Blazing fall foliage, crisp blue-sky days, hot spiced cider… this time of year is just begging to be celebrated. And starting this weekend in Munich, Germany, one very well-known autumnal celebration is kicking off: Oktoberfest. Despite the name, Oktoberfest typically begins towards the end of September, and really, what better way to kick of this incredible season than sitting with a plate of hearty, warming food, surrounded by joyful people?
Of course, as someone who grew up in a German household eating traditional German food, I’ll be the first to admit that Oktoberfest fare isn’t exactly known to be the healthiest, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put your own spin on the classics and host your own healthy and homemade autumn gathering. To help you get geared up, today I’m sharing a recipe for an ubiquitous autumnal treat: soft pretzels. Golden, soft, and a little chewy, these pretzels are pretty amazing, and even better, they’re gluten free and fun to make.
These pretzels take about an hour from start to finish, and you may want to grab a cooking partner to whip them up with you. But set aside some time and I can almost guarantee you’ll have a blast making these delicious golden treats.
Gluten Free Soft Pretzels
Makes about 8 medium pretzels (palm-size)
1 1/3 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I prefer Glutino brand)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp coconut sugar (regular white sugar works fine as well)
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbs honey
Coarse sea salt (for dusting)
For baking soda bath:
2 1/2 quarts water
2/3 cup baking soda
About an hour before you start, remove the egg from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.
In the bowl of your mixer, whisk together the sugar, yeast, and water and allow to sit for five minutes (it will bubble, this is a good sign. If the yeast doesn’t bubble, the water is either too cold, or the yeast is inactive). While the yeast mixture is sitting, sift together the flour and fine sea salt.
Once the five minutes is up, add the egg and honey to the yeast mixture and set your mixer on a low speed. Pour in half of the sifted flour and salt and allow to mix for about a minute, pushing down any dough that sticks to the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. After a minute add the remaining dry mix to the wet, and blend on low until a soft dough forms. If the dough looks too dry, add additional warm water a little at a time.
Turn off the mixer and ball the dough up, kneading in any bits of dough that may be unmixed.
Very lightly dust a work surface with flour and place the dough ball beside it. Break off a chunk of dough slightly smaller than a golf-ball and roll it to about 8 or 9 inches in length.
Twist the length of dough into a pretzel shape. Repeat these steps until your dough ball is transformed into about 8 beautiful pretzels.
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper, and place the pretzels on top of it. Brush the pretzels with plenty of coconut oil and cover with a clean, damp dishtowel. Store in a warm place – such as your oven set on low or a warmed, clean dishwasher — and allow to proof for 30 minutes.
Towards the end of the proofing cycle, fill the pot with 10 cups of water and the baking soda and allow to come to a rolling boil.
Uncover the pretzels and, working one at a time, lower them into the boiling water.
Submerge each side for 15 seconds each before draining and placing back on the parchment paper. A hand-held pasta strainer works very well for this task.
After all the pretzels have been boiled, brush them liberally with butter and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes, or golden brown.
These pretzels are best served immediately and don’t keep well overnight. If you do store them, place a clean dry paper towel between them to keep the dough from absorbing the salt.
Serve alongside a gluten free cider with mustard for dipping, or any other topping you’d like to whip up. Enjoy!
More recipe posts from the BLDG 25 blog.