The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough Lye Pretzel - with a twist

txfarmer's picture

Sourdough Lye Pretzel - with a twist

Right after I made and posted about lye pretzels last time, arlo brought this article to my attention - ah ha! Who knew lye pretzels are "in fasion" again, does that make up for my 10 year old jeans? :P Still having that whole big jar of lye to use up, I made pretzels again, but the recipe is a combo of the NY Time recipe and Nancy Silverton's Sourdough pretzel recipe, then at the very end, I added my own "TXFarmer spin". I had some cooked red bean left from making mooncakes, so I filled a few of those prezels with sweetened coarsely mashed red bean paste. Delicious! I do apologize if it offends any German TFLers though. :P


Sourdough Pretzel (NYTimes+Nancy Silverton+my own craziness)

-makes 12 pretzels, each about 110g

water, 218g

starter (100%), 207

bread flour, 567g

barley malt syrup, 21g

salt, 2tsp

lard, 23g (Yes lard! Butter would work but lard gives a better/more authentic flavor, as well as whiter crumb. I have a big container of lard in my fridge at all times, embrace pig fat!)

1. Mix and knead very well. This is a dry dough, similar to bagel, but do knead well. I kneaded by hand since my mixer was doing other more important things like whipping 12 eggs, it' took some elbow grease but could be done.

2. No bulk rise, divide dough into 12 portions, round, and rest for 45min.

3. Shape into pretzels, do keep middle portion fat, and two ends pointy.

To add filling, first shape the dough into a batard, then roll into a long oval, add filling (not too much though!), roll up, seal well, roll out to desired length

4. Rise at room temp for 1 hour, the dough would've visibly expanded, then put in fridge for 12 to 24 hours.

5. mix 30g of lye into 1000g of water, wait for 10 min for it to completely dissolve, the water would become warm. Dip each pretzel in lye water for 30 sec, put back on baking sheet, score at the "fat belly" (if you have filling inside, score at an angle so the filling won't leak out), spread coarse sea salt on top (not for my red bean paste ones).

6. Bake for 20 to 25min at 400F.


Tight even crumb, just what I like. I didn't wait for the lye water to dry before scoring, so if you look closely, the edges of the cuts are yellow, need to improve on that.


The ones with filling are REALLY good, this way I don't have to dip the pretzel in other stuff. There are many other filling possibilities, PB&J? Nutella? Pumpkin pie? Maple cream? BBQ pork? Curry chicken? Endless.

----------------------------Completely unrelated-------------------------------

Here's a great coconut cupcake recipe I made a few days ago for my running friends,


I highly recommend this epicurious recipe, I did use cake flour rather than AP flour in the recipe, and used a cream cheese icing rather than the original one, both the taste and texture are really good.

The key of the recipe is "reduced coconut milk", I have some leftover, and I will be dunking everything in it! Even if you don't make the cake, make this!

Submitting to Yeastspotting


LindyD's picture

Black beans would be tasty, too!

txfarmer's picture

Good idea, they certainly would!

teketeke's picture

Hello, txfarmer.

I like your idea to use red bean paste for pretzels, and my son and I love red bean paste!  Your pretzels are looking great!

Thank you for posting the cupcake recipe! My daughter is a cupcake monster!  I will copy the recipe to make the one with my daughter.  Thank you, txfarmer!

Best wishes,


txfarmer's picture

Hope you and your daughter enjoy the cupcakes, they are very coconut-y!

Franko's picture

txfarmer you've done it again!

You really do make the most amazing things, and you do it so well. Pretzels are something I enjoy, but not enough to actually go to the trouble of making them. Your idea for a BBQ pork pretzel certainly got my attention though. Would you make it with an Asian style BBQ pork or a Southern US style pulled pork? I'd go with either but probably lean more towards the pulled pork, maybe with a mustard based dressing of some sort. I'd be interested to know what you'd recommend? Your pretzels are just brilliant!




txfarmer's picture

As long as they are kept fairly dry, I would just use whatever I have on hand.

Boboshempy's picture

I made these and they came fantastic!

Two things though...

1. I did find that the dough is not the easiest to roll out smoothly. I took my time, let it periodically relax and continue, but surface was not as smooth as the pictures above. Any tips on this or suggested videos on pretzel shaping would be greatly appreciated because I will be making these many more times.

2. I am sure this is due to the retarding in the fridge, but my pretzels came out super blistered...I'm talking SUPER BLISTERED! Mine looked nothing like the finished products above. Were these really retarding in the fridge over night? Has anyone else find that this is what happens to theirs?

Love it! Thanks for the great post and great pictures!


txfarmer's picture

1. The "trick" to shaping is like any other breads: you need to make sure the surface tension is tight. So when you roll it up, make sure the skin is pulled tight.

2. Yup, these were retarded - that's the thing I like about the formula, splittin git into 2 days so I can manage easily. I think your dough might be too wet if there are this many blisters. Or over proofed, which might also lead to surface not being smooth.

louis_valentino's picture

One question, though: what kind of cues should we look for to tell when the dough is done rising (before it's cold proof in the fridge)?

I tried doing this with only 20% starter and even after 2.5 hours, my dough failed to float in a bowl of room temperature water...

Many thanks in advance,