This recipe, for Auntie Anne’s-Style Gluten Free Soft Pretzels (with sweet mustard dipping sauce!), is for those of us who are tempted to “cheat” and stand in that line at the mall and have one gluteny soft pretzel I mean come on how bad can it be. Don’t do it!
I used the recipe for Pretzel Rolls from page 153 of GFOAS Bakes Breadwith a few modifications, all in the name of science—and indulgence (more butter! more brown sugar! milk instead of water!).
I haven’t had an Auntie Anne’s pretzel in the mall in, like, 100 years. But Auntie Anne’s pretzels are like Cinnabon. You can’t help but get something of a contact high if you set foot in a mall that sells them.
That buttery, salty goodness just … lives there permanently. Just ask the tired parents waiting in line at that pretzel counter on any given Saturday in America. You can’t escape it. Well, when you’re gluten free, clearly you must escape it.
Boiling the pretzels in a baking soda bath, like boiling bagels, is what gives them that chewy exterior. They wrinkle up, but don’t worry! They plump right up when you bake them.
Auntie Anne’s pretzels are thinner than I made mine, but I found that when I rolled them super super thin, they had a bit of a hard time keeping their shape when I boiled them. Who knows what kind of black magic those Auntie Anne’s people do with their super skinny pretzels.
Oh, and be sure to read the note in the recipe ingredients about sprinkling with salt. Sprinkling soft pretzels with salt before baking draws water out of the pretzels as they cool.
So if you don’t plan to eat all the pretzels right away, consider holding the salt sprinkle until later. I explain it all below. And don’t skimp on that dipping sauce. It’s half the fun!
Prep time:Cook time:Yield:7 large pretzels
FOR THE SOFT PRETZELS 1 recipe Gluten Free Soft Pretzel Dough (I used the Pretzel Rolls dough from page 153 of GFOAS Bakes Bread, but the Pretzel Rolls from the blog would work fine, too), prepared according to each recipe’s instructions, but made with the following adjustments:
In the book recipe:
Reduce the amount of Gluten Free Bread Flour to 3 cups (420 g) from 3 1/4 cups (490 g).
Eliminate the nonfat dry milk.
Increase the packed light brown sugar to 1/4 cup (55 g).
Increase the butter in the dough to 5 tablespoons.
Replace the warm water with 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) warm milk (about 95°F).
In the blog recipe:
Increase the packed light brown sugar to 1/4 cup (55 g).
Increase the butter in the dough to 4 tablespoons.
Replace the warm water with an equal amount (1 1/2 cups) of warm milk.
Baking soda bath for boiling (6 cups water plus 1 tablespoon baking soda plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, brought to a rolling boil over medium-high heat)
Melted unsalted butter, for brushing
Coarse salt, for sprinkling*
FOR THE SWEET MUSTARD DIPPING SAUCE 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder (optional)
*NOTE about salt: If you don’t plan to serve all of the pretzels immediately after baking, consider baking without the coarse salt entirely, or with a very light sprinkling of it. Salt on the top of bread draws moisture out of the bread and causes it to go stale more quickly. If you do eliminate the salt (or most of it) during baking, simply brush the pretzels with more melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt before serving.
On baking day, line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper, grease it lightly with cooking oil spray, and set it aside.
If using the pretzel dough from page 153 of GFOAS Bakes Bread, on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smoother as directed in These General Shaping Tips. Divide the dough into 7 equal portions, each about 4 ounces, and roll each into a ball as illustrated in this gluten free bread shaping video. Roll each piece of dough (pressing down and out with your palms) into a thin rope about 12 inches long. Shape into a pretzel by turning both ends of the rope inward toward one another, criss-crossing them once, and then crossing one end over another in an X. Tuck the ends of the X behind the bottom of the pretzel shape and press gently but firmly to seal. Place each piece of shaped dough on the prepared baking sheet, 2 inches apart from one another. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free location to rise until nearly doubled in size (about 40 minutes).
To make the dipping sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, and whisk to combine well. The dry mustard powder really gives the sauce a nice depth of flavor, but it is entirely optional. Set the sauce aside.
As the dough nears the end of its rise, preheat your oven to 375°F. In a large pot, make the baking soda bath by dissolving the baking soda and salt in approximately 6 cups of water, and bringing it to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Once the dough has finished rising, place the pretzels a few at a time in the boiling baking soda bath for just under a minute per side. If the ends of the pretzel begin to separate from the rounded bottom, don’t worry. We’re still on track. Remove the pretzels with a strainer and return them to the baking sheet. Brush generously with the melted butter, sprinkle with coarse salt, and place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven. Bake until golden brown all over (about 10 minutes). Remove from the oven and brush once again generously with the melted butter and allow to cool on the pan briefly. Serve warm with the dipping sauce.
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