Having built up a starter to bake a double batch of rosemary sourdough loaves, I had quite a bit still left over. Not that this wasn't planned - only the use for it changed. Having gotten up late on Sunday and everyone having different plans, the idea of sourdough pancakes went out the window and I was left to ponder what to do. I opened Nancy Silverton's "Breads from the La Brea Bakery" and it instantly flopped to the picture of a pretzel being made. I instantly knew what I was going to make.
I forgot the 2 teaspoons of salt in the dough itself, but I like the way it turned out, so I'm going to omit it here. Silverton also called for barley malt syrup, which I don't have and replaced with agave nectar. Silverton has instructions to cut the dough into 18 3-ounce portions, but this seems to be incorrect. I only got 12, which is mathematically correct as 20+9+6=35/3=11.6.
These turned out so nicely that I'll be submitting them to Wild Yeast's Yeastspotting
Sourdough Hard Pretzels
2 day Recipe
Adapted from Nancy Silverton's "Breads from the La Brea Bakery"
Makes 12 crisp pretzels
6 oz cool water, ~70F
9 oz white starter, 100% hydration
20 oz unbleached white bread flour
1 T agave nectar
- Place liquid ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix just to combine so that flour is easier to incorporate and then add flour. Once flour is incorporated knead until dough is smooth and firm, about 8 minutes. This is a VERY firm dough, and may be rough on your mixer - keep a close eye on it and STOP if you hear or smell signs of distress.
- Divide the dough into 3 oz sections and tuck them into rough balls. Lay on a parchment-covered sheet pan and allow to rest, lightly covered, for 45 mins.
- Remove one ball of dough from the covered pan and, using your hands, roll it into an 18-20 inch snake, keeping the dough as even as possible. (Silverton likes hers with thick and thin portions, but I prefer evenness.) Use the method of your choice to form into a the traditional pretzel shape. As you work the dough you will notice it is very dry and forms a skin. It may actually be hard to roll due to wanting to slide from lack of tackiness. Air bubbles inside the dough snake are normal and probably won't roll out. The thinner you get your rope, the crunchier your pretzels will be.
- Place formed pretzels back onto the parchment covered baking sheet, slide the baking sheet into a plastic bag and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400F
- When oven is hot remove first tray from refrigerator. Brush the tops of the pretzels with egg substitute (Or beaten egg) and then sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake IMMEDIATELY so that salt does not have time to dissolve - about 20-25 minutes. Pretzels will puff and turn golden brown and crispy.
- Move pretzels to a cooling rack and then bake the second pan.