Maybe you won’t make fresh, hot, seductive pull-apart, gluten free soft pretzels every day. But the recipe is easier than you think, and it is definitely a treat for anyone who loves but can’t indulge on the glutenful versions of soft pretzels offered at baseball games and amusement parks. Serve them with homemade or store-bought dipping sauce or all by their crusty-outside, soft-inside selves.
Soft Pretzels with Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce
This dough is surprisingly easy to work with, and you can even shape and cook it into mini- or regular-size bagels, though they will be pretzel-flavored bagels 🙂 For bagels, just make sure to boil bagel-shaped dough for 2 minutes before draining them and baking them at 450°F for about 20 minutes. Pretzels are the most moist and tasty the day they’re made, but you can freeze them once they’re cooled, store them in a ziplock bag, and then reheat them in a warm oven if you want to eat them later.
For the Pretzels:
- 1 cup warm water plus 2 tablespoons more, if needed
- 1 (2 1/4 teaspoons) packet active dry yeast
- 2 cups (310 grams/11 ounces) finely ground white rice flour, plus more for dusting
- 3/4 cup (86 grams/3 ounces) tapioca starch
- 1/2 cup (62 grams/2 ounces) brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup (73 grams/2.5 ounces) sorghum flour (also known as sweet white sorghum flour)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for greasing
For the Cooking Water:
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 2 tablespoons sugar
For the Topping:
- Pretzel salt or kosher salt
- Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce optional; recipe follows
In a small bowl, combine the 1 cup of warm water ( 105 to 110 ℉) with the active dry yeast. Stir, then let stand for 3 minutes.
Make the pretzel dough: In the bowl of stand mixer, combine the white rice flour, tapioca starch, brown rice flour, sorghum flour, salt, xanthan gum, and baking powder. Whisk to combine, then fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
To the bowl of dry ingredients, add the egg, honey, vegetable oil, and water-yeast mixture. Then mix on medium speed until a firm but not dry dough forms, 2 to 4 minutes. (It should be just barely sticky and moist enough to not get crackly when you knead it.) If the dough seems even slightly dry or crumbly, kneed in up to 2 tablespoons of water.
Lightly grease a medium bowl. Set aside.
Lightly dust a clean counter with white rice flour. Remove the dough from the bowl and lightly knead it into a smooth ball. Place the dough in the prepared bowl, then lightly brush the top of the dough with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, place in warm spot and let the dough rise 1-1/2 hours.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425°F.
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts (16 cups) of water to a rolling boil.
Meanwhile, spread out a silicone mat or piece of parchment paper on a clean surface.
Line a large, two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Turn out the dough onto one of the prepared baking sheets. Gently punch it down to deflate it, then cut the dough into 12 even pieces and cover them with a sheet of plastic wrap.
Working one at a time and quickly so the dough doesn’t dry out, kneed a piece of dough until completely smooth, then using your hands, roll it on the silicone mat into a long, even rope about 15 inches long. The dough should be moist and slightly sticky. If it’s not, kneed in a half teaspoon of water and roll it out again.
Then, form the dough rope into a into “U” shape.
Gently twist the ends together.
Then firmly press the rope into the bottom of the “U,” ensuring it’s moist enough to adhere to itself. If the dough isn’t staying smooth or is cracking when you shape it, lightly dampen your hands and roll the rope a few more times to coat it in light moisture. Place the shaped dough on the prepared baking sheets.
Prepare the cooking water: Turn off the heat under the boiling water. Slowly add the baking soda and sugar to avoid the baking soda reaction from causing the water to overflow.
Return the water to a rolling boil, then one at a time, boil the pretzels. If the pretzels immediately float, boil for about 10 seconds, then, using a slotted spoon, return them to the prepared baking sheets. If they sinks, wait for them to float to the top of the water, then remove it. (Though if it’s sticking underwater for a while, it may be stuck to the bottom of the pan; you can gently coax it away with your slotted spoon.) Sprinkle the boiled pretzels very generously with pretzel or kosher salt.
Bake until golden brown, 18 to 22 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking. Remove and let the pretzels cool to warm or room temperature and serve with dipping sauce or solo.
Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce
- 4 tablespoons gluten-free Dijon mustard
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients until smooth. Serve with the warm pretzels or keep covered and refrigerated until ready to use.