An easy recipe for soft and chewy sourdough pretzel bites with three toppings. They’re perfect as a football game snack or appetizer with salted butter or your favorite dip. This easy-to-follow sourdough pretzel recipe also works for many other shapes including classic pretzels, pretzel sticks, and buns.
Why you’ll love these pretzel bites
- Perfect for a crowd: These soft and chewy pretzel nuggets are a great alternative to crackers, baguettes, and garlic bread. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled and the bites are filling without being heavy.
- Endless topping options: Salt, sesame, and cheese are my favorite toppings but you can add many other variations similar to bagel toppings and even make them sweet.
- Easy to make: You need to be organized as the fermentation takes some time but the active preparation time for this recipe is minimal.
- Flour – All-purpose flour works well for this recipe. You can choose bread flour too.
- Milk – Full-fat milk adds softness to the pretzel bites. Lower fat versions work as well but add less richness. Leftover whey has a similar effect and can be used as a substitute for milk.
- Butter – Unsalted or salted butter both work well for this recipe. Simply reduce the salt by 1/2 a teaspoon if you’re using salted butter.
- Salt – Choose fine sea salt for the dough and a coarse grind as a topping for your pretzel bites.
- Baking soda – Giving the bites a baking soda bath not only gives them their unique color but also adds to the soft and chewy texture.
- Sesame seeds – White sesame seeds make a great topping that not only tastes but looks good as well.
- Cheese – Grated edam adds extra flavor to the pretzel bites. You can substitute it with gouda or cheddar.
- The three stretch-and-folds strengthen the gluten in the dough and gently incorporate air without kneading.
- Don’t skip the baking soda bath. This step is vital to achieving the pretzel bites’ unique color and soft and chewy texture.
- Don’t throw out any stale pretzel bites. They make delicious savory bread and butter pudding or pretzel and bacon dumplings.
Pretzel bites in 7 easy steps
- Activate sourdough starter.
- Combine all ingredients and knead the dough.
- 3 stretch-and-folds.
- 8-hour ferment at room temperature. Overnight works well.
- Shape the bites.
- Boil them briefly in a baking soda water bath.
- Bake the sourdough pretzel bites.
Sourdough Pretzel Variations
You can easily turn this pretzel sourdough into other shapes. Simply bake these larger pretzel shapes for a little longer at 180C/356F, about 20-25 minutes.
- Classic sourdough pretzels: You can shape this sourdough into traditional pretzel shapes. Check out my spelt pretzel recipe for tips on how to create this shape.
- Sourdough pretzel sticks: These mini-baguette shapes are perfect for sandwiches. Simply score them at the top 3 times diagonally.
- Sourdough pretzel buns: Pretzel buns make delicious filled rolls. Ham, cheese or salami, some salad, and mayonnaise are tasty options. Simply score the buns with a cross at the top.
- Sourdough pretzel knots: Similar to pretzel buns, this
Serve the pretzel bites warm with salted butter or your favorite dip. Traditional Bavarian obazda is a delicious choice and so is a wholegrain mustard dip. They also make a tasty addition to grazing platters and cheese boards.
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How do you store pretzel bites?
Can I freeze sourdough pretzel dough?
What kind of sourdough starter does this recipe need?
Sourdough Pretzel Bites
- 1 cup active sourdough starter 100% hydration sourdough starter
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 tsp salt
Baking Soda Bath
- 1 liter water
- 3 tbsp baking soda
- 2 tsp coarse salt
- 1 tbsp white sesame
- 1/2 cup edam cheese grated
- In a large bowl, combine the active sourdough starter with the milk and softened butter. Slowly add the flour and salt and combine everything to a rough dough.1 cup active sourdough starter, 4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup butter, 1 tsp salt
- Place the dough onto the kitchen bench and knead it for 3 minutes until it's smooth and all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Add it back to the bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes. Stretch and fold the dough by pulling one edge of it and fold it over. Repeat with all sides.
- Place it back in the bowl for another 15 minutes and repeat the process until you have done 3 stretch-and-folds. After that cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or cling wrap and let it rest for 8 hours at room temperature for the dough to ferment. Overnight works well.
- The dough will have doubled in size. Remove it from the bowl and divide it into 4 equal parts. Shape each dough portion into a long log with your hands – about 1 inch / 2.5 cm in diameter. Add a little flour if the dough is too sticky to shape it. Cut the roll into 9 pieces with a knife or dough cutter. The pieces should be about 1.5 inches / 4 cm wide.
- Preheat the oven to 356F/180C and line 2 large baking trays with parchment paper. Place the dough pieces onto the lined baking trays.
- In a large pot, bring the water and baking soda to a boil and reduce it immediately down to a gentle simmer.1 liter water, 3 tbsp baking soda
- Add the dough pieces to the water, about 4 at a time. They will initially sink to the bottom but will slowly float up. Make sure they don't get stuck at the bottom of the pot when they first go into it. After about 10 seconds the pieces will start to float up and you can take them out with a slotted ladle after about 15 seconds. Place them back onto the baking trays. Repeat the process until all pieces had a baking soda water bath.
- Add your preferred toppings to the pretzel bites and bake them in the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove them from the oven and enjoy while warm with your favorite dip!2 tsp coarse salt, 1 tbsp white sesame, 1/2 cup edam cheese