The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Guinness Sour Dough Pretzel Rolls

Isand66's picture

Guinness Sour Dough Pretzel Rolls


  I made a new version of my pretzel rolls to bring to my Cousin’s for Rosh Hashanah dinner along with some of my standard ones.  Everyone seemed to really like the new ones so I guess I must have done something right :). 

This version had some fresh ground rye along with some dark cocoa powder along with the Guinness which really gave the final dough a nice malty flavor.  

I used pretzel salt, black sesame seeds and everything bagel topping for the toppings.  As usual these were made with a lye bath

Give these a try and I think you will be very satisfied.

If you haven’t tried pretzel rolls yet, give these a try.

One note, if you use pretzel salt like I do on a portion of the rolls, you cannot cover the rolls with anything or the humidity in the air will react with the salt and you will get mushy salted rolls.  It’s best to freeze any you don’t use right away.

Lye really does make a big difference.  I know a lot of people are afraid to use it, but honestly you are using such a small amount in the water bath that unless you pour it in your eyes, it will do very little to your hands, etc.  The lye really gives you the authentic pretzel flavor and look.


Caution:  When using the Lye make sure you wear gloves, long sleeves and protective eye gear. Also, never add Lye to hot water or it will bubble over and probably burn you.



For Lye Bath (3.5% Solution

2 Liters (1836 grams) of Cold water

70 grams Sodium Hydroxide Crystals

Make the Levain

Add your seed starter (20 grams) to the indicated amount of flour and water and mix until incorporated.  Cover and let sit out at room temperature of in your proofer until nice and bubbly around 6-10 hours depending on your temperature.  Use immediately or refrigerate for a few days until ready to mix the main dough.


Add the diastatic malt powder to the Guinness and stir.  Add the flours in your mixing bowl and slowly add the Guinness mixture.  Mix for about 1 minute until combined.  Cut your starter in pieces and lay on top of the flour mixture and cover and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour so the flour can absorb the water.  Note: if you are using the Ankarsrum mixer like I do, you add the liquid first, add the starter to the liquids and then the flour.  I mix just until everything is combined, reserving some of the liquid for after the autolyze.

Next add the salt and butter (Softened) and mix for 6 minutes on low.    Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl and do a couple of stretch and folds.  Cover the bowl and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold in the bowl and let it rest another 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold and let the dough sit out in the covered bowl for another 1.5 hours.  Place the dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake the next day.

When ready to bake take the dough out and leave it covered in your bowl for 1 hour at around 75-80 F.  Next divide the dough into pieces that are 110 grams each or 135 grams for larger rolls .  Shape as rolls and place on a baking sheet and cover with either a moist towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  Let it rest for around 60 minutes to about 1/2 proof.

While the rolls are proofing, fill a large stock pot with 2 liters of cold water.  Measure out the Lye and slowly add it to the cold water.  (DO NOT EVER ADD LYE TO HOT WATER).  Cover the pot and bring it to a rolling boil and then shut off the heat.

Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.  When the rolls are proofed sufficiently, prepare to dip them for about 15 seconds in the lye bath upside down.  Let them drain on a bakers rack over a cookie tray covered with a towel or parchment paper.  After draining for a minute you can transfer them to a cookie/baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  You want to use a stainless steel cooking sheet as aluminum may react with the lye and peel.   I know this from experience and I had to cut off the bottoms of half the rolls I made.  I actually use my Silpat non-stick sheets which work like a charm.

When ready to bake, score each roll as desired and sprinkle with pretzel salt or topping of your choice.  

Bake for about 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown and register about 200 F in the middle.  Let them cool on a bakers rack until you can’t wait any longer!

Note: you cannot store these in a plastic bag or covered really otherwise the salt will react with the moisture in the air and you will end up with soggy tops.  I place them in a paper bag and leave it open so the air circulates.



Another Girl's picture
Another Girl

Holy cow, do these look good!!! 

Isand66's picture

It was better than I expected and worth trying for sure.

Appreciate the kind words.



Benito's picture

I agree with AG Ian, these look fantastic and thanks for the warning and precautions about the lye.


Isand66's picture

Appreciate your kind words.  I hope you get to try some pretzel rolls yourself.

Best regards,


JonJ's picture

Superb Ian, love the pic of them in the bowl the presentation is great and the scoring and seeds add to the effect.

I'm too scared to use lye, must confess!

Isand66's picture

I appreciate your kind words.  Don’t be afraid of using the Food grade lye.  You’re only using a 3.5 % solution so you would basically have to drink it to hurt yourself 🙄.

Happy baking!


CalBeachBaker's picture

Ian - this is another one for my 'to bake' list.


Isand66's picture

I hope you try it soon.  They were a big hit.  
Best regards,


Sugarowl's picture

I was going to give away my extra Guiness, but I will probably hold onto them for now. You know, just in case I get time to bake these lovely looking pretzels.

Isand66's picture

I just had one with dinner that housed some grilled sausages and cheese.  It really is worth trying 😋