vegan soft pretzels
SATISFYING VEGAN SOFT PRETZELS
I have a soft pretzel addiction. It stems from growing up in a suburb of Philadelphia and in my grade school years, I had a soft pretzel every day for snack. It is the best mid-morning treat to keep you going until lunchtime: salty and carb-loaded. Call it a comfort food of mine but when I am hungry/cranky (hangry?), a soft pretzel with mustard will help every time!
Dairy Free butter substitutions
The basis of a soft pretzel has a little bit of butter in the dough and an egg yolk wash on top applied just before baking. So in order to make this recipe vegan, a few simple changes had to be made. But it got me thinking about what dairy free butter substitutions were out there? I am constantly learning how to rework recipes to make them vegan and I found many interesting things about this particular question of mine.
The most common substitution for butter is coconut oil. Hands down, it is the most common and generally known. Also commonly used is vegetable oil and olive oil. But did you know you can also use avocado, unsweetened applesauce or pumpkin puree? In my research, it is suggested to use slightly less of the substitute than you would for regular butter. For example for every 1 cup of butter, you would use 3/4 cup of the substitute, let’s say unsweetened applesauce. But for coconut oil, the substitution is 1 for 1 (1 cup butter= 1 cup coconut oil). It’s not an exact science but the more you use these substitution ingredients the easier the change becomes. I plan to use more of these other substitutions in the future because, yes, I am always learning.
For this recipe, I went with vegan butter for the egg yolk wash and canola oil for the butter. I also substituted light agave for some of the sugar because it has a lower glycemic index than regular sugar. Let me know if you try out other substitutions and/or have other suggestions.
Making a pretzel
Once I moved out of the Philadelphia area 12 years ago, I missed my favorite snack and decided to start making my own soft pretzels. Nina was the first one to share a pretzel recipe with me and I am so happy she did. The process of dough making is pretty basic but being new to this, I definitely had some failures. My first problem was getting the dough in a warm enough area for the dough to rise (about 80 degrees).
Here’s a trick I like to use. After I mix the dough, I cover it with a tea towel and then put a heating pad (on high) over the top. It might sound crazy, but it works!
And my second trick? I got a bread maker, which is definitely worth the money. But I still do this recipe by hand.
I’m guessing that we have all seen the folks at the mall that whip dough around in the air like ninjas and end up with perfectly shaped pretzels. The reality is that it will take some practice. Try not to get discouraged with the shape of your pretzel. If you are more of a visual learner then check out some Youtube videos to help you out. However, if the struggle is just too real, just cut them into pretzel bites. Everyone loves a bite sized snack.
My daughter’s favorite way to eat them is with cinnamon sugar. To do this, just omit the salt before baking. When you take the pretzels out of the oven and while they are still warm, just brush on another coat of vegan butter and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. I always reserve a few plain ones just for her.
I know this recipe may seem time consuming but, I assure you, our vegan soft pretzels are so worth the wait. These pretzels go quickly in my house because let’s face it : Who can resist a warm soft pretzel?
If you enjoy the satisfaction of homemade bread try our
and Easy Homemade Hummus too