Sourdough Soft Pretzels

Last spring, when the “New York Pause” of self-isolation began, our family enjoyed many special Happy Hours. My son tried every flavor of San Pellegrino soda and my daughter’s beverage alternated between lemonade and Arnold Palmer. We have limited these indulgences to once a week (if at all) at this point. 😉

The kids and I made these soft pretzels on a couple of these occasions. I loved that we all shaped them differently! We ate them with a variety of mustards and with warm queso (from Trader Joe’s) on another occasion. The melted butter was essential.

This recipe was adapted from King Arthur flour. I used active dry yeast and omitted the malt. Great.

For the Dough:

  1. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray, or lining it with parchment paper.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, preferably on convection.
  4. 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.
  5. Roll each piece of dough into an 18″ rope. Shape each rope into a pretzel.
  6. Brush the pretzels with water and sprinkle lightly with coarse pretzel salt.
  7. Bake the pretzels for 25 to 30 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Note: This is correct; there’s no need to let the shaped pretzels rise before baking.
  8. Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush with melted butter, if desired. (We thought it was essential!)
  9. Serve with a variety of mustards and/or queso, as desired.

Pretzel-Shortbread Bars

Pretzel-Shortbread Bars
My family likes any type of shortbread- this is a sweet and salty version. Broken pretzels are incorporated into the dough and the topping. I love anything baked in a rectangular tart pan too! This recipe is from Martha Stewart Living.
  • Yield: Makes about 2 dozen
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 3 1/4 cups salted miniature twist pretzels
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 4 14-by-13 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment.
  2. Pulse 1 3/4 cups pretzels in a food processor until powdery. Transfer 1/2 cup to a bowl; discard any remaining pretzel powder. Stir in flour and baking powder. Transfer remaining 1 1/2 cups pretzels to food processor, and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped.
  3. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and beat in egg yolk, then pretzel-flour mixture, until combined. Mix in 1/2 cup chopped pretzels.
  4. Press dough evenly into pan. Top dough with 1/4 cup chopped pretzels, pressing slightly; discard any remaining pretzels.
  5. Bake shortbread until pale brown and firm in the center, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let shortbread cool for 1 hour. Remove shortbread from pan, and cut into 1/2-inch-wide rectangles using a serrated knife.

Shortbread can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week.

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