a few hours, then transferred the whole bowl (covered with plastic wrap) to the refrigerator for a long, cold, overnight rise.

And rise it did - wow!

I let the dough come back up to room temperature, then got down to the business of shaping my pretzels.

I started by rolling the dough into a rectangle.

And then, using my pizza cutter, I cut the rectangle into strips.

I then rolled each strip into a long snake and twisted them into, well, pretzel knots.  I tried to make them as uniform as possible... hey, at least they all looked pretzel-y.

And then I let them rise again.

Like most sourdough recipes, the key ingredient here was time. But trust me. All the waiting is totally worth it.

I actually rolled and shaped the pretzels after dropping little miss off at school (while little man napped), then let them rest for the afternoon until I came home from picking her up. So the timing worked out pretty conveniently. A little planning ahead was a wonderful tool for making these.

Anyway, once we were ready to go, I began the two-step cooking process. Like any really good pretzel recipe, this recipe called for the pretzels to be boiled before being baked.  So I boiled up a big pot of water, into which I dissolved some baking soda to add some acidity to the boil.

And then the pretzels took a nice, boiling bath.

I was amazed by how much these pretzels puffed up in the water.

For half of my pretzels, I brushed them with egg wash and sprinkled them with coarse salt prior to baking.


The other half, I baked "naked" - without the egg wash or salt.

And as soon as they came out of the oven, I gave them the Auntie Anne's treatment - a generous brushing of melted butter...

And a delicious sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.

Double yum.

So, yeah - I had pretzels with dinner and for dessert that night. There's nothing wrong with that. Right?

And check out the crumb on these babies:

I'll say it again.


I can't wait to make these again.  And I really can't wait to see everyone else's results! So link up!!

D's Sourdough Pretzels
(from Sourdough Monkey Wrangler)

2/3 cup sourdough starter

1 cup warm water
3 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon table salt
Topping(s) of choice (coarse salt, cinnamon sugar - whatever you want!)
(and an egg for egg wash for shine/to adhere toppings)

Mix starter, water, oil, sugar and salt. 

Mix in flours until you have a nice ball of dough (keep it soft though) (you might not need all four cups of flour).
Knead the dough until smooth and set aside to rise in a warm place (at least a few hours). You can refrigerate the dough overnight if you would like.
Punch dough down and roll it out into a big rectangle. Begin cutting off strips to work with as individual pretzels. Roll each strip into a "snake" and shape the pretzels your version of a knot (or whatever shape you want) and place them on parchment/waxed paper to rise. 
When fully risen (more or less doubled), lower each pretzel carefully into a large pot of boiling water with baking soda dissolved in it (at least 1/2 a cup per 4 quarts of water). Turn over after about a minute and boil for another minute. Remove with the biggest slotted spoon-like thing you have and place on a rack to drain. 
As the pretzels are boiling, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Brush each pretzel with egg-white wash and immediately sprinkle them generously with coarse salt. 
Bake for about 12-13 minutes.

(I left some of my pretzels without the egg wash prior to baking, then, hot out of the oven, I brushed those with melted butter and sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar.)

These taste best fresh. You can store them in a zip top bag or other air-tight container for a couple of days.



  1. I've been wanting to make pretzels for a while now. I think you're cinnamon and sugar pretzels are just the inspiration I needed. I'd want to eat them for dinner and dessert too.

  2. Awesome awesome job!! Your pretzels look purely perfect!

  3. Aw wow, I didn't even think to do sweet ones. Yum! Your pretzels look so cool. I love Sourdough Surprises - can't wait to see what we're making next!

  4. Yum! they look delicious especially the sweet ones :)

  5. Oh, wow. I was just looking for sourdough pretzels on an impulse and I found your post. It's really oddly exciting that this was just posted--well, the day before yesterday, but I'm still on 4/21 so--yesterday! I'll be making these tomorrow, thanks for sharing the recipe!

  6. Yes! That looks fantastic and no, there's nothing wrong with having them during dinner and during dessert hahaha


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