If you are looking for ways to use sourdough discard, these Sourdough Discard Pretzels are pretty good. The recipe was inspired by the King Arthur Sourdough Starter I made about 5 days ago, which has you discard 113 grams of sourdough for every feeding. I cringe every time I do this and am happy to have at least one sourdough discard recipe (Update: I have a lot more now!)
If you don’t have any discard and just want a good pretzel recipe, here’s a link to the original Homemade Pretzels. Both the Homemade Pretzels and the Sourdough Discard Pretzels are small batch recipes which will give you four or five pretzels. For a while I was making four really large ones, but now I’m making five slightly smaller ones. These pretzels freeze well!
High Gluten Flour
About the flour, before the days of Covid I bought a big bag of high-gluten “artisan” flour. It’s probably difficult to find now, but if you have some use it by all means. It makes the best pretzels. If you can’t find the artisan flour, bread flour will work. All-purpose works too, but the dough might be not be as pleasurable to work with. One benefit of the high gluten flour is it makes a really sturdy, easy-to-roll dough. Update: Just put in a link to the Bob’s brand, which is the artisan flour I use. However, bread flour works very well too.
It was just pointed out to me that this recipe had the step of boiling twice. The pretzel dough is boiled once for about 30 to 45 seconds. Once each piece of shaped dough is boiled, the pretzels are baked at 450 degrees F. The recipe has been corrected to show one boil time.
- Discard — Discards have different levels of moisture, so when it’s time to add the water you may end up using a little more or less. But start with 113 grams, which is somewhere around 1/2 cup.
- Flour — I have been making these with King Arthur brand bread flour, but all-purpose should be just fine.
- Yeast — For the instant yeast I use Platinum, which is a quick rising yeast.
- Butter and Oil — You can use all butter and leave out the oil or use the combo of butter and oil. I like to use a little of both.
- Water — When using instant yeast, I use water that is around 120 degrees.
Some Semi-Related Recipes
Sourdough Discard Pretzels
- 113 grams discard
- 280 grams flour bread flour or if you are lucky high gluten “Artisan”
- 1 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ to ½ cup maybe more warm water
- 5 cups water
- 1/3 cup baking soda
- 1 beaten egg mixed with a little water
- Pretzel salt Kosher salt or Everything Bagel seasoning
- Weigh out 113 grams of discard and put it in the stand mixer bowl. Add 280 grams bread flour, the yeast, 1/2 tablespoon sugar and salt. Stir well, then stir in the butter and olive oil. Add ¼ cup of water and stir to soften dough. Continue adding water about a tablespoon at a time until most of the flour has been absorbed and dough doesn’t seem too dry or too sticky.
- Put bowl with dough on stand mixer, attach dough hook and knead until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in warm spot in the kitchen until doubled (45 minutes to an hour).
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper and spray with olive oil cooking spray or rub with vegetable oil. These pretzels can be sticky, even on parchment.
- Bring the 5 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a 3 1/2 quart saucepan.
- Meanwhile, turn the dough and shape it into a long rectangle about 5×20 inches. Cut rectangle into 5 long even strips. Working one strip at a time, roll each strip with your fingers to make it cylindrical, then shape into a pretzel. Set the shaped pretzels on the parchment while you are waiting for the water to boil.
- Once water starts to boil, lift the pretzel and gently drop into the gently boiling water. Boil for about 45 seconds. With a slotted spatula, lift pretzel (letting excess water drip off) and set on your parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat until you have boiled all five pretzels. With a pastry brush, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with salt or Everything Bagel seasoning.
- Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Thanks for the review, Carleigh! Also, thanks for the dipping sauce suggestion.
These were absolutely amazing and I love how quick they come together! They turned out way better than other sourdough pretzel recipes I have tried that were much more labor and time intensive. I did pretzel bites and probably had around 30-40 of them. I baked for about 9-11 minutes at the same temp. The texture was perfect even a couple days later after being stored in an airtight container. I just heated them up and they tasted fresh again. I did what the recipe suggested and topped half of my bites with flakey salt and the other half with everything bagel. Made a dipping sauce with whole grain mustard, honey, and mayo–absolutely amazing! This recipe is a keeper!
Glad you liked them! To store,freeze them. To reheat, you can air fry for a few minutes if you have an air fryer or just heat at 350F for about 8 to 10 minutes or until warm. But the air fryer reheat helps retain the texture.
I made them and they turned out great! What is the best way to store them and keep that texture on the outside the same as when they are fresh baked?
Glad it worked for you, Kristina! I am out of discard and haven’t made these in a while, so I’m very happy you are enjoying the recipe.
I have made this recipe twice now, and it is delicious and so easy!!! Thank you
Thank you, Sasha! I’m glad the recipe worked for you. Thanks for leaving me a comment.
Okay, I forgot to give it stars so here you go. 🙂
Okay, this is the best pretzel recipe I have found yet!! They turned out perfect and were delicious!! Thanks fo the post. 🙂
Kelly, thanks for letting me know you tried the recipe and it worked. Hooray! I haven’t made the pretzels smaller, but if I did I’d check them at 10 minutes and cook longer if needed. They probably won’to take that much less time if made smaller.
Thank you for this awesome, reliable recipe! I’m always looking for good ways to use my discard & this is perfect! I’ve made these three times and they turn out great every time. Has anyone tried to make ten smaller pretzels? If so, how long should I cook them? I hate mess with perfection…
Maybe this will help avoid that feeling of waste: Try not throwing the discard out, but rather using it to make bread. When my neighbour, a professional baker, gave me some of her starter, she gave me different instructions to what I remember reading a while back on the KAF site. It was a lot simpler, I think. She told me to remove it from the fridge a little while before using it, then simply take about a cup out (she gave me gram measurements, but it was a long time ago and I don’t remember anymore), and mix it with my bread ingredients to make the dough (the recipe used whole wheat, rye, and bread flours, fine rolled oats, molasses, salt, optionally a bit of vital wheat gluten* and toasted seeds). Feed the starter with flour and water, leave it out for a bit, then put back in fridge for the week. Then place the thoroughly kneaded dough made with the starter in a bowl to rise. In the winter, our house was very cold and I let it rise overnight. In the summer, when it was very hot, I let it rise for a few hours during the day. Punch down, shape, rise again, bake. It did not create an airy artisan loaf, but then I used whole wheat and rye flour, rolled oats, and seeds. It came out dense, but in a hearty, good way. Not heavy or doughy. If I was in a hurry and didn’t have a long time to let it rise, I cheated and added a bit of yeast to speed it up. It was very forgiving, and I did this weekly for about 6 years.
*I live in Israel, where the flour has lower gluten than North American flour–or at least than the Canadian flour I grew up using. You might not need it.
Hope this helps–throwing food out never feels good, and I found the process to be pretty low-maintenance!
It’s kind of a pain in the neck to take care of and I’m using a lot of flour just to feed it.
Fun! I’ve been thinking about making a starter but with just the two of us it’s hard to imagine we need that. Have you seen King Arthur’s recipe for crackers from sourdough starter discard? They look so good!!
Hmmmm. You’ve increased my temptation! I have the stuff to do this.
These were very good! I had one last night.