Being German, the one main thing I miss living in Ireland are the bakeries. I think I mentioned that before. In particular: Wholewheat Sourdough Pretzel Buns for breakfast. Or as burger buns. Or for dipping into soup. Endless possibilities! This recipe for these these buns not only uses my sourdough, which makes for a fabulous depth of flavour, but I also added a few secret ingredients to add maltiness and a little more crunch to the lovely brown crust that makes pretzels so special. The inside is perfectly soft and chewy, as you would expect from your favourite pretzels. I love these especially when the top is sprinkled not only with the classic salt, but also some caraway seeds, which makes for the perfect combination with cheese. Try it out!
I have been using a similar recipe just with yeast for many years now, but after losing weight (and trying to stay away from and purely white bread) I felt the need for a better version. So I came up with this one: Sourdough means lower glycemic index and with that less of an insulin spike. I’m not a diabetic, though this would be great for those of you who are, but some of the books I read during my weight loss journey mentioned that insulin is what prompts fat storage in the body. Which means keeping it lower is a good idea for multiple reasons. Adding some wholewheat flour means the keep you fuller for longer and adds a bit of fibre too.
The Secret Ingredients
Now for the “secret” bits: I’m adding 2 tsp barley malt powder, which I use in most of my bread recipes and often other baking, as it adds both lovely malty flavour and more crunch to the crust, which to me is always welcome. I order mine here (not sponsored or affiliated)., as I can’t find it in Ireland. One bag lasts me years. Malt sirup: Similar to the above. You can find it in most health food shops. Even in Ireland. It adds again more malt flavour and replaces sugar and honey in bread recipes. And my latest find: Vitamin C powder. Now I realise this sounds unusual, but once you tried it, you’ll love it. It gives the dough added structure and rise, which, if you are using wholemeal flour or rye for example, is a fantastic addition. And again, it adds more crunch to the crust. Plus of course vitamin C is always welcome. It’s usually fairly cheap and lasts ages. If you don’t use it for baking much, you can add it to water for a refreshing drink.I got mine here (not sponsored or affiliated). They often have special offers where you can save 40-50%. Now for the yeast, I found adding it when I’m using wholewheat flour makes up for the slightly heavier dough and gives the perfect rise. You still get all the benefits of the sourdough. To achieve the special crust for these Wholewheat Sourdough Pretzel Buns, they get boiled in a solution with baking soda for about 30 seconds per side. After that sprinkle with salt, cut the typical cross into the top (don’t forget that step, or the rise will not be as good) and about 20 minutes later you have fantastic soft and chewie buns, absolutely perfect with some cold butter and a beer.
I realise making your own Wholewheat Sourdough Pretzel Buns can feel a bit intimidating at first. But they are just as easy as any sourdough, in that the main part of the work is done by just letting them stand and do their thing, so the healthy yeasts can do their job of making your dough taste incredible and be really good for you too.
Making the dough is a matter of mixing wet into dry, then kneading for a while, until you have a nice and elastic dough. If you have a standmixer, even better.
After forming the rolls by pushing the edges under and into the bun, so you get that lovely round and raised shape, you give them a quick bath in a solution of simmering water and baking soda. Then sprinkle with your favourite toppings, slice the top for an even rise and bake to golden perfection.
I usually make Wholewheat Sourdough Pretzel Buns about once every two months for myself, then freeze most of them in small freezer bags, to heat them up whenever I feel like Pretzel buns. Oven or air fryer work equally well here. Or you could freeze the dough rolls after they had their bath in the baking soda water. But personally I’d be a bit weary of ice crystals forming. Hence after baking for me. I also find that I just love how the crust crunches uo even more with the second bake.
Looking for more ideas with sourdough? There is a sourdough or not sure what to do with all the discard once you’ve set it up? No worries, I have plenty of ideas for you!
My Sourdough Chocolate Roasted Banana Bread for example.It even has protein!
Or my “Emergency Pizza concept” in form of Peach Brie and Serrano Pizza, made with a stunning sourdough wholewheat crust.
Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
What other recipes would you like to see?
If you enjoyed this recipe, please share. It helps me a lot. 🙂
Wholewheat Sourdough Pretzel Buns
- 1 cup active sourdough starter recipe here:
- 1 ¼ cup warm water
- 3.5 cup white bread flour strong flour
- 2 cups fine wholewheat flour don’t use coarse here, or you’ll impact the soft chewy texture
- ¼ cup butter melted and cooled
- 1 tbsp malt sirup
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp yeast
- 2 tsp barley malt powder
- 1 tsp vitamin C powder
- To boil:
- 1 ½ cups baking soda
- To top:
- 2 tsp flaky sea salt
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 2 tsp caraway seeds
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the active sourdough starter, malt syrup, yeast, barley malt powder, and vitamin C powder and warm water. Stir well to dissolve all ingredients in the water. Add melted butter to the bowl.
- Add the white bread flour, whole wheat flour and kosher salt,. Mix everything together until a shaggy dough forms.
- Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface or to your stand mixer and knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough back into the mixing bowl and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 2-3 hours, or until it has doubled in size. At this point you could also leave it in the fridge over night and take it out a few hours before baking the next morning.
- Once the dough has risen, take it out of the bowl onto a floured surface and fold it in thirds once or twice. Divide the dough into 12-16 equal portions (12 makes them about burger bun sized) and shape each portion into a round bun, by folding it into itself to create tension on the surface. This gives the buns their perfect round shape.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add the baking soda bit by bit carefully (this will foam a lot) and stir until it dissolves.
- Gently drop the pretzel buns, a few at a time, into the boiling water and let them very softly boil for about 30 seconds on each side. Remove the buns from the water using a slotted spoon and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Once all the buns have been boiled and transferred to the baking sheet, sprinkle them with the flaky sea salt for added flavour, if desired. At this point I also add sesame to one half, caraway to the other.
- With a sharp knife, slice them crosswise.
- Bake the pretzel buns in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they turn golden brown on top.
Calories: Approximately 174-180
Fat: Approximately 2-3 grams
Protein: Approximately 6-7 grams
Carbohydrates: Approximately 35-37 grams
Fiber: Approximately 2-3 grams
Sugar: Approximately 0-1 gram