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 way to use the discard.
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. If there’s only one or two of you to eat the pretzels, these freeze well.
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. If all you have is all-purpose, that should work 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.
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.
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.