I must admit,I’ve never had a full bite of soft pretzel. The only time I tried it,was a year ago,to finally see why people are so excited about these. It was so good! Fluffy,soft,buttery and salty! Such a great snack and I found out why everybody is so thrilled about pretzel.
Of course,I didn’t want to make simple pretzels. I want ed to make something that you can’t find at the stores.
The sweet and sour onions along with the buttery bread and melted cheese is just heaven in your mouth!
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water, 100º-110ºF (you may need just a tad bit more)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons or 1 pack quick acting yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey or organic sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
- 1/4 cup olive oil (or softened butter)
- 3 1/2 cups gf artisan flour blend
For the caramelized onions:
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- pinch of salt
- (optional) pinch of granulated sugar or other sweetener
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme
- 2-4 tablespoons dry white or red wine (or chicken/beef/veggie stock)
1/2 cup fontina cheese,cut in 1/2 inch cubes
Baking Soda Bath:
- 8-10 cups water
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- pinch of salt
- kosher salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon honey
- splash of water
Line a couple rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
Combine water, yeast and sugar in a bowl; allow to sit for 5 -10 minutes until the mixture foams. Put the flour blend salt and baking powder in the bowl of your stand up mixer . Whisk together until well blended. Add the olive oil (or butter) and yeast mixture. With the dough hook, mix until it comes together, pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Stop the mixture a couple of times to use your spatula to incorporate all of the flour. Once combined fully, continue mixing an additional minute to knead dough. It should be just a tad bit wet, but not too wet where it doesn’t come together and hold. If it’s too dry add a teeny splash more water, if it’s too wet, add a teeny more flour. Don’t go crazy and let it be what it is. Different then glute dough.
Remove dough from the bowl and place in a oiled glass mixing bowl. Brush the top of the dough lightly with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will vary based on the temperature. You are looking for the dough to be approximately double in size.This dough is very tacky, thick and stretchy. Wet your hands when working with it and you can also very, very lightly flour your work surface, too.
In the meanwhile make the onions.
Heat butter in a large saute pan over medium heat until melted. Add onions, and toss until they are coated in the butter.
Cook the onions for the next 40 minutes or so until they are caramelized, using a spatula to stir the onions and scrape the bottom of the pan every 3-5 minutes. As the onions begin to caramelize and darken, you may need to scrape the pan more often.
Once the onions reach a deep golden brown color and are nice and syrupy, sprinkle them with a pinch of two of salt (and sugar, if desired). Stir the stock a tablespoon or two at a time, adding enough so that the browned bits on the bottom of the pan loosen when scraped with a spatula. Add the thyme. Stir the onions for 1 more minute, being sure to stir in the browned bits, then remove from heat.
Once the dough is done rising ,preheat the oven to 450ºF. Add the water and baking soda to a large pan over a high heat, whisk it quickly to dissolve the baking soda. While you are waiting for the baking soda bath to come to a boil, you will shape the dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, I like working on a bit of parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, divide the dough carefully into 8 equal parts. Wet your hands with a little water and roll each piece of dough on the floured surface into a cylinder about 1-inch in diameter, it is a very thick and stretchy dough, so really give it some elbow grease.
Take the pretzel ball,flatten it with your hands,stuff it with 1 teaspoon caramelized onions and a cube of fontina. Try to close carefully the edges of the disc and seal it.
When you finish shaping all the pretzel balls,with a sharp knife, score each pretzel ball by cutting diagonally into the top about ⅛ inch deep.
Once your water is boiling, take the heat down to a medium-high, you want it barely boiling. A rolling boil will break your pretzel bite apart. Place as many pretzel balls of dough into the nearly boiling baking soda bath as will fit comfortably. Allow them to cook in the water for about 30 seconds on one side before gently flipping the bites over. Allow to cook for another 30 seconds. Remove the balls with a strainer and place them, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheets. Whisk together the egg yolk and honey mixture or just honey and brush on each bite. Sprinkle each with a little coarse salt, to taste.
Place the pretzels in the center of the preheated oven and bake until golden brown all over, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool a bit on the baking pan then go to town.