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Sourdough pretzel

Full Flavour Sourdough Pretzel, Made with Rye and Stout.

  • Author: Matthew James Duffy
  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Baking
  • Method: Sourdough
  • Cuisine: German


These sourdough pretzels are super soft on the inside, crisp on the outside and have a rich flavour from the rye with added depth from the stout. Pair with a grainy mustard, American-style hot cheese, whipped butter with herbs and garlic, or your favourite dip!



For the levain:

  • 54 grams organic bread flour
  • 10 grams whole wheat flour
  • 63 grams water 26°C/80°F
  • 63 grams levain

For the dough:

  • 366 grams organic bread flour
  • 366 grams whole rye
  • 161 grams beer, dark stout
  • 201 grams water
  • 15 grams salt
  • 190 grams levain, ripe
  • 22 grams honey
  • 59 grams butter, room temperature

To dip the pretzels:

  • 1000 grams water, room temperature
  • 40 grams lye, food grade


For the levain:

  1. Start by adding the water to your jar or container followed by the levain and both flours.
  2. Mix well to incorporate all ingredients fully.
  3. Cover and let stand in a warm place until ready, about 4 hours.

To mix the sourdough pretzel dough:

  1. Using the bowl of a planetary style mixer add the levain followed by the water and beer.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients on top. Mix the dough on first speed for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Stop the mixer, cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Switch the dough to second speed and mix for another 3-4 minutes.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and place in a warm place.
    Desired Dough Temperature – 27°-28C/80-82°F
  6. Bulk ferment the dough for 3.5 hours.
  7. Half way through at about the 1.75 or two hour mark give the dough a fold.
  8. Divide the dough into 110-115g pieces.
  9. Flatten the pieces and roll the dough up pressing it into itself until you have a little log.
  10. Roll the log to 12.5cm/5″ with slightly tappered ends. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
  11. Roll the sourdough pretzel log into a 62cm/25″ log with tapered ends OR with little bulbs on the end. I like to roll them with tapered ends but traditional pretzels have the little bulbs (see the German pretzel above).
  12. Shape the dough into a traditional pretzel shape and place onto a baking sheet lined with silicon baking mat or lightly sprayed parchment paper.
  13. Cover the dough and let rest for 10 minutes if doing an overnight ferment OR 30 minutes if doing a same day bake. If you will be making the sourdough pretzels the same day after 30 minutes skip straight to the dipping step.
  14. Place the doughs in the fridge overnight.  Cover the tray with a bag and place in the fridge.
  15. Uncover the pretzels and leave them in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before you want to dip and bake them. 
  16. Carefully dip the pretzels in lye (see the above notes AND video for full instructions). 
  17. Preheat the oven to 232°C/450°F.
  18. After dipping the sourdough pretzels and allowing them to drain place them on a sheet pan lined with either a silicone baking mat or a lightly oil sprayed parchment paper.
  19. Place the pretzels in the oven and allow to cook for 18-20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.


  • Source some good food grade lye. Make sure you follow your local guidelines and use caution when working with lye. If you can’t get lye you can use a baking soda solution (although it’s not quite the same).
  • Use a silpat or some lightly oiled parchment.
  • Chill your pretzels well in the fridge or freezer after shaping but before dipping as this will make them incredibly easy to handle and dip.
  • Make sure the kids are in bed or the pets are in another room when you set up your lye dipping station.
  • Cover the table well as you don’t want to drip anything on your table when you are dipping.
  • ALWAYS add the lye to the water and not water to lye as you don’t want to splash this around.
  • Wear gloves and goggles/eye protection when dipping.
  • As soon as you finish dispose of the lye based on local regulations. Here I pour down the drain and run water immediately after. This will clean my drain at the same time as disposing of the solution.
  • This type of pretzel doesn’t have an amazing shelf life and they are best eaten warm so make sure to eat them ASAP (don’t forget to save one for the kids).

Keywords: sourdough pretzels