Snack, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Philly Soft Pretzels

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…

Get Busy

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer whisk together the yeast, flours and xanthan gum. Make sure they are well combined.
  2. Heat the water to 110-120 degrees over medium heat.
  3. With your mixer on low, pour the warm water into the flour mixture.
  4. Add the honey and oil to the dough and mix on medium.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. When you are finished boiling, brush the finished pretzels with the egg wash and sprinkle the tops with salt and/or spices.
  11. Bake the pretzels for 12-14 minutes or until they are golden brown on top.
  12. 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