Plain and simple… I wanted a soft pretzel.
Not just any pretzel. The kind where you can pull off the outer layer and just eat the soft, squishy inside dipped in the extra salt that fell on your plate. You know what I’m talking about. OK! Maybe that’s just me playing with my food, but a good tasting soft pretzel that I could call on once in a while.
I tried making a gluten-free soft pretzel a few years back from a gluten-free cookbook, it was terrible. The dough kept breaking while trying to make the ropes. I couldn’t even form the pretzel shape, so I went with irregular bite size pieces. No taste. A ton of work. Just not a good experience.
Because we don’t except failure, especially when one wants something… I decided to try it again. This time I did some research and found a recipe by Alton Brown (one of my favorites!) for a Homemade Soft Pretzel. To give the pretzel a bit more flavor, I decided to add gluten-free oat flour to the recipe because of its natural sweetness, plus it sneaks in some healthy goodness. A little extra fiber never hurt anyone.
Overall, I thought it was a great success. I got my soft, squishy pretzel. The pretzels looked like pretzels. Now, if only I had made cheese sauce for dipping. Next time!
The Tidbit | The baking soda bath is a must. It gives the pretzel the soft and chewy inside, that nice brown coloring and the unforgettable pretzel-ly taste. (If you skip this step, the pretzels will not be the same. And that’s no fun, right?) | These are freezable! See the directions in the “Notes” section of the recipe.
- Soft Pretzels
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ¼ cups oat flour
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Vegetable oil, for bowl and parchment paper
- Baking Soda Bath
- 10 cups water
- ⅔ cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
- Coarse salt, for sprinkling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar and kosher salt and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.
- While you wait, in a separate bowl whisk together the flours and xanthan gum.
- Add the flour mixture and butter to the mixer bowl. Using the dough hook, mix on low until well combined.
- Increase the speed to medium for about 4-5 minute to knead the dough.
- Once the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, remove the dough from bowl.
- Clean the mixer bowl. Oil the bowl well, then return the dough to the bowl.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 60- 90 minutes, or until the dough has double in size.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush with oil. Set aside.
- In an 8-quart saucepan, bring 10 cups of water and baking soda to a rolling boil. (Start this right before the next step.)
- While the water is coming to a boil, place the dough on a lightly oil surface and divide the dough into 8 equal parts.
- Roll out each part into a 24-inch rope. (Try and keep the rope the same thickness throughout. This will help with the pretzel during baking.) Take one rope and make a U shape. Holding each end, cross over each other and down to the bottom of the U. Press the end gently into the U to form the pretzel shape.
- Carefully place each pretzel on the parchment lined baking sheet.
- Make sure that your water and baking soda is at a rolling boil. One at a time, place the pretzel into the boiling water for 30 seconds and remove using a flat spatula. Place back on the parchment lined baking sheet. Continue until all 8 pretzels are complete.
- In a small dish, beat together the egg yolk and water and brush each pretzel top. Sprinkle with salt. (If you plan to freeze, you can omit the salt at this time.)
- Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until dark golden brown.
- Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack for about 5 minute. Serve.
Once the pretzel is completely cooled, place the pretzels into a freeze friendly container separating each pretzel with wax paper.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place pretzel on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Wet the top of the pretzel with water and sprinkle coarse salt on top. Bake for about 15-17 minutes. Serve plain or with your favorite dipping sauce..