We go to Disneyland a lot, we have season passes, it is just up the road and it’s magical – so duh, why wouldn’t we? Disney is super gluten-free friendly. I can always find multiple options there and no matter which restaurant I select, they send the chef out to speak with me directly about my intolerances and allergies, to tell me what my options are. It’s so comforting to feel so safe with my food outside of my home. Of course, if you know me, I always want more. Those carts that sell the Mickey Mouse shaped pretzels, they just kill me. Disney doesn’t have gluten-free soft pretzels and I don’t blame them, it isn’t a simple feat. My hubby loves getting those tempting hot pretzels and it has created a nearly year-long craving for me. I had plans of making pretzels in October some time for Oktoberfest, but that month somehow got away from me. The craving however has only got stronger.
I finally had an entire day alone in the kitchen to play with a gluten-free soft pretzel recipe. However, rather than fight with a gluten-free dough to make traditional twisted pretzels, I have done that before, it just ends in me being angry and frustrated, I decided the shape is less important than the taste and texture! I just wanted that traditional yummy soft pretzel taste to shove in my face, no matter the shape or size. So, soft pretzel bites became the clear winner!
Please trust me when I ask you not to get overwhelmed by the ingredients and instructions on this recipe. I know it seems like a lot, I am sure it seems like many steps, but the moment they come out of that oven and you bite into one that’s still warm with it’s both soft and chewy inside a slightly crispy outside, you will forget how much time you spent making them. The day I was working on this recipe, I made them THREE times! THREE. In less than 8 hours. I was in the kitchen all day making pretzels and it was never that bad or overwhelming, I got into a bit of a rhythm and it never felt like too much work. The hardest part for me was getting the measurements just right, and that work has been done for you already, after that – they are surprisingly easy.
Something to note about this recipe, I offer both the option to make these with a custom flour blend or with a pre-made all-purpose blend. Both turned out great. I found the custom blend to have just a tad bit more of a whole-grain type texture, it’s very subtle, likely from the different flours. Whereas the pretzels made with the all-purpose blend were a tad bit lighter in color and had less of a grain texture to them. (the all-purpose blend pretzels are the ones in the photos). Both were very good and I couldnt choose one over the other if I had to. The pre-made all-purpose flour blend I used has xanthan gum in it and I honestly didn’t notice a huge different in the texture, I think the psyllium husk provides that nice chewy texture on it’s own, so the gum isn’t as important one way or another.
Also, don’t worry if your dough doesn’t feel like gluten dough, it shouldn’t. Let it be it’s own thing. The nice thing about gluten-free dough is that it is very forgiving and you can take a little water on your hands and fix any tears in the dough as you go along.
These gluten-free soft pretzel bites are the best I have had yet. They are soft and chewy, with a nicely browned outer crust. They are so good warm dipped in a whole grain mustard, with an ice cold beer or cider on the side. I cannot wait to hear what you guys think of these.
[print_this]Gluten-free Soft Pretzel Bites (Dairy-free with vegan option)
makes approximately 4 dozen pretzel bites
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water, 100º-110ºF (you may need just a tad bit more)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons or 1 pack quick acting yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey or organic sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole psyllium husk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
- 1/4 cup olive oil (or softened butter)
(choose either a custom flour blend)
- 1/2 cup millet flour
- 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
- 1/2 cup sorghum
- 1 cup arrowroot starch
- 1 cup tapioca starch (or potato starch)
(a pre-made blend)
- 3 1/2 cups of your favorite gluten-free all-purpose flour blend (homemade or store-bought, I used this)
Baking Soda Bath:
- 8-10 cups water
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- pinch of salt
- Course pink Himilayan sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 egg yolk (skip and just use honey if you have an allergy)*
- 1 teaspoon honey*
- splash of water
*if vegan, skip eggs and honey and go without or use a butter substitute or olive oil instead
Line a couple rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
Combine water, yeast and sugar in a bowl; allow to sit for 5 -10 minutes until the mixture foams. Put the flours and starches OR just the AP flour blend with the psyllium husk, salt and baking powder in the bowl of your stand up mixer . Whisk together until well blended. Add the olive oil (or butter) and yeast mixture. With the dough hook, mix until it comes together, pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Stop the mixture a couple of times to use your spatula to incorporate all of the flour. Once combined fully, continue mixing an additional minute to knead dough. It should be just a tad bit wet, but not too wet where it doesn’t come together and hold. If it’s too dry add a teeny splash more water, if it’s too wet, add a teeny more flour. Don’t go crazy and let it be what it is. Different then glute dough.
Remove dough from the bowl and place in a oiled glass mixing bowl. Brush the top of the dough lightly with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will vary based on the temperature. You are looking for the dough to be approximately double in size.
This dough is very tacky, thick and stretchy. Wet your hands when working with it and you can also very, very lightly flour your work surface, too.
Once the dough is done rising ,preheat the oven to 450ºF. Add the water and baking soda to a large pan over a high heat, whisk it quickly to dissolve the baking soda. While you are waiting for the baking soda bath to come to a boil, you will shape the dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, I like working on a bit of parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, divide the dough carefully into 6 equal parts. Wet your hands with a little water and roll each piece of dough on the floured surface into a cylinder about 1-inch in diameter, it is a very thick and stretchy dough, so really give it some elbow grease. I actually found myself molding it into a log, more than rolling it. It’s not the same as gluten dough. With a sharp knife, slice each cylinder into bite-sized pieces (about 1 1/2 inches long). Don’t stress if they aren’t perfect. They are just going into your tummy, after all.
With a sharp knife, score each pretzel bite by cutting diagonally into the top about ⅛ inch deep.
Once your water is boiling, take the heat down to a medium-high, you want it barely boiling. A rolling boil will break your pretzel bite apart. Place as many bite-sized pieces of dough into the nearly boiling baking soda bath as will fit comfortably. Allow them to cook in the water for about 30 seconds on one side before gently flipping the bites over. Allow to cook for another 30 seconds. Remove the bites with a strainer and place them, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheets. Whisk together the egg yolk and honey mixture or just honey and brush on each bite. Sprinkle each with a little coarse salt, to taste.
Place the pretzels in the center of the preheated oven and bake until golden brown all over, about 15 minutes. Let cool a bit on the baking pan then go to town. Dip in your favorite mustard, a cheese sauce – whatever you prefer.
If you’re not planning on eating them all at once, I would leave a few unbaked but cooked in the baking soda bath, and refrigerate them in a storage bag or container. When you’re ready to eat them, just bake them. You can also freeze the cooked (but unbaked) pretzels and pull them out whenever you want them. [/print_this]
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links