Sourdough Pretzels

There's nothing better than soft, chewy, warm pretzels from a street vendor — except possibly making them yourself, using this easy recipe. You can make these pretzels on a moment's notice, too: the recipe calls for sourdough starter straight from the refrigerator, no need to feed it first.

Sourdough Pretzels

Yield: 12 pretzels


  •     3/4 cup lukewarm water*
  •     1 cup unfed sourdough starter, straight from the refrigerator
  •     3 cups Unbleached Hi-Gluten Flour* or Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  •     1/4 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
  •     2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) non-diastatic malt powder or 1 tablespoon sugar
  •     1 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil
  •     1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  •     2 teaspoons instant yeast
  •     *Add an additional 2 tablespoons water if using high-gluten Lancelot flour.

  •     1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder or sugar
  •     2 tablespoons water
  •     pretzel salt
  •     2 tablespoons melted butter, optional

  1. Mix and knead the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a cohesive, fairly smooth dough. It should be slightly sticky; if it seems dry, knead in an additional tablespoon or two of water.
  2. Cover the dough and let it rest for 45 minutes. It will rise minimally. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface, fold it over a few times to gently deflate it, then divide it into 12 pieces, each weighing about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 ounces.
  4. Roll each piece of dough into an 18" rope. Shape each rope into a pretzel.
  5. Dissolve the malt in the water. Brush the pretzels with the solution, and sprinkle lightly with coarse pretzel salt.
  6. Bake the pretzels for 25 to 30 minutes, until they're a light golden brown. Note: This is correct; there's no need to let the shaped pretzels rise before baking.
  7. Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush with melted butter, if desired.

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