Jason had to train me to eat salt. I grew up without much salt, at his house it was a food group. But now I adore salty sweet combinations. Enter the soft pretzel. It was another treat I largely ignored as a kid (yes, along with the cinnamon rolls and s'mores I recently posted about). But now, I pass those mall pretzel stand and think...mmm...salt and cream cheese dip. I could go for that.
So why not try to make it gluten free? Well there are challenges. Gluten free dough won't be stretchy so pretty form factor is an issue. And you absolutely need chew in a soft pretzel, so I would need to modify the flour blend. I did a test run, and they weren't quite chewy enough, but I did find that balls were the cutest form factor. And as a bonus they could be stuffed with all sorts of goodies.
We experimented with fillings such as chocolate, chocolate dulce de leche, cream cheese, sweet cheese, salami, honey mustard, cinnamon raisin, and of course no filling at all.
This is also my submission to this month's Go Ahead Honey It's Gluten Free, hosted by Zoe at Z's Cup of Tea. The theme was dairy free. You can check out the other submissions here. Next month I am honored to host this blogger event, with a theme of Ooh La La, Bastille Day. More to come, but start thinking like a Frenchie...
- ¾ - 1 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 t baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 19 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
- 3 ounces sweet rice flour
- 1 t agar agar
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted (or dairy free Earth Balance baking sticks)
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Gray salt
- Combine the water, sugar and salt in a bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.
- Mix all the flours, baking powder, agara agar on low in the bowl of a stand mixer and butter and, using the paddle attachment.
- Add butter, eggs and yeast mixture and mix on low until combined.
- Increase to medium speed and beat until well combined. Add more flour or water as necessary. The dough should hold a ball shape, but will be sticky.
- Allow to rise in an oiled bowl, lightly covered with plastic wrap, for about an hour..
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
- Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
- Scoop enough dough to make a one inch ball, make a dimple in the middle and fill as desired. Close up and roll into a ball and place on an oiled pan.
- Boil the pretzels in the soda water 30 seconds. Remove them from the water and return to the sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the gray salt.
- Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving. These are best served warm