Best tasting easy sourdough soft pretzels made from scratch. Buttery tasting pretzels are good with your favorite dip.
What are soft pretzels?
Soft Pretzels are one of the famous chewy breads like bagels. However, both are different, soft pretzels are doughier, whereas bagels are denser, and the two baked goods clearly have different shapes. The biggest difference, however, happens during the cooking process.
Also, pretzels come in two form hard pretzels are salty and used as snack whereas soft pretzel can serve during breakfast too.
History behind these soft pretzels
Pretzels first made around the year 610 in northern Italy, by monks making unleavened bread for Lent. Back then, Christians prayed with their arms folded across their chests with each hand placed on the opposite shoulder. Twisted knot of pretzels represents this.
The pretzel continued to be a popular treat throughout Europe symbolizing good fortune. In America, German immigrants brought soft pretzels with them to Pennsylvania in the U.S. Compared to the rest of United States, Pennsylvania consumes around six time more of the soft pretzels
You need following ingredients to make this easy sourdough soft pretzels
Bread flour: I have used artisan bread flour which make it chewier you can use any bread flour in your hand.
Sourdough starter : I have used 90: 10 bread flour : rye flour starter of 100% sourdough starter. If you do not have starter in hand, use this recipe to make one.
Brown Sugar: Adds sweetness to soft pretzels.
Butter: Here I used melted butter
Salt: Adds flavor and control fermentation rate.
Water: Around 50% hydration used in this dough. You can go upto 55% hydration not more than that
See recipe card for quantities.
In a Kitchen-aid stand mixer add sourdough starter, brown sugar, melted butter, salt and water.
Then add bread flour
Mix well to form a soft supple dough . Set aside for 4 hours for doubling
Roll each dough into long piece.
Heat water and add baking soda.
Cook the shaped pretzel dough for 30 second each side
Divide the dough 6 equal pieces
Twist like this
After cooking in baking soda water sprinkle with salt and bake
Then bake it for 450°F for 15 minutes in the oven and serve as breakfast or snack.
Tips to make this delicious soft pretzel
You can use any flour starter; I have tried with white flour starter as well as a combination of bread flour and rye flour both turned out to delicious.
If you want vegan version use oil in instead of butter.
I did not used any egg wash if you want use egg wash and salt. Everything bagel topping also works well.
Using egg wash can give more uniform color.
Difference between soft pretzels and bagels ?
Bagels are chewier than soft pretzels because of their cooking style. Both involve cooking them in hot water before baking.
In case of bagels, the dough added to boiling water for about 30 seconds on both sides until the dough has a slight sweetness and color with malt syrup.
Whereas, pretzels added into an alkaline solution, giving them a distinctive crust and the color reflected by the slightly soapy taste.
Use a baking sheet
Storage and serving soft pretzels
These soft pretzels are best while they are warm. You can also store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days and warm it before serving.
Soft Pretzels served with mustard, cheese, or yogurt dipping sauces.
Easy sourdough soft pretzels
- ½ cup / 100g Sourdough Starter
- 1.5 tbsp. / 27g Granulated Sugar
- 1 cups / 225g warm water plus 3 quarts for boiling
- 3 cup / 450g Bread Flour
- 1 tsp. tsp/ 6g salt
- 3 tbsp. / 46g Unsalted Butter melted
- 3 cups water for boiling
- ¼ cup Baking Soda
- 2 tablespoon Coarse Kosher salt
- In a stand mixer with hook attachment, mix sourdough starter, sugar, salt, melted butter and warm water on low speed for 3 minutes.
- Mix in flour 1 cup at a time on medium speed. Continue mixing until dough forms a smooth ball.
- Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set in a draft free place until dough doubles in size, about 4 hours.
- Once dough has doubled, transfer to work surface, gently punch it down. Cut 6 equal portions (pie wedges) roll wedges into coils about 20 inches long.
- To form pretzels, pull coils into a “U” shape, crisscross ends at top then fold back down to the bottom of the “U” shape.
- Add 3 cups of water and baking soda to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add 2 pretzels at a time into water for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon. Place on a lined sheet pan.
- Sprinkle pretzels with salt. Bake at 450°F/ 230°C for 15 minutes, rotating pan once.
- Enjoy with favorite dip.
This is Swathi ( Dr. Ambujom Saraswathy Ph.D) from Zesty South Indian Kitchen who loves to explore cuisines from all over the world. Whenever possible I try to to give an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread. All the recipes you see here are created by me and approved after taste-test by my family.