I have a bad habit of making a complete and utter mess out of a recipe early on in the development process and not coming back to fix it for months. Such was the fate of my soft pretzels. I started working on them this past summer and after two batches that looked too much like excrement to serve even to myself, I moved onto another recipe.
Until this week.
The pretzels have been on my mind for months and as I finished my final babka (with a tearful eye) I craved something salty. I looked at the first two pretzel recipes I had scribbled down in August and tossed them aside. The dough, in both cases, was unmanageable. I needed something that was pliable and could be rolled into ropes.Which brings me back to babka. I ran into similar problems early on in the development of that sweet yeasty dough and fixed them by changing the ratio of liquid to solid in the recipe.
I love hijacking recipes, perhaps no more than when they’re from my own pantry. I pulled out the final babka recipe and placed it next to a new, blank scrap of paper. I would pry a pretzel out of that sweet dough come hell or high water. And after neither brimstone nor flood but, rather, two batches of pretzels, I had done just that.
This pretzel recipe is a hybrid. It’s a blend of the classic New York soft pretzel with all the best attributes of a Philly style soft pretzel. Yeasty, bready, soft and topped with crunches of coarse salt, these pretzels are my new favorite accompaniment to a couple of eggs in the morning.
Free of Gluten, Dairy, Processed Sugar, Corn, Soy and Nuts.
- 1 tablespoon Yeast
- 1 cup Brown Rice Flour (plus more for dusting/rolling the dough liberally)
- 1/2 cup White Rice Flour
- 1/4 cup Sweet Rice Flour
- 1/4 cup Tapioca Flour
- 1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
- 2/3 cup Water
- 3 tablespoons Honey
- 1/4 cup Rice Bran Oil (any veg. oil will do)
- 1 Whole Egg
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 1 cup Baking Soda
- 1 Egg+Water or Milk for an egg wash
- Coarse Salt, Fennel Seeds, Caraway Seeds, toppings…
- In the bowl of your stand mixer whisk together the yeast, flours and xanthan gum. Make sure they are well combined.
- Heat the water to 110-120 degrees over medium heat.
- With your mixer on low, pour the warm water into the flour mixture.
- Add the honey and oil to the dough and mix on medium.
- Add the whole egg and egg yolk and mix on medium-high until the dough starts to pull away from the side of the bowl.
- Cover the bowl with a towel and place it in a warm spot to rise for 30-40 minutes. It should gain about 1.5x its mass.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
- Dust your counter and hands with extra flour. Take a small piece of dough and roll it in your hands until it is a rope. Shape the rope into any pretzel you can imagine-twists, loops, whatever.
- Boil a pot of water with the baking soda. When the water reaches a rolling boil place the twisted pretzels (in small batches) in the pot. Boil the pretzels for about 30 seconds and then place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- When you are finished boiling, brush the finished pretzels with the egg wash and sprinkle the tops with salt and/or spices.
- Bake the pretzels for 12-14 minutes or until they are golden brown on top.
- Remove the pretzels from the cookie sheet and allow them to cool on a rack.
Prep. Time: 50 minutes (including rising time)
Baking Time: 12-14 minutes
Yield: 12 4-inch pretzels