A few football fan readers who don’t keep bread starters at home have asked what suggestions I have for them with the Super Bowl fast approaching. The easy answer is to go conventional and just find a likely straight dough pretzel recipe somewhere on the internet (King Arthur Flour has several good ones). However before you go that route I suggest that you go in search of a little starter first. Most medium-to-large towns have boutique bakeries these days, and all but the stingiest are willing to give a cup of starter away to an ambitious home baker. Just feed it according to my suggestions (a 50-50 mix of flour and water by weight) and the recipe will work just fine. If there isn’t a boutique bakery near you — but there is a good pizza place — you might inquire there. They may just use a preferment in their dough.

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