Sourdough Discard Bavarian Pretzels

sourdough bavarian pretzels

A good Bavarian/German pretzel just hits the spot. I can eat them forever, plain, just like a good loaf of bread. Most traditional German pretzel recipe calls for lye, but that is too intimidating for me knowing how clumsy I am. This small batch sourdough discard pretzel recipe uses a baking soda bath instead– similar to how you would make bagels– but the end result is just as good.

sourdough bavarian pretzels
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5 from 1 vote

Sourdough Bavarian Pretzels

Small batch sourdough discard German pretzel recipe.
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Rest Time4 hours
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: German
Keyword: sourdough, sourdough discard
Servings: 6 Pretzels


Pretzel dough

  • 120 g water warm
  • 6 g brown sugar
  • 120 g sourdough starter or discard
  • 280 g bread flour
  • 28 g unsalted butter or oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast optional

Baking soda solution

  • 10 cups water
  • 160 g baking soda

Egg wash + salt topping

  • 1 egg or your milk of choice
  • 1 tbsp water omit if using milk instead of egg above
  • kosher salt


  • Stir brown sugar into warm water until dissolved. If you are adding active dry yeast, now is the time to add it. Stir in sourdough starter or discard and then add melted butter, salt, and finally flour.
  • Knead until a smooth and elastic dough forms– approx 5-10 minutes by hand. Cover and let rise for about 3-4 hours in a warm place until almost doubled.
  • Divide out the dough into about 6-8 pieces. Stretch and twist into pretzels. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 450F. In a large pot, add water and baking soda and bring to a boil. Add the pretzel dough into the water and boil for 45 seconds on one side before flipping and boiling for another 45 seconds on the other side. Remove and place on a baking sheet.
  • Brush with egg wash (1egg + 1 tbsp water), sprinkle on salt and pop into the oven to bake for about 15-20 minutes.


active dry yeast: spike the dough with it to help it leaven quicker

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10 responses to “Sourdough Discard Bavarian Pretzels”

  1. Michael Avatar

    When you say “Add pretzel dough into the water and boil for 45 seconds on both sides,” does that mean a total of 45 seconds or 45 seconds for each side for a total of 1.5 minutes in the soda bath?

    1. Xian Avatar

      45 seconds per side! Thank you for asking, I’ll update the recipe for clarity!

  2. Christy Keys Avatar

    5 stars
    Wow! I made these today and they are incredible! As I was going through the rising, shaping and the acid bath I wasn’t sure if it was going to be worth the effort, but let me assure you, it 100% is! Amazing! I will be putting these again for sure.

    1. Xian Avatar

      I’m so happy you like them! <3

  3. C Keys Avatar

    Wow! This may be the best thing I’ve ever made with my discard! These are better than any soft pretzel you can buy. I will be making these regularly.

  4. Katia Avatar

    Can you add honey instead of brown sugar?

    1. Xian Avatar

      Yes you can! You may need to reduce the water just a little to account for the extra water in the honey.

  5. Nora Avatar

    can this be made as a “hard” pretzel?

    1. Xian Avatar

      yes— you can definitely do this by making the pretzels smaller and baking it longer at a lower temp (I would try at 375F).

  6. Glenn Avatar

    While searching for a small batch recipe and I stumbled upon this one. I just made this and they came out delicious! I used baked soda instead of regular soda and subbed the bread flour for 240g of whole wheat flour. Excellent recipe!

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