Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Rye Sourdough Pretzels with Salt & Gruyere

There have been quite a few pretzel recipes on this blog. I don't apologize in the slightest for this. Because the pretzel is a versatile thing- susceptible to endless variations. I will absolutely stand by our recipe for soft pretzels with beer cheese. But given our new sourdough starter interests, it was only natural that we try a pretzel recipe using it. If you don't have a starter on the go, you can get the whole step-by-step method here.

Today we're slightly amending a tried and true recipe from King Arthur's Flour, god among sourdough lovers. We've added just a couple twists to the original version, basically because we can't leave well enough alone. Specifically, we used our rye starter in this recipe instead of the traditional all purpose white flour version. We thought it gave the pretzels a bit more flavor and nuttiness. But if you don't happen to have a rye starter on the go, an all-purpose white flour starter will work jsut as well. We also like this recipe because it's done remarkably quickly- the pretzels only rise for about 45 minutes to an hour. And when you're impatient for pretzels, even that can seem like an eternity.

Makes: 12-15 pretzels

Time: 1 - 1 1/2 hours 


3/4 cup lukewarm water (it should feel about room temperature when you stick your finger in it)

1 cup unfed rye sourdough starter, straight out of the fridge

2 cups All-Purpose white flour

1 cup white strong/bread flour

1/4 cup skim dry milk

1 tablespoon white granulated sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

For Topping

1 tablespoon white granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

Sea or Rock Salt (to sprinkle on top, to taste)

1/4 cup grated gruyere cheese (or more!)


Using a stand mixer (or your hands if you're quite strong), mix the water, sourdough starter, the flours, the dry milk, sugar, butter, salt, and yeast together until you have a cohesive and smooth dough. It should be slightly sticky.

Put the dough in a bowl and cover with cling film or a kitchen towel. Let it rise for about 45 minutes to an hour. The rise will be pretty minimal.

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Turn out the dough onto a greased work surface. Fold it gently to deflate it & divide it into 12 pieces. If you want to make sure your pretzels are even, try to make sure each weighs between 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 ounces.

Roll each piece of dough into a long thin rope, between 16-18 inches. Shape each rope into a pretzel.

Dissolve the sugar in the water and brush the tops of each pretzel. Apply the salt and the grated cheese to the tops according to taste.

Bake the pretzels for about 25-30 minutes, until they're light golden.

Remove the pretzels from the oven, adding more salt and cheese if you like before they cool.

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