sourdough starter discard decisions, sourdough starter, unfed sourdough starter, sourdough pretzels
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Sourdough Pretzels

Sourdough Pretzels are a delicious way to you your sourdough starter discard
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: General
Keyword: Bread, Pretzels, Sourdough, Sourdough Starter
Servings: 12 pretzels
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones



  • 1 cup unfed sourdough starter (8 oz, 227g)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (12-3/4 oz, 361g)
  • 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk, see Recipe Notes
  • 3/4 cup water (6 oz), lukewarm, see Recipe Notes
  • 1 Tbsp granulated or brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted & cooled, or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp  instant yeast

Water Bath & Toppings

  • 2 Tbsp  granulated or brown sugar in 2 Tbsp water, see Note
  • pretzel salt (coarse Kosher salt works as well)
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter, optional


For the dough

  • 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.
  • 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 (I baked the pretzels at 400°F for a shorter time).
  • 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.
  • Roll each piece of dough into an 18" rope. Shape each rope into a pretzel.

For the water bath

  • Dissolve the baking soda (or sugar) in the water. Brush the pretzels with the solution, and sprinkle lightly with coarse pretzel salt. (Here I differed from the instructions after reading some of the comments on the recipe…I boiled the pretzels in the baking soda bath for 20-30 seconds per side, drained them and put them on a cookie sheet, then sprinkled them with salt before baking)
  • Bake the pretzels for 25 to 30 minutes (at the higher temp, bake for 12-15 minutes), until they're a light golden brown. Note: This is correct; there's no need to let the shaped pretzels rise before baking.
  • Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush with melted butter (optional, but who am I trying to kid…of course I brushed the freshly baked pretzels with melted butter!)

Recipe Notes

Instead of nonfat dry milk (which I don't keep on hand), I substituted ¾ cup (6 oz) of fresh milk, scalded & cooled, and omitted the water.
I made a baking soda bath (instead of the brown sugar bath) using a solution of ¼ cup (2 oz, 55g baking soda dissolved in 9 cups water)