Gluten-Free Sourdough Soft Pretzels

These delicious gluten-free sourdough soft pretzels are just like the “regular” soft pretzels thanks to psyllium husk, the secret ingredient in gluten-free baking. You will be surprised how simple it is to make these!

Gluten-free sourdough soft pretzels on a cooling rack with sauce and a towel in the background.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

Easy to make. Mixing, shaping, and baking these pretzels is a breeze. And they only need 1 hour of fermenting!

Texture. Thanks to psyllium husk, these pretzels are soft and fluffy on the inside just like you would expect them to be!

Flavor. Along with a basic pretzel sauce, these are a true indulgence!

What Is A Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter?

A gluten-free sourdough starter is wild yeast that is made with gluten-free flour. Normally, a sourdough starter is made with wheat flour but if you are sensitive to gluten, you need to use a gluten-free starter. Sourdough starter can be used to make a gluten-free sourdough loaf or other recipes you would normally add yeast to. I especially like thin-crust sourdough pizza, soft sourdough cookies, and fluffy sourdough cinnamon rolls! For hamburgers, you can either make my pillowy soft dinner rolls or these GF sourdough hamburger buns.

Ingredients

Ingredients on a white surface.

Gluten-free sourdough starter – a mature starter will work better but you can also use discard. You can make your own gluten-free starter if you don’t have one yet!

Gluten-free flour – I used my gluten-free rice-free flour mix but any other premade GF flour should work!

Psyllium husk – you can use either whole husks or powder, just try to avoid very fine powder that looks rather like flour. For more details check out this post on psyllium husk.

Water – I used tap water. If your tap water is drinkable you should be fine! Otherwise, use bottled water.

Substitutes

Psyllium husk – the only good substitute for psyllium husk is psyllium husk powder. If using psyllium husk powder, use 10g, add it to the dry ingredients instead of the water, and let the dough sit for 10-20 minutes until psyllium husk absorbs enough water to thicken the dough!

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step 1 – Mix the dough

Mixing psyllium husk in water with a whisk.

Add psyllium husk, sugar, and water to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside until psyllium gel forms (1-2 minutes).

Mixing all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl with a whisk.

In a bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl) combine all the dry ingredients using a whisk.

Mixed pretzel dough with the dough hooks above the bowl.

Then, add psyllium gel and the sourdough starter to the bowl with the dry ingredients and knead the dough in a stand mixer for 5 minutes using a dough hook. You can also use a hand mixer for this step. If you don’t have a mixer, you can knead the dough by hand, in that case, knead for 10 minutes to achieve a very smooth dough!

Step 2 – Shape the pretzels

Using a digital scale to measure out pretzel pieces.

Separate the dough into 6 equal pieces. Mine were about 120-130 grams per pretzel. It is important to make sure all pretzels are the same size so that they bake at the same speed! The dough will be very sticky, don’t add extra flour! Rather, grease your hands with oil to prevent sticking.

Four steps of shaping the soft pretzels.

Once the dough is separated into 6 parts, flour the working surface, take one of the dough pieces, and start rolling it into a rope with your hands. As you are rolling the dough, carefully pull it to stretch it out. The length should be about 16 inches/40 cm. Then, bring the dough into a U-shape, twist the ends over each other twice, and finally, bring the tops to the bottom part of the dough to make the traditional pretzel shape.

Step 3 – Bake the pretzels

Shaped pretzels on a piece of parchment paper.

Place shaped pretzels on the baking sheet lined with a piece of parchment paper. Cover them with a tea towel and let them proof for 1-2 hours. I let mine sit for 1 hour before the water bath!

30 minutes before the end of proofing start preheating the oven to 445F/230C.

A pretzel in a spider strainer over a water bath.

Once the pretzels are done proofing, boil 5 cups of water in a medium-large pot with 5 tbsp of baking soda. If your pot is too large, you can add more water. Remember to add 1 tbsp of baking soda per each added cup of water. Once the water starts boiling, carefully lower the pretzels into the pot (mine fits 2 at once). Boil for 30-50 seconds, you can push the pretzels underwater if they are floating on top. Finally, transfer the pretzels from the water bath to the parchment paper using a spider or any other tool that works for you, just be gentle with the pretzels.

Don’t worry if your pretzels move and fall out of shape. You can reshape them gently once they are out of the water!

Brushing pretzels with egg wash.

Once all pretzels have gone through the water bath, prepare the egg wash. To make an egg wash just whisk one egg with a fork in a small bowl. Then, brush the pretzels with it using a silicone brush or a baking brush. Don’t use the whole egg, brush just enough to cover the pretzels to avoid baked eggs on top!

Sprinkling pretzels with flaky salt.

Finally, sprinkle your gluten-free sourdough pretzels with flaky salt!

Oven set up for baking pretzels with water tray at the bottom.

Place a dish with water in the bottom of the oven to create extra steam and prevent the pretzels from browning too quickly. Bake your gluten-free sourdough pretzels at 445F/230C for 15-20 minutes. The inner temperature should read 210F/100C and a toothpick should come out without much raw dough sticking to it. Keep checking on the pretzels after 15 minutes to make sure they don’t burn!

Let baked pretzels cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray, then transfer them to a cooling rack. Let them cool for 10-15 minutes and enjoy!

A pretzel broken in half with the inner part showing.

How To Store

These gluten-free sourdough pretzels are best on the day when you baked them but they will keep for a few days in an air-tight container! You can store them at room temperature for 2 days and in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat, just pop them in a microwave for half a minute! You can freeze these pretzels for up to 3 months. To reheat, place them in a microwave until completely soft.

Expert Tips

– Don’t roll your pretzels out too thin or they will be hard to handle.

– Use a digital scale to make sure your pretzels turn out the way they should! It is easy to overpack or underpack the flour into the measuring cups which interferes with the recipe.

– If the dough sticks to your hands don’t add flour. Grease your hands with oil and flour the working surface, that should be enough! Adding extra flour will make pretzels harder and less fluffy.

– Don’t worry if your pretzels fall out of shape during the water bath. You can carefully reshape them after they are back on the baking sheet!

– If you need to increase the amount of water for the water bath remember to add 1 tbsp of baking soda per each added cup of water.

– Don’t forget to add a dish with water in the bottom of the oven to prevent pretzels from browning too quickly and to allow for a better rise.

FAQ

Can I Freeze These Gluten-Free Pretzels?

Yes! Place them in an air-tight container and freeze them for up to 3-4 months. To reheat, just place them in a microwave until soft and completely thawed!

Why Are My Pretzels Gummy?

It could happen if pretzels did not bake through all the way. Make sure you place a dish with water or ice in the bottom of the oven during baking. The inner temperature of the pretzels should be 210F/100C and a toothpick should come out almost clean. It is easy to undertake these pretzels as they brown very quickly.

Why Did My Pretzels Burn?

Your oven might be running hot. I recommend using an oven thermometer to make sure you are baking at the right temperature. It is very common for ovens to run hot or cold. Mine does!

Gluten-free sourdough soft pretzels on a cooling rack with a sauce and a kitchen towel in the background.

Gluten-Free Sourdough Soft Pretzels

Natasha
These delicious gluten-free sourdough soft pretzels are easy to make and they taste just like the "regular" pretzels!
4 from 6 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Proofing/Water Bath 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Course Bread, Breakfast, snacks
Cuisine American
Servings 6 pretzels
Calories 257 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Gluten-Free Sourdough Pretzels

  • 12 grams (2½ tbsp) psyllium husk whole husks, not powder (if using powder, use 10g) read my psyllium husk guide for more info
  • 20 grams (1½ tbsp) sugar
  • 320 grams (1⅓ cups) water room-temperature or warm water, not hot
  • 150 grams (1 cup + 2 tbsp) sourdough starter a mature starter works best but discard can be used, too
  • 300 grams (2 cups) gluten-free flour I used my gluten-free rice-free flour mix
  • 5 grams (1 tsp) salt
  • 1 tbsp (8 grams) xanthan gum

