Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gluten Free Soft Pretzels

I tried several different flour mixtures to get this one right.  Every time Shawn and I go to the local mall, we crave Annie's Pretzels.  How could you not?  The smell of those soft pretzels when you walk by gets your attention like a slap in the face.

These turned out great.  Salty, chewy, giant soft pretzels.  Just like I remember.  They were easier to make than I thought too, which is a bonus.

The flavor of soft pretzels comes from 3 sources.  Butter, the baking soda/salt bath, and yeast.  These are the three flavors that when combined are irresistible.


1 packet of Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup Potato Starch (not potato flour)
1/2 cup Corn Starch
1/2 cup Tapioca Flour
1 cup Glutinous Rice Flour (sweet rice)
1/2 cup Sweet White Sorghum Flour
2 teaspoons Guar Gum
1 cup warm water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted sweat cream butter (softened)
1 tablespoon Clover Honey
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pretzel salt

Alkaline Bath Ingredients

1/4 cup baking soda
3 tablespoons sea salt
4 cups water

Begin by whisking together the flours, starches, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and the guar gum until thoroughly mixed together.  Make a well in the center for the liquid ingredients.

Mix the yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1/4 cup of warm water together and set in a warm place to proof the yeast.

Pour the yeast mixture, 3/4 cup warm water, the butter, the honey, and the olive oil into the well you made in the flour mixture and begin mixing together using the dough hooks of your stand mixer.
This mixing will take a long time and will not completely incorporate all the wet into the dry.  You end up with a crumbly mixture like this.
Begin working/kneading the dough into a solid ball with your hands.
Continue working/kneading the dough in your hands until it is a smooth ball.  Spray a large glass bowl with Crisco Olive Oil nonstick spray.  Place the dough ball in the bowl and spray the dough ball so it's coated with olive oil.  Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and let sit for about an hour.  (it will swell to almost double its original size.

Remove from the oiled bowl after about an hour.  Divide the dough ball in half, then half again, then again.  Continue dividing the dough until you have 8 approximately equal balls.

Begin with one of the balls, and knead it in your hands until it becomes smooth and pliable.  The guar gum and yeast combination will become very pliable if warmly kneaded in small portions. Do not rush this step.  Once the dough is "doughy", roll between the hands at first then on the worksurface.  Keeping your fingers together at first, begin rolling into a rope while gently pressing down and slowly spreading fingers apart to elongate the rope. (if you can't get it right, ask your kids to help.  I am sure they do this in school with play-dough and or clay.)
 Roll out to approximately 12 - 18 inches long.  Grasp the ends and bring together, twist, and press ends into a side to make the pretzel shape. (notice the one pictured below was not kneaded long enough, so it cracked and tore.)

After you have made all of your pretzels, bring the alkaline bath to a boil.  Using a slotted spoon, place each pretzel into the boiling bath for approximately 1 minute.  It will swell slightly and change color to a pale yellow.

Place each pretzel straight from the bath onto a cookie sheet that you sprayed with the Crisco Olive Oil nonstick spray. Sprinkle with pretzel salt.  Bake for 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Cool on a wire rack, but serve warm.

Instead of making the pretzel shape, I wrapped some hotdogs for dinner, and prepared them the same way. (notice in the photo, there are 4 yellowish, and 2 white. The yellowish ones were boiled in the alkaline bath)

Absolutely a delicious part of any meal.

This recipe makes 8 large soft pretzels.  I do not know how long they store for or how well they hold up in storage because we ate them right away.



  1. Do you know if xanthan gum will work in place of the guar gum? That's what I have on hand... but I'm not opposed to getting some guar gum if it's preferred.

    These pretzels look heavenly! I can't wait to give your recipe a try. :)

  2. I suppose Xanthan and Guar are interchangeable in most recipes as a binder, however I have used both in many recipes and there is differences. For me, Xanthan lends itself more to a moist density, whereas Guar tends to lean more to a lighter sponginess. I haven't tried xanthan in the soft pretzel recipe yet, give it a try and let me know how it turns out for you. =]