Bavarian Pretzels (Sourdough)


Hey guys, I wanted to share a recipe I found for sourdough pretzels. I shaped them more like pretzel rolls because I'm obsessed with pretzel roll sandwiches.

Pretzel Sandiches!

I believe this is closer to a Bavaraian style because it has less than 3% fat (with respect to weight of the flour) and the arms are shaped the same width as the body. Baden should pretzels have a slightly higher fat content (4-6%) and Swabian pretzels can go up to 10% fat with very tiny arms.

You wouldn't believe how many 'sourdough pretzel' recipes include baker's yeast and other abominations. This recipe comes courtesy of Teresa Greenway at Northwest Sourdough and only uses levain, flour, salt, water, and a bit of oil. I'm still wondering how to work in some sort of barley malt, but that'll be for a future day.

Since her website takes forever to load, I have a basic overview of the recipe here. I made a slight modification by using a lyewater bath instead of baking soda. It makes for darker and tastier pretzels. Also, I really do like that something can be both 'food grade' and POISON.

confusing bottle of lye



  • Sourdough starter @ 100% hydration – 12 oz/340g

  • water – 18 oz/510g

  • oil – .5 oz/14g

  • salt- .6 oz/17g

  • bread or all purpose flour – 2lbs 2oz/963g (I did 900g flour and 63g rye)

  • salt for sprinkling on pretzels

Lyewater bath

  • 20 cups water
  • 1 cup food-grade NaOH lye (I used 1/2 cup this time)

notes on lye

Always add lye to water and not vice versa. The water will heat up quite a bit once you've added the lye. Baking soda recipes call for boiling the pretzels, but lyewater recipes seem to just call for dipping in a lyewater bath without specifying if you need to boil it or not. I went with the average and heated up the lyewater to just below boiling.

When done, you can dump the lyewater down the drain as a form of super-diluted drain-o.


  1. mix ingredients together and knead
  2. bulk fermentation
  3. cut into 3 ounce balls
  4. roll balls into 18-22 inch ropes
  5. shape ropes into pretzel shape
  6. maybe let it rise a bit more
  7. dip in lyewater solution for 30-45 seconds, turning halfway through
  8. put on parchment lined cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt
  9. cook at 425'F for 8-12 minutes
  10. remove pretzels from the parchment sheet as soon as they come out of the oven (or else they will stick to it)