I adapted my Sourdough Soft Pretzel recipe to bring you these delicious sourdough pretzel buns! These sourdough pretzel buns are soft and fluffy, but still have that signature pretzel taste and chewy texture. The hands on time is minimal and since we use commercial yeast along with the sourdough starter and the dough only has to rise for an hour. So in about 2 hours, you can be ready to eat burgers! Don’t have a sourdough starter? Never fear! Just check out my Sourdough Guide for all my tips and tricks!
- Sourdough starter - I typically use leftover sourdough discard to make these buns because I always need to use up extra discard, but ripe sourdough starter works just as well! This recipe uses a little bit of yeast to help it rise, so the sourdough is just for that tangy, chewy flavor.
- Non-diastatic malt powder - You can leave this out if you can't get your hands on it, but I highly recommend it! Non-diastatic malt powder gives pretzels and bagels their distinct flavor and shiny crust.
- Pretzel salt - This is a MUST! Pretzel salt doesn't dissolve when it gets slightly wet or melt in the oven, so those big beautiful crystals are still intact after baking. A big container of pretzel salt will last you a long time so you can make sourdough pretzels and buns as much as you want!
The complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.
Making the Dough
Using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine all dough ingredients and mix on a low speed until the dough comes together as a smooth cohesive mass (5-10 minutes but variable by machine). The dough should be slightly sticky. If it's too dry and won't come together, add an additional teaspoon or two of milk.
Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour; it will rise minimally.
Shaping the Pretzel Buns
After the dough has risen slightly, divide into 6 equal pieces (about 135 grams each) and shape into tight rounds. You want to make them a bit smaller than you think, because they will rise. Let the buns rest for about 10 minutes before boiling.
Boiling the Buns
Do not skip this step! It might seem unnecessary, but this is what gives the pretzel buns that signature look and texture.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add in 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Boil the pretzel buns for 45 seconds on each side and then place on your lined baking sheet. You will only be able to boil about 3 at a time.
Baking the Pretzel Buns
Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown on top!
The buns are best eaten the same day but will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
Sourdough Tips & Tricks
If you've never baked with sourdough before, it can be a little tricky. But don't worry, I have a full Sourdough Guide all about making and maintaining a sourdough starter! I also have a full guide on different types of flour you can use to make sourdough. Below are a few quick tips and key terms you need to know.
- Sourdough Starter - A culture of wild yeast and bacteria that leavens and flavors sourdough bread. I use what's called a "liquid starter" versus a stiff starter. This means the starter is made with equal parts flour and water and should be a consistency similar to cake batter.
- Sourdough Discard - The portion of your starter that is discarded when feeding your starter (can be used in tons of recipes like sourdough discard blueberry muffins or sourdough pancakes).
- Ripe Starter - A starter that's ready to be used in baking. Your starter is ripe roughly 6 hours after feeding and will have doubled in size, have lots of visible bubbles, and a fresh acidic aroma.
Weigh your ingredients! For all my sourdough recipes, I measure the ingredients in grams because it's much more accurate! I highly recommend getting a kitchen scale if you don't already have one! However, I have included alternate US customary measurements for your convenience.
Use an oven thermometer! Just because your oven says it's 350, doesn't mean it is! If you oven hasn't been calibrated recently, it can be as much as 30 degrees off, which will negatively affect all breads and baked goods! An oven thermometer is the easiest/cheapest way to ensure your oven is always at the proper temperature.
Easy sourdough recipes for beginners! If you've never made sourdough bread before, I recommend starting with some simple, no-fuss recipes like my sourdough naan or sourdough bagels! But if you're already a pro, I have a ton of fun sourdough recipes you can try!
My favorite burgers to make with these pretzel buns are super simple smash burgers from Midwest Foodie! But they would also be delicious with my chipotle beer braised beef or even an impossible burger! The beauty of these buns is that they taste good with just about anything.
You also can't go wrong with a cold beer and some truffle fries!
More Sourdough Recipes You Might Like!
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Sourdough Pretzel Buns
- 227 grams sourdough starter discard
- 361 grams bread flour, substitute all purpose flour
- 170 grams whole milk
- 1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder, optional
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons baking soda, for boiling
- pretzel salt, for topping
- Using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine all dough ingredients (starter, flour, milk, malt powder, sugar, yeast, salt, and butter) and mix on a low speed until the dough comes together as a smooth ball (5-10 minutes but variable by machine). The dough should be just slightly sticky. If it's too dry and won't come together, add an additional teaspoon or two of milk until it does.
- Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour; it will rise minimally.
- Turn the dough out onto your work surface (you shouldn't need to flour your work surface) and fold 2-3 times to gently deflate it. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces (about 135 grams each) and shape into tight rounds. You want to make them a bit smaller than you think, because they will rise a little. Let the buns rest for about 10 minutes before boiling.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add in 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Boil the pretzel buns for 45 seconds on each side and then place on your lined baking sheet. Do not skip this step! It might seem unnecessary, but this is what gives the pretzel buns that signature look and texture.
- Sprinkle the pretzel buns with coarse pretzel salt and bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes. The buns should be golden brown on top.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.