1 cup sourdough starter, straight from the refrigerator
½ cup warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast mixed with ¼ cup of warm soymilk. Allow them to sit for five minutes until the yeast blooms.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp maple syrup or sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1½ tsp salt
Sea salt or any coarse salt for sprinkling on the pretzels
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and, using your hand or a stand mixer, mix well. Knead the dough until it has a smooth consistency and can be formed into a round ball. It should not be too stiff-- if that's the case, add a little water, a tiny bit at a time.
Place the ball of dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning over once to coat, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place for about 45 minutes. The dough will rise a little.
Place the dough on a lightly greased surface and fold a few times to deflate the air. Form into a rectangle, then divide into 12 equal parts.
Take one part and cover the rest with a kitchen towel to keep them from drying. Roll the dough into a ball and then into a rope, tapering the ends. You want a rope around 18 inches in length. If you encounter resistance, shape the rope to about half the desired length, set aside, shape the remaining balls of dough into half-ropes, and then go back to the first one and continue. This will allow the dough to relax, making it easier to shape.
Take the ends of the rope and criss-cross them to make a loop. Twist one more time if you want an extra-decorative pretzel, then bring the ends down and tuck them under the loop.
Place the pretzels, about 2 inches apart, on a parchment-lined or lightly greased cookie sheet.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the tops of the pretzels with some oil and sprinkle with coarse salt (you can brush the pretzels with some sugar and water mixed together for a darker color, but I like my pretzels to be extra-salty and without any obvious sweetness).
Bake the pretzels for 25 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden-brown. I ate these dipped in some olive oil with crushed garlic. Heaven.
Recipe by Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes at http://holycowvegan.net/sourdough-pretzels/