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Sourdough Pretzel Hamburger Buns


With grilling season in full swing, we are planning a lot of outdoor barbecues this year. Burgers always make the list and these sourdough pretzel hamburger buns are the perfect accompaniment to a juicy, grilled burger!

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pretzel hamburger buns on a cutting board

I can remember years ago when I was quite young a local mall having a soft pretzel shop. Those pretzels were so delicious!

But, as delicious as they were, they couldn’t hold a candle to these pretzel hamburger buns!

They are soft, chewy, and perfect for your next cookout!

Why Sourdough?

Sourdough is a process of fermenting your bread dough with a sourdough starter. This process breaks down the gluten and proteins that can sometimes be hard to digest for gluten sensitive people. In order to get the most benefits of the fermentation process, you need to let your dough ferment for at least 12-24 hours.

pretzel bun opened to show crumb

For this recipe you will need:

  1. Water
  2. Sourdough starter
  3. Olive oil
  4. Salt
  5. Honey
  6. Freshly milled hard white wheat flour (this is the grain mill I use: https://collabs.shop/rxide2)

Step by Step instructions for making Sourdough Pretzel Hamburger Buns:

The morning of the day you want to make these, or the night before, combine the water, sourdough starter, oil, honey, salt, and enough flour to make a somewhat tighter dough than a bread dough.

Mix in enough flour to make a ball of dough that is not sticky.

pretzel bun that has proofed and has bubbles on the surface of the dough

Knead the dough for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. I use a stand mixer for this task making it much easier. This is the mixer I use: https://collabs.shop/xmipvy

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover.

Allow to rise for 4-24 hours. This time varies widely depending on the maturity of your starter.

Divide the dough into 8 equal parts.

pretzel buns in boiling water

Shape each part into a hamburger bun shape. Place the seam side down and drag on your work surface to build tension and seal the seam.

Place on a lightly greased baking pan or you can use parchment paper.

Cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise again for 1-2 hours in a warm place.

pretzel bun dough after boiling and adding salt on top

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Add 1/4 cup of baking soda.

Drop in the buns gently and allow to boil for up to 2-3 minutes per side. For a softer crust only boil for 1 minute per side.

open hamburger showing crumb of pretzel hamburger bun

Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Internal temperature should be 195-205 degrees F.

These buns will keep on the counter for 3-5 days.

You may freeze them after they have cooled completely for up to 6 months.

Do I have to feed my starter before making these?

If you have fed your starter within the week and it has been kept in the fridge, you don’t have to feed it before making these.

What if I let these rise and don’t have time to boil and bake them?

No problem, put the dough in the fridge covered until you are ready to proceed with boiling and baking.

What if I don’t want the deep brown crust?

Don’t boil the buns as long. I would recommend only a minute per side.

Can I use all purpose or bread flour to make these?

Absolutely! You may use any wheat flour you have on hand.

pretzel bun opened to show crumb

Sourdough Pretzel Hamburger Buns

Yield: 8 buns
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 30 minutes

These sourdough pretzel hamburger buns will be the talk of the neighborhood at your next outdoor barbecue!


  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey (optional)
  • 3 1/2-4 cups flour. I use freshly milled hard white wheat.
  • 8 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top.


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the water, starter, oil, honey, salt, and 3 cups flour. Mix well.
  2. Continue to add flour 1/4 cup at a time until a ball of dough forms. Add enough flour so that the dough is not sticky.
  3. Knead for 10 minutes or until glossy and smooth.
  4. Place in lightly greased bowl and cover.
  5. Allow to rise in a warm spot for 4-24 hours.
  6. Divide into 8 equal portions.
  7. Shape each portion into a hamburger bun shape. Place seam down on counter and drag along the counter to seal seam and build tension.
  8. Place buns on lightly greased or parchment covered baking pan.
  9. Cover with damp tea towel or plastic wrap.
  10. Allow to rise for 1-2 hours.
  11. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  12. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in large pot.
  13. Add the baking soda.
  14. Boil the buns for 2-3 minutes per side. (Lessen the time to 1 minute per side for a softer crust)
  15. Put back on baking sheet and brush with egg wash.
  16. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  17. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Internal temperature should be 195-205 degrees F.
  18. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.
  19. Buns will keep at room temperature for 3-5 days.
  20. If freezing, allow to cool completely. They will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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