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  • Gutsy Baker

Grain Free Soft Carnival Pretzels (Two Ways, No Yeast)

There are a few combinations in life that I just can’t get enough of. Peanut butter and jelly. Chocolate and sea salt. PRETZELS AND MUSTARD. Those big pretzels I’d get at the carnival with the chunky salt pieces. I loved to drizzle them with mustard and of course would make a huge mess trying to eat it. Why are all the best foods made with gluten?!


If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I like to take requests on what type of healthy snacks, gluten free desserts or remakes you’d like me to create. Recently I have had a few requests to remake a grain free pretzel, so I went to work.

I have to say, these pretzels were the trickiest out of all the copycat recipes I’ve made. Getting a chewy pretzel out of grain free dough is quite tricky. I avoid yeast because of a Candida overgrowth, so I had to work with replacing the yeast with apple cider vinegar. But after several attempts, I think I’ve done it! I made these pretzels two ways, paleo — with eggs and paleo/AIP — without eggs. Both are made with cassava flour. They both came out delicious, the egg version is a bit chewier and has more of an iconic pretzel texture. If you can’t handle eggs, the version without is just 4 ingredients. They aren’t as chewy but they are bready and soft and still taste like a delicious soft pretzel, especially when covered in salt or cinnamon/sugar. You can choose which version you’d like to try!

What do you need for these grain free soft pretzels?

  • Mixing bowls

  • Your hands for rolling

  • Some pretzel twisting skills

  • A baking sheet with parchment paper

  • A shallow pan and spatula for the baking soda bath


Paleo/Grain Free Version with Eggs (chewier, more iconic pretzel texture):

What is in these soft pretzels?


Cassava Flour: Cassava is a root veggie that is paleo friendly and also safe for low fodmap diets in the allotted amount. I don’t bake with cassava flour too often because it has a nutty flavor, so it’s harder to make it work in sweeter recipes. But since these pretzels are bready and savory, cassava works perfectly

Tapioca or Arrowroot Flour: Tapioca is the starch derived from the cassava root. This acts as a binder and will make these pretzels chewy

Coconut Oil or Palm Oil Shortening: Either can be used. You need a good solid, healthy fat here. Organic Palm Oil Shortening actually has amazing health benefits as well!

Maple Syrup or Honey: You need this sticky sweetener in your recipe

Apple Cider Vinegar: This is your “yeast” substitute, you cannot omit! It acts with coconut milk to make the pretzels bready and gives them a rise

Sea Salt: In the recipe and sprinkled on top

Eggs: This recipe calls for 3 eggs and one egg white. This is what makes your pretzels very chewy on the outside. See below for an eggless recipe option

Baking Powder: Baking Powder makes your baked goods rise and gives them a cakey-like texture. Here this works to make our pretzels more bready



Ingredients for the paleo/egg version:

  • 1 cup of cassava flour (I used Otto’s)

  • 1 cup of arrowroot starch (tapioca starch should work here as well)

  • 3 large eggs plus 1 egg white, room temp

  • 4 tbsp of refined coconut oil, or organic palm oil shortening

  • 2 tbsp of honey (or maple syrup)

  • 1 tbsp + of any milk

  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tsp of baking powder

  • 3/4 tsp of sea salt

  • Baking Soda Bath: 1/2 cup of baking soda, plus 8 cups of water

  • Toppings: 1 egg yolk for egg wash

  • Optional: top with coarse sea salt, sesame seeds, or cinnamon and sugar mix

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Make your baking soda bath: add the cups of water with the baking soda and bring to a boil in a shallower pan

  3. Combine the 1 tbsp of milk with the apple cider vinegar in a mixing bowl and set aside for 5 minutes

  4. Now mix together the cassava, tapioca, baking powder and salt in another bowl

  5. After 5 minutes is up, add in the honey or maple syrup, the eggs/egg whites, and coconut oil or palm oil shortening to the bowl with the apple cider vinegar and milk, mix well. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature before mixing them in, you can do this by placing the whole egg in warm water for a few minutes

  6. Now mix the dry ingredients into the wet until it forms a dough. Let the dough sit for a minute, the cassava flour will absorb a lot of the liquid

  7. Form the dough into a ball. If the dough seems too dry like it may crumble when rolled out, add 1 tsp more of milk to the dough at a time until it becomes formable, and not crumbly. The texture of Play Doh. This depends on how

  8. Separate the dough into 8 equal parts, this will make you a bigger size pretzel. If you want a smaller pretzel, separate into 10 equal parts (or more)

  9. Roll the dough out with your hands on a flat surface into a long thin, tube shape. About 1” in thickness. It should be long enough to fold up into a pretzel shape

  10. To roll into pretzels, take each end of the long tube you just rolled, lift them up at the same time, and cross them over each other

  11. Repeat this process until all your dough pieces are used.

  12. Lay all your pretzels out and one at a time, carefully place in them in the boiling water. Let them boil for 15 seconds and carefully remove them with a flat spatula. Lay them back on your baking sheet

  13. When all the pretzels have been boiled, brush them evently with the egg yolk. This is what makes your pretzels get nice and brown, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt or sesame seeds. Cinnamon and sugar would be delicious too.

  14. Bake for 18-25 minutes, depending on your pretzel size. You will know they are done when the outside is brown and hardened.

  15. Let them cool before trying them. I noticed they have a better texture and lose any egg flavor when cool

  16. Dip in your favorite mustard and enjoy!




NOW FOR….

Paleo/Grain Free Version without Eggs (more bready, a touch of sweetness, AIP and vegan-friendly):

What is in these AIP soft pretzels?

Cassava Flour: Cassava is a root veggie that is paleo friendly and also safe for low fodmap diets in the allotted amount. I don’t bake with cassava flour too often because it has a nutty flavor, so it’s harder to make it work in sweeter recipes. But since these pretzels are bready and savory, cassava works perfectly

Tapioca or Arrowroot Flour: This is the starch derived from the cassava root. This acts as a binder and will make these pretzels chewy

Honey or Maple Syrup: This acts as a binder in your pretzels since you have no eggs. I would not omit or replace this sticky sweetener. I recommend honey over maple syrup as it’s not as sweet. But I think maple syrup would work here, too

Coconut Milk: This is the liquid base of your pretzel

Apple Cider Vinegar: This is going to react with your coconut milk and allow the pretzels to become bready, it acts as a ‘yeast’

Sea Salt: In the recipe and sprinkled on top


Ingredients for the egg-free version:

  • 2 cups of cassava flour

  • 1 tbsp of tapioca or arrowroot powder

  • 1 1/2 tsp of baking soda

  • 3/4 tsp of sea salt

  • 4 tbsp of honey (maple syrup should work here)

  • 1 1/2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar

  • 1 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp of full fat coconut milk


  • Baking Soda Bath: 1/2 cup of baking soda, plus 8 cups of water

  • Toppings: 1 egg yolk for egg wash (yes these are an egg free dough, but this is what makes them a dark brown. You can always brush with olive oil as an alternative)

  • Optional: Top with coarse sea salt or other toppings of choice. I like sesame seeds and cinnamon/sugar mix!


Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Make your baking soda bath: add the cups of water with the baking soda and bring to a boil in a shallower pan

  3. Combine the coconut milk with the apple cider vinegar in a mixing bowl and set aside for 5 minutes

  4. Now mix together the cassava, tapioca/arrowroot, baking soda and salt in another bowl

  5. After 5 minutes is up, add in the honey or maple syrup, with the apple cider vinegar and milk, mix well.

  6. Now mix the dry ingredients into the wet until it forms a dough. Let the dough sit for a minute, the cassava flour will absorb a lot of the liquid.

  7. Form the dough into a ball. If the dough seems too dry like it may crumble when rolled out, add 1 tsp more of milk to the dough at a time until it becomes formable, and not crumbly. If it’s too wet, add 1 tbsp of cassava flour at a time until it becomes formable and rollable. It should be the texture of Play Doh.

  8. Separate the dough into 6 equal parts, this will make you a bigger size pretzel. If you want a smaller pretzel, separate into 8 equal parts (or more)

  9. Roll the dough out with your hands on a flat surface into a long thin, tube shape. About 1” in thickness. It should be long enough to fold up into a pretzel shape

  10. To roll into pretzels, take each end of the long tube you just rolled, lift them up at the same time, and criss cross them over each other

  11. Repeat this process until all your dough pieces are used.

  12. Lay all your pretzels out and one at a time, carefully place in them in the boiling water. Let them boil for 15 seconds and carefully remove them with a flat spatula. Lay them back on your baking sheet

  13. Once they have all been boiled, brush with your egg yolk or olive oil. This is what makes your pretzels get nice and brown, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt or sesame seeds. Cinnamon and sugar would be delicious too.

  14. Bake for about 15-17 minutes, depending on your pretzel size. You will know they are done when the outside is brown and firmed up.

  15. Let them cool before trying them. The flavor and texture come out when they are cool.

  16. Dip in your favorite mustard and enjoy!



Recipe notes:

-You cannot sub cassava in these recipes, it’s tried and true!

-If your dough it too try, add a tsp of milk at a time until it becomes formable like Play Doh. If it’s too wet, add 1 tbsp of cassava flour at a time until it becomes formable and rollable.

-The baking soda bath is necessary! This cooks the inside a bit so they’ll be chewy once baked


If you make these grain free soft pretzels, leave comments, ratings or questions below!


xo Stephanie