Spelt pretzels or speltzels (wheat free not gluten free)


I really dislike the Food Network show called Throw Down as I think Bobby Flay should say shove it and not be lowered to such humiliation, but somehow when I found out the challenge was soft pretzels, I failed to turn the TV off last night. I miss those chewy salty doughy pretzels every once in a while and have been doing my best to develop spelt recipes for all of my favorite things I miss. Luckily for me, spelt cooperates pretty well with a bit of a learning curve. I was already planning on making some in the future, but after last night, I knew it had to be today. A nice rainy thunder-stormy day, first sign of spring – the thunder storms melting all the snow far far away. I think we have had an inch already.  Edited to add: Before I go any further, let me add, that spelt is not gluten free, but it is wheat free.  Apparently some people with Gluten Intolerance and Celiac can eat it and some can’t.  I am one who can.


True pretzels require lye, which is not so easily found around here and is very caustic. I still need to see if the hardware store carries it (what my bread baking book recommends). So I was curious to see what they would use on the show – baking soda water! In Germany, where I developed a strong brezeln and Laugenbrötchen taste, the pretzels always have a dark brown exterior and a creamy white dense interior. Laugenbrötchen used to be my favorite morning brötchen with a little butter cheese, a thin slice of ham and maybe some jam instead of ham. German breakfasts are fabulous and ever since I have had no taste for the traditional American breakfast fare, although I still eat it and work on perfecting hash browns. All I need is a cast iron skillet with no sides and that one will be perfected.

spelt pretzels spelt pretzel with mustard spelt pretzels

So it appears that here, baking soda is used instead of lye. Probably the FDA making sure we don’t kill ourselves while baking. It worked pretty well, but I will be seeking out lye and working on perfecting the pretzel. For starters, I would like them to be a bit bigger and thought they would rise more than they did, but at this size 2 are a perfect snack with mustard.

The method is actually very similar to making bagels and really easy to do. Really easy to eat too!

Speltzels or spelt preztels

1 and 3/4 cup white spelt minus 1 Tbs

3 Tbs whole spelt

1 tsp yeast

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs water about 90 F

1/2 tsp sugar

1 and 1/8 tsp kosher salt

Mix water, sugar and yeast together and let them get creamy and puffy. Mix the flours and salt together. Toss them all in a KitchenAid and blend with the mixer paddle until it is together, then switch to a dough hook and knead until it is a smooth but slightly sticky ball. The key to using spelt is to knead it half as much, let it rise a shorter time and since it is so water soluble, use 1/4 more flour than regular flour or cut back on liquids by 10% (adding 1/4 more is easier math for me).

Knead the dough on the counter with just a little spelt flour until it is not as sticky and then divide it into 12 equal pieces, or for your normal size pretzel on the street and at college games, into 6 pieces. Let these rise, covered (with something non stick) for an hour. I put mine on parchment paper. Then roll into a log (at least 12 inches if you can) and take the ends, twist twice and bring them down towards you with the bottom of the pretzel near you. Put these on your baking sheets with parchment paper (and cover with oiled plastic wrap) and let them rise for another 1/2 hour. Then stick them in the fridge to firm up for a 1/2 hour or so to help them not loose their shape when you drop them in boiling soda water. Get your oven preheating to 400F and bring 10 cups of water with 2/3 baking soda in it to a boil. Place a cast iron pan on the bottom shelf of the oven while it is heating up. You will be placing about 6 ice cubes in the cast iron pan when you load the pretzels in the oven. This helps make a chewy, strong crust.

Drop the pretzels two at a time in the boiling baking soda water for 30 seconds, making sure to splash water on the top. I flipped mine over once. Remove and let them drain for a second (while on the strainer) and then set directly on the parchment paper. Once finished with the hot baking soda bath, mix one egg with about 1 Tbs of water and brush on the egg wash. Sprinkle with chunky salt of your choice, I choose Kosher. Bake until dark brown 14 – 18 minutes – likely a bit longer if you only made 6 and they are bigger. Let them cool as long as you can and then squirt your favorite mustard on top and chew!

speltzel with mustard

I learned the hard way (no pun intended!) to not put the leftover pretzels in a plastic bag and seal them up. The salt pulled all the humidity out and they got spongy on top and rock hard in the middle the next day.

I am in the process of developing a separate tab for all the spelt (wheat free) recipes. Hopefully all the Gluten Free recipes will go in a separate one, knitting in another and gardening will have it’s own tab too. Maybe. Or just one for spelt.

i’m out

Menu of the week March 24th: almonds!

Ginger Lemon Girl is again hosting this week’s menu swap. Swing over to her site and check out all the menus!

Sunday: Ethopian

Doro Wot from Saveur and red lentil stew on rice as my Injera bread did not work.

Monday: Classic French American

Grass fed steaks on the grill with bearnaise sauce (from scratch), tator tots (who doesn’t love a tator tot?), grilled asparagus and homemade easy Caesar salad dressing with romaine and croutons

Tuesday: Malaysian

Scallops Laska (a spicy tangy coconut broth with rice noodles and seafood) hum, still need a side dish for this one, perhaps…you guessed it: fried spring rolls!

Wednesday: Mexican coast

Fish tacos with tilapia, garlic, lots of red chile and lime topped with cabbage slaw, salsa, sour cream and some rice and beans on the side.

Thursday: Northern Italy

Orrechiette Carbonara with leeks and pancetta (instead of bacon) from April’s Bon Appetit and an arugula salad. I will be making some homemade wheat free, spelt (yes I know it has gluten) orrechiette for this one.

Friday: Spanish  Portuguese Caldo Verde

Potato soup with kale and chorizo

Saturday: Lunch: Irish

Walk to our local pub for a hard cider (Strongbow) and their Moriarty’s mug (GF potato soup with bacon and broth), time to visit the local restaurants more (now that we are not moving) and focus on walