Sourdough Pretzels

Sourdough Pretzels
These long fermented pretzels are both eye-catching and easily digestible without commercial yeast. Today, we're using baking soda instead of lye, making it a goggle-free, kid-friendly project. It's a perfect family activity for weekends and best enjoyed with warm cheese sauce or mustard for dipping.

What You'll Need


Electric mixer

Kitchen scale

Mixing bowl

Baking sheet

Large pot that can hold 10 cups of water

Dough Scraper

Tea Towel


600 grams All Purpose Flour

300 grams water


75 grams active sourdough starter

20 grams honey


30 grams unsalted butter

Baking soda bath

6 cups water (about 1,400 grams)

14 grams honey

18 grams baking soda


Desired dough temperature: 78°F

Autolyse (9 am)

Warm or cool the autolyse water so that the temperature of the mixed dough meets the FDT (final dough temperature) of 78°F for this recipe.

Place the autolyse ingredients in the electric mixer. We are using the electric mixer to build extra strength in the dough. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes or until everything comes together in ball of dough. Cover the electric mixer bowl and let rest for one hour.

Mix Dough (10am)

In a small separate bowl, thoroughly mix together the slurry ingredients. Set aside.

To the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add in the slurry to the autolyse. With the mixer on low, mix for 3-4 minutes or until the dough is fully mixed. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile cube the butter. Set side for the remainder of the above rest period to warm up. Placing the mixer on medium low speed, slowly add the cubed butter in. Mix until the butter is fully mixed into the dough. You should have a shiny looking dough at this point.

Bulk Fermentation (10:15am-3:15pm)

At a warm room temperature, 74-76°F, bulk fermentation should take about 5 hours.

Remove dough mass from electric mixer into a medium sized covered bowl for bulk fermentation.

This dough will require 4 sets of stretch and folds during bulk fermentation. After the first 30 minutes, wet your hands and grab the dough pulling it over it self to the other side. Repeat this process until the entire bowl of dough has been stretched.

Cover and repeat these folds 3 more times, at 30 minute intervals.

Then let the dough rest, covered, for the remainder of bulk fermentation.

Cold fermentation (3:15 pm - 8:15 am)

Place lidded dough in the refrigerator overnight. This step strengthens dough along with building dough strength which is important as we will be pulling on this dough to shape into a pretzel shape.

Divide and pre-shape (8:15 am - 9:00 am)

Divide the dough into 10 equal portions. Flatten the dough into a rectangle. Roll the dough into a log shape similar to making baguettes. Cover dough and let rest for 15 minutes.

Shape (9:00 am - 9:30 am)

Working with one dough piece at a time, roll each piece into a 20 inch rope shape with tapered ends. Grab the ends and create a “U” shape. Twist the ends twice and flip them over. Press the ends against the dough on the baking sheet.

Final Proofing (9:30 am - 11:00 am)

Let the proofed dough rise covered at room temperature for 2 hours or until puffy. Once the proofing is complete, place the dough in the freezer for 90 minutes. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT STEP.

Prepare to bake (11:00 am - 11:30am)

Preheat oven to 500°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Prepare baking soda bath (11:15 am)

Measure out 6 cups water in a medium pot. Add in the 14 grams of honey. Mix and bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Once the water has started to boil, bring down to a medium heat and add the baking soda.

Drop 2 pretzels in the pot at a time and poach for 30 seconds on each side. Place poached pretzels on prepared baking sheet.

Bake pretzels

Sprinkle pretzels with a coarse salt while the pretzels are still wet from the baking soda bath. Score the pretzels using a lame or razor blade.

Turn oven temperature down to 450°F. Bake pretzels for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to cooling rack. Serve within 3 days.

Share and enjoy!

Makes 10 pretzels.

Recipe contributed by A Sourdough Story

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