Sourdough Pretzels

This is a great recipe to use up the cup of discarded starter from when you feed your sourdough.  It’s a very easy recipe that does not call for boiling soda water.  I like that very much because last time I made pretzels I found out that the bubbles that form on top of the boiling soda water can burn your hands when you are dropping the pretzels into the boiling soda water.  Which made me very sad and made dropping the rest of the pretzels into the boiling soda water extremely very not fun!  So, if you are a diehard pretzel fan and insist on dropping them into boiling soda water (or lye water), you may not like this recipe.  But some of you might enjoy it even more.  Like I do.  And I suppose that if you really really want to, you can go ahead and drop them into boiling soda water.  I really don’t mind.

Sourdough Pretzel Recipe

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp yeast

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tbsp honey

1/4 cup nonfat dry milk

3/4 cup lukewarm water

1 cup unfed sourdough starter (can come straight out of the fridge)

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

For Topping Pretzels

1 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp hot water

pretzel salt, sea salt, or kosher salt

2 Tbsp melted butter

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Mix all ingredients and knead until you get a dough that is fairly smooth, but slightly sticky.  Cover the dough and let it rise for about 45 minutes.  It is not going to rise very much so don’t get worried when it doesn’t.

Punch the dough down to deflate it and turn it out onto a lightly greased (not floured) work surface.  Divide the dough into 12 pieces.  Roll each piece into a rope about 18 inches long and fold and twist into the classic pretzel shape.  Or any other shape that happens to catch your fancy.  Place the pretzels on a buttered or parchment paper covered cookie sheet.  Dissolve the sugar into the hot water and brush over the tops of the pretzels.  Sprinkle with salt.  Here’s the best part:  the pretzels don’t have to rise and they don’t take a dip in the boiling soda water!  Yay!

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until they are lightly browned.  Remove the pretzels from the oven and brush with the melted butter.  The butter will keep them from getting hard.

So tell me, what is your favorite pretzel shape?