Baking through the pandemic: Sourdough soft pretzels

UPDATE: Click here for Day 4's fry bread

UPDATE: Click here for Day 5's waffles!

A few days ago I started a sourdough starter because baking chills me out and provides stuff to eat.

I took a look at the old French Press carafe I am using as a container a few hours after the 3rd time I fed said starter. The starter looked like it was READY TO GO but I figured I should probably feed it a few more times just to be sure. I did not, however, want to discard any of the starter, and as the off-gassing of the yeast was dangerously inflating towards the top of said carafe… I baked some pretzels.

I use the same recipe and technique I do for commercially yeasted pretzels, simply replacing the 'one packet of active dry yeast' with ½ cup of sourdough starter AND reducing the flour and water additions by about ¼ cup each. I figure my starter is about 50/50 but maybe a little wet.

I also used 1 cup of 'very old' whole wheat flour that my mother had in the back of the fridge. I replaced 1 cup of AP or bread flour with the WW and added a bit of water. Whole Wheat needs more h2o than white.

I mix the starter, water, and brown sugar in a measuring cup and let them sit for 10-15 minutes before I combine with the other dry ingredients.

Everything worked out just fine. I prefer the pretzels without the whole wheat but I was afraid I was wasting flour on a too young starter so all in all… good progress!

This morning the starter looks like this:

I will keep feeding it and probably try a loaf of bread in 1-2 days. I will not be discarding excess starter, however, I will try to bake with it every day (or use it as spackle.)


Pandemic Starter Day 1

Pandemic Starter Day 2