I love soft pretzels! Anytime I go to a sporting event or a theme park it’s always at the top of my list – especially in Disney where they’re shaped like Mickey Mouse. I love the smell too when I walk by the snack stands – just the whole experience is a winner for me.
Anyway, this recipe is an easy way you can enjoy the whole soft pretzel experience right in your own home. Now, I’m saying this is an easy recipe, not a short one…you will have to factor in rise time. But don’t worry, I’ve worked out a schedule for you to do this overnight, splitting the process into two days. Of course if you’re an early riser you can do this all in one day but I have to say its really convenient to wake up with risen dough, read to bake.
Suggested Pretzel Baking Schedule:
- Friday 8 AM – Feed the starter to get it active
- Friday 8 PM – Mix pretzel dough, cover and let ferment/rise on counter overnight (or in the fridge if you make your dough at say, 5pm on Friday)
- Saturday 8 AM – Divide dough, shape pretzels, cover and let rise
- Saturday 8:30 AM – Prepare water bath and preheat the oven
- Saturday 9 AM – Boil pretzels, brush on egg wash, sprinkle with toppings and bake
There are so many was you can top these pretzels – I used flavored artisanal sea salt but get a lot of requests for everything bagel seasoning as well! I also highly recommend making these in mini form to use for dips! If you make them small enough you can use a full one for dip or you can cut them in half and toast them.
If you’re looking for dip ideas you can give these a try:
- Honey Whipped Feta Dip with Balsamic Roasted Strawberries
- Vegan Garlic Hummus with a Mint Beet Pesto Swirl
- Magical Green Sauce
They also go great with soups and stews:
Overnight Sourdough Soft Pretzels
For the Pretzel Dough
- 1/2 cup active sourdough starter
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp fine sea salt
- 4 cups bread flour
For the Water Bath
- 6 cups water
- 2 tbsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
For the Egg Wash
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp coarse salt or other preferred seasonings
- About 12 hours before you plan to make the pretzels remember to feed your sourdough starter so it is at it's most active when you go to make the dough – allow the starter to rise at room temperature
To Make the Dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine active sourdough starter, water, honey and salt using a spatula.
- Add the bread flour and use your hands to smush the ingredients together as best as possible. Note at this stage, the dough will be very stiff.
- Attach the dough hook to the mixer and allow it to knead the dough on the lowest speed for 6-7 minutes. Alternatively you can hand knead for about 10 minutes.
- Cover the bowl with wax paper or a clean tea towel and let it rest at room temperature for 8-12 hours. You can do this overnight! If you make the dough where it will be sitting overnight for more than 8-12 hours, cover and let it rise in the fridge. This will make the process a little slower and give you some extra time
To Shape the Pretzels
- If you rose your dough in fridge overnight let it sit on the counter for about an hour to get to room temperature – if you rose your dough overnight at room temperature, go ahead and move on to the next step
- Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper then turn the dough onto a clean counter and divide into equal pieces. The size of the piece is up to you! I like snack size pretzels so I divided it into 24 equal pieces
- Working one piece at a time, roll the dough into a long rope shape and fold into the shape of a U. Lift the ends of the rope and twist the ends together 2 times. Fold the twist over and press the 2 ends on the dough creating a traditional pretzel shape.
- Cover the shaped pretzel dough with a clean towel or paper towel and let rise for 30-60 minutes or until puffy
To Cook the Pretzels
- While the pretzels are on their final rise, preheat the oven to 425°F with the oven rack in the center position
- At the same time, boil the water in a large stock pot, adding the baking soda and brown sugar as it comes to a roiling boil
- Once the rise is complete, boil the pretzels over medium heat (a rolling boil) for 30 seconds on each side. You should be able to boil 3-4 at a time, but don't crowd the pot
- Once boiled, use a mesh strainer to remove the pretzels and place them back on the parchment paper
- Brush the boiled pretzels with the egg wash and sprinkle with salt, everything seasoning, or whatever you like on top of your bagels!
- Bake at 425°F for 12-14 minutes or until they turn a golden brown color