One of the treats that my 8-year old son has been craving lately is a hot soft pretzel. Now that he's on a gluten-free diet, I've been learning to bake quick breads and snacks (e.g., pumpkin muffins, almond scones, banana bread, granola bars), but I hadn't tried baking yeasted breads yet. I haven't made any yeasted breads or pretzels for that matter in a really long time. I was procrastinating as I knew I had to dedicate quite a bit of time to making these gluten-free hot soft pretzels.
Well, I was at the local health food store when I spotted a bag of Gluten-Free Dutch Country Soft Pretzels. I was really excited to have found some gluten-free hot pretzels and snatched up a pack. The ingredients included rice flour, corn starch and tapioca dextrin. I made one for my 8-year old after he came home from school and he was ecstatic.
After I had some time to analyze the pack of frozen pretzels more thoroughly, I reread the ingredient label, which included tapioca dextrin. I had assumed tapioca dextrin was the same thing as tapioca starch, but now I'm not sure. According to WikiAnswers, Tapioca Dextrin is used in the food industry as a carrier for flavorings and colors in dry preparations; and in liquids, to produce bland, low viscosity solutions and as a bland bulking agent.
I decided it was time to take the plunge and try making some gluten-free hot pretzels at home. I found a recipe using Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Mix, which is contains bean flours, more nutritious than the ingredients in the store-bought frozen pretzel. I also consulted Alton Brown's Homemade Soft Pretzel recipe to compare against this gluten-free recipe. I love Alton Brown for the precision in his recipes, so I knew I could rely on his method for making hot soft pretzels. Both recipes parboil the pretzels in a solution of water and baking soda before baking the pretzels, which helps ensure a nicely browned pretzel in the short amount of baking time, while ensuring a soft, tender doughy interior.
I was really pleased with the way these hot soft pretzels turned out. Although the dough was a bit trickier to twist into pretzels than regular yeasted dough, the finished product was doughy on the inside and crusty on the outside as hoped for. All of my kids loved these fresh hot soft pretzels straight out of the oven (they didn't even ask if they were gluten-free!).
I'm always up for a challenge, and this was a good one. My next challenge will be a gluten-free baguette.
Here's the recipe for these brown, doughy Gluten-Free Hot Soft Pretzels.
Gluten-Free Hot Soft Pretzels
I made a few adjustments, adding olive oil to loosen up the dough, and brushing the tops of the pretzels with honey instead of egg since we have an egg-allergy.
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon or 1 pack quick acting yeast
1 tablespoon organic sugar
3 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Mix or other gluten-free baking mix
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
1/4 cup olive oil
10 cups water
2 tablespoons baking soda
honey, for brushing
kosher salt, for sprinkling on top
Combine water, yeast and sugar in a bowl; allow to sit for 5 minutes until mixture foams. Put baking mix, salt, baking powder, and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Process until blended. Add olive oil and yeast mixture. Process until ball of dough forms. Process an additional minute to knead dough. Remove dough from food processor bowl and place in a mixing bowl. Brush top of dough lightly with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Turn dough out onto countertop or cutting board. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope, about the diameter of a pencil. If air pockets form, pinch dough along the length of the rope and then roll it out into a smooth rope. Form into a pretzel.
Bring water and baking soda to a boil. Gently place pretzels in the boiling water, cooking for 1 minute. Remove pretzels from water and drain well. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush with honey and sprinkle with some kosher salt.
Bake until golden brown in color, about 12-14 minutes.
Makes 8 pretzels.
Jeanette from Jeanette's Healthy Living
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