I have been making sourdough discard everything pretzels based on a recipe from Anela Malik. I also adapted that recipe to make my Sourdough Discard Garlic Knots. However, I have thought about turning these into cinnamon sugar pretzels (yes, channeling Auntie Anne’s) for months. On a whim, I just did it and immediately fell in love with the result. These Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels have rocked my world and have now become my go-to sourdough discard pretzel recipe.
These Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels are super easy to make, do not require a mixer, and make for the perfect mid-day snack!
How to Make Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
While these sourdough discard pretzels are very easy to make, naturally, you need to have sourdough discard. If you have not gotten on the sourdough train, I highly urge you to hop on board! Working with sourdough is so amazingly fun. The best part: you get delish breads as good (if not better) than from artisanal bakeries. If you have kids, sourdough is pure science, so it’s a great education too! If you want to create your own starter, you can check out my Sourdough Starter Guide.
OK, let’s make sourdough discard pretzels!
1. Gather the ingredients for the Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
It is probably best practice to have all your ingredients at room temperature. I (probably like most people) keep my sourdough discard in the refrigerator. If you have the forethought, it is a good idea to weigh out the discard into a mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit for 30-60 minutes at room temperature. That said, I have made these with discard directly from the refrigerator and they turned out just as good.
To get your milk to room temperature, you can measure out what you need and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour. Alternatively, pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds, give it a stir, and if it needs a little more, pop it back in for 10 seconds. You don’t want the milk to be hot. Rather, you want to take the chill out of it. You could certainly use a lower fat milk, milk alternative, or even water. I like using whole milk here though because that little bit of fat adds a softness to the dough.
You can use either bread flour or all purpose flour here, or even try a combination of both. I prefer using all bread flour, as it renders a slightly chewier dough.
You’ll also need sugar or honey, butter and salt. Naturally, there is cinnamon and sugar involved here too!
2. Mix and knead
This recipe requires some kneading. It’s not like kneading bagels for 20 minutes by hand. Just a 5-10 minute knead to get the dough to really come together, develop some elasticity, appear smooth and feel just slightly sticky.
3. Rest and divide
Allow the dough to rest for 2 hours, covered at room temperature. Remember, there’s no yeast or active sourdough starter in this recipe, so the dough will not rise. The purpose of the rest is to let the flour really absorb the liquid and allow the gluten to relax. The rest also allows the dough to come to room temperature if your discard came directly from the refrigerator.
After the rest, divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each one into a rope approximately 20 inches long. Tie each one into a pretzel. Place them on a piece of parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest another 30 minutes.
4. Boil, bake and coat
Bring a large pot (4 quarts or so is great) of water to a boil. Add in 1 Tablespoon of baking soda and immediately and carefully add the pretzels to the pot. You may want to to use tongs or a skimmer to make sure the pretzels do not stick to the bottom of the pot. Boil them for about 30 seconds, just until they start floating. If you boil them much longer, they may take on a metallic taste from the baking soda.
Place the boiled pretzels onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Give them a good egg wash and bake them for 10-12 minutes. The tops should be a nice golden brown. Once they come out of the oven, shmear the pretzels with melted butter and dip them into the cinnamon sugar. You should probably let them cool before eating, but mine never last that long!
Frequently Asked Questions About Making Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
Should the sourdough discard be at room temperature?
Ideally, yes. The dough forms a little easier if all the ingredients are at room temperature when mixed. You can certainly use sourdough discard directly from the refrigerator, but you may want to allow the dough to rest an additional 15-30 minutes before shaping the pretzels.
Can sourdough discard cinnamon sugar pretzels be made vegan?
Yes. Replace the milk with non-dairy milk (oat milk works wonderfully) or water and replace the butter with vegan butter or refined coconut oil. You can skip the egg wash or use non-dairy milk in its place.
Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
- 115 grams unfed sourdough discard (½ cup)
- 80 grams milk (⅓ cup)
- 12 grams sugar or honey (1 Tablespoon)
- 13 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (1 Tablespoon)
- 200 grams bread flour (2⅔ cups)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 large egg, beaten (for egg wash)
- 1 Tablespoon baking soda
Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
- 50 grams sugar (¼ cup)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 20 grams unsalted butter, melted (1½ Tablespoons)
- Dough. In a mixing bowl, mix together all of the dough ingredients except for the egg. Knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Portion the dough into six equal portions, preferably by weight. Roll each one out to about 20 inches, allowing the strands to rest for a few minutes if they pull back. Shape each strand into a pretzel shape and place onto a piece of parchment paper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a tea towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 450° F. Beat the egg in a small bowl.
- Boil. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda. Boil the pretzels for approximately 30 seconds, just until they float. If the pretzels seem stuck to the bottom, use tongs or a long wooden spoon to release them. Do not over-boil the pretzels.
- Drain and transfer the pretzels to a parchment lined baking sheet. Egg wash each one and bake for 10-12 minutes. The tops should be golden brown and the internal temperature should be at least 190° F.
- Cinnamon Sugar Coating. While the pretzels are baking, mix the cinnamon sugar together and melt the butter over the lowest possible heat.
- Once the pretzels come out of the oven, brush both sides of a pretzel with the melted butter. Using tongs, dip the pretzel in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining pretzels.
- Make sure to remove the pretzels from the boiling water once they start to float, which should take approximately 30 seconds. Leaving them in too long could cause them to have a metallic taste from the baking soda.
- You can easily make these pretzels vegan by using non-dairy milk (oat milk works great) or water and vegan butter (or refined coconut oil). You can skip the egg wash or use non-dairy milk in its place.