BreadApril-May 2016

Gluten-Free Soft Pretzels


Gluten-Free Soft Pretzels


For Pretzel Buns, double the recipe to make about 5 buns. Form the dough into bun-size balls. Simmer them in a baking soda bath as instructed in step 9. Cut an X on top of each bun before baking. Bake 20 minutes until dark golden brown.

These gluten-free pretzels taste just like those sold at the ballpark and the mall. You can shape the dough into pretzel bites and even buns. Don’t skip the baking soda bath; it creates an authentic texture and hue. These taste best when eaten the same day. They can be made with egg replacement; see instructions below.

cup milk of choice
3 tablespoons butter or Earth
Balance buttery sticks
1 packet yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon cold water
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin or agar powder
cup white rice flour
cup brown rice flour
cup millet flour
cup potato starch (not potato flour)
2/3 cup tapioca starch/flour, more for dusting work surface
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature 10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
-Egg wash (1 egg yolk mixed with
1 tablespoon water) or milk of choice
-Pretzel salt or coarse kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place milk and butter in a microwave-safe measuring cup and heat until mixture is 110F, about 40 seconds on high (any hotter will kill the yeast). Pour into a bowl and whisk in yeast and sugar. Set aside to proof.

3. Place 1 tablespoon cold water in a very small microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over the water and set aside.

4. In a medium bowl, combine white rice flour, brown rice flour, millet flour, potato starch, tapioca starch/flour, xanthan gum and salt.

5. By this time, gelatin should be activated. Place it in the microwave and heat 5 to 7 seconds on high, just long enough to get it liquid again.

6. Beat gelatin and eggs into proofed yeast mixture. Slowly beat in flour mixture. Then beat on medium speed 1 to 2 minutes until dough is well mixed and is pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

7. Lightly dust your work surface with tapioca starch/flour. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll them into ropes. Form each into a “U” shape, twist the top ends together 2 times and bring the ends down to the bottom of the “U” to form a pretzel shape.

8. In a very large pot, prepare a baking soda bath by combining 10 cups water with baking soda. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer.

9. Gently slide pretzels into simmering water. Cook 1 minute, flip and cook another minute. Remove with a slotted spatula and place on prepared baking sheet.

10. Brush pretzels with egg wash or milk of choice and sprinkle lightly with salt.

11. Place pretzels in preheated oven and bake 15 to 18 minutes until dark golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Each pretzel contains 345 calories, 10g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 123mg cholesterol, 424mg sodium, 59g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 3g sugars, 6g protein, 40Est GL.


For Egg-Free Soft Pretzels, omit 2 eggs. Combine 2 tablespoons flax meal with 6 tablespoons hot water. Use this mixture to replace the eggs in step 6. Add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until dough is smooth. Use wet hands to shape the dough and smooth any breaks. Lower pretzels into the water using a slotted spatula and keep them submerged 2 minutes. The dough is fragile and may fall apart if left to float or if it’s over-handled.

Comments (3)

I have a very nice gluten-free flour mix (Pillsbury) that has rice flour, plus others like pea and potato, tapioca starch and xanthan gum. Can I use this flour alone and not need to add the gelatin or additional starches? I've used it before in traditional recipes and it seems to work out fine. Looking forward to trying these pretzels!

Posted by: Suzysite | February 2, 2017 6:11 AM    Report this comment

Hi Danielle, Thanks for writing and for providing feedback on this recipe. Here are a few tips that might help you. When you make the recipe next time, make sure the water is barely simmering. If it's boiling too fast, the dough can easily fall apart. When handling the pretzel dough, do so through a sheet of lightly oiled plastic wrap. That helps to keep the dough together and eliminates the need for additional tapioca starch. Finally, I would omit the gelatin. I think it could soften too much when the dough hits the hot water. I hope that helps. Thanks for your feedback.

Beth Hillson
Food Editor
Gluten Free & More

Posted by: | March 14, 2016 9:27 PM    Report this comment

I was so excited to make these today as I love pretzels and haven't had one in years. I'd give them a 4 out of 5 stars. The dough worked out well after mixing. These didn't take long to make, but they made my kitchen a mess and used a lot of dishes. There is NO WAY this dough can be rolled out, twisted into a pretzel and keep intact onto the pan. It's utterly impossible. It breaks apart in the water because the dough is so tender and soft. This is one complaint I have with this magazine and wonder how many times they test these recipes. I put the large pieces on the pan and baked them that way. While right out of the oven, the middle was still a little soft, but it gets better as they sit for a while. Watch the amount of tapioca flour put on the counter because the dough breaks apart and then you can't get it back together if too much flour. In fact the next time I won't sprinkle any tapioca flour out at all. I used Maldon Sea Salt as a topper and highly recommend that. Next time I'll do my best to roll them into a rope and cut 2"-3" pieces so they look nicer.

Posted by: Danim | March 8, 2016 4:49 PM    Report this comment

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