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Sourdough discard pretzels on white parchment paper.

Sourdough Discard Pretzels

Jessica Vogl
An easy and delicious recipe for Sourdough Discard Pretzels, and a great way to use up some of your sourdough discard!
5 from 45 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Rise Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Servings 8 servings


For the Dough

  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 200 grams (about ¾ cup) sourdough discard unfed, at room temperature
  • 567 grams (about 4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted

For Boiling

  • 10 cups water
  • cup baking soda

For Topping

  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon water to make an egg wash
  • Flaky sea salt for topping


  • Combine the warm water (1 cup + 2 Tbsp) and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit for 5 minutes or until the yeast begins to foam.
  • Add the sourdough discard, flour, salt, and butter, and mix using the dough hook attachment until well-combined. Change to medium speed and continue to knead until a smooth dough forms, about 4-5 minutes (you can also knead by hand if preferred).
  • If needed, add more flour or water (1 Tablespoon at a time) to reach your desired consistency. The dough should be fairly sturdy, smooth and not sticky.
  • Oil a large bowl and transfer the dough in a ball to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 60-90 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line 2 half-sheet baking trays with parchment paper and set aside. Bring 10 cups of water and ⅔ cup baking soda to a boil in a large pot.
  • In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a smooth, dry work surface (no need to flour or oil, you'll want some traction). Divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 24-inch rope*. Make a U-shape with the rope, then cross the ends of the rope over each other like a heart. Twist the ends together and push down at the bottom of the U. Place on the parchment-lined baking pan.
  • Place the pretzels in the boiling water, one by one, for 20-30 seconds on each side. The pretzels should float (called "passing the float test"); if not, see notes section below. Remove the pretzels from the water using a slotted spatula and return to the baking sheet. Brush each pretzel with egg wash and sprinkle with flaky sea salt**.
  • Bake until golden brown, approximately 13-15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool fully. Serve with a mustard or your favorite dipping sauce.


*If you want to make Sourdough Pretzel Bites, roll each section of dough into a 24-inch rope, then use a sharp knife to cut it into 1-inch pieces. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and continue to follow the instructions above. 
Passing the float test: When you boil the pretzels, they should float in the water. If your pretzels do not float, cover the unboiled pretzels with plastic wrap and let rise for another 10 minutes, then try again. If they are not floating, they have not risen long enough and will be dense (which is why they sink). 
**If you want to make Cinnamon Sugar Sourdough Discard Pretzels, omit the egg wash and flaky sea salt. Bake as directed above, then let the pretzels cool. Melt 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter. Stir together ¾ cup granulated sugar with 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Brush the cooled pretzels with the butter, then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. 
Keyword pretzel, sourdough, sourdough discard
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