Water Bath

  • 5 tbsp baking soda for the water bath
  • 5 cups water for the water bath

You Will Also Need

  • 1 egg for the egg wash
  • flaky salt to sprinkle on top

Instructions
 

Mixing the dough

  • Add psyllium husk, sugar, and water to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside until psyllium gel forms (1-2 minutes).
  • In a bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl) combine all the dry ingredients using a whisk.
  • Then, add psyllium gel and the sourdough starter to the bowl with the dry ingredients and knead the dough in a stand mixer for 5 minutes using a dough hook. You can also use a hand mixer for this step. If you don't have a mixer, you can knead the dough by hand, in that case, knead for 10 minutes to achieve a very smooth dough!

Shaping

  • Separate the dough into 6 equal pieces. Mine were about 120-130 grams per pretzel. It is important to make sure all pretzels are the same size so that they bake at the same speed! The dough will be very sticky, don't add extra flour! Rather, grease your hands with oil to prevent sticking.
  • Once the dough is separated into 6 parts, flour the working surface, take one of the dough pieces, and start rolling it into a rope with your hands. As you are rolling the dough, carefully pull it to stretch it out. The length should be about 16 inches/40 cm. Then, bring the dough into a U-shape, twist the ends over each other twice, and finally, bring the tops to the bottom part of the dough to make the traditional pretzel shape (pictures in the post).

Baking

  • Place shaped pretzels on the baking sheet lined with a piece of parchment paper. Cover them with a tea towel and let them proof for 1-2 hours. I let mine sit for 1 hour before the water bath!
  • 30 minutes before the end of proofing start preheating the oven to 445F/230C.
  • Once the pretzels are done proofing, boil 5 cups of water in a medium-large pot with 5 tbsp of baking soda. If your pot is too large, you can add more water. Remember to add 1 tbsp of baking soda per each added cup of water. Once the water starts boiling, carefully lower the pretzels into the pot (mine fits 2 at once). Boil for 30-50 seconds, you can push the pretzels underwater if they are floating on top. Finally, transfer the pretzels from the water bath to the parchment paper using a spider or any other tool that works for you, just be gentle with the pretzels.
  • Don't worry if your pretzels move and fall out of shape. You can reshape them gently once they are out of the water!
  • Once all pretzels have gone through the water bath, prepare the egg wash. To make an egg wash just whisk one egg with a fork in a small bowl. Then, brush the pretzels with it using a silicone brush or a baking brush. Don't use the whole egg, brush just enough to cover the pretzels to avoid baked eggs on top!
  • Finally, sprinkle your gluten-free sourdough pretzels with flaky salt!
  • Place a dish with water in the bottom of the oven to create extra steam and prevent the pretzels from browning too quickly. Bake your gluten-free sourdough pretzels at 445F/230C for 15-20 minutes. The inner temperature should read 210F/100C and a toothpick should come out without much raw dough sticking to it. Keep checking on the pretzels after 15 minutes to make sure they don't burn!
  • Let baked pretzels cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray, then transfer them to a cooling rack. Let them cool for 10-15 minutes and enjoy!

Notes

– Don’t roll your pretzels out too thin or they will be hard to handle.
– Use a digital scale to make sure your pretzels turn out the way they should! It is easy to overpack or underpack the flour into the measuring cups which interferes with the recipe.
– If the dough sticks to your hands don’t add flour. Grease your hands with oil and flour the working surface, that should be enough! Adding extra flour will make pretzels harder and less fluffy.
– Don’t worry if your pretzels fall out of shape during the water bath. You can carefully reshape them after they are back on the baking sheet!
– If you need to increase the amount of water for the water bath remember to add 1 tbsp of baking soda per each added cup of water.
– Don’t forget to add a dish with water in the bottom of the oven to prevent pretzels from browning too quickly and to allow for a better rise.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pretzelCalories: 257kcalCarbohydrates: 59.6gProtein: 4.1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.4gSodium: 562mgFiber: 10gSugar: 5gCalcium: 1mg
Keyword Gluten-free soft pretzels, Gluten-free sourdough discard recipes, gluten-free sourdough pretzels
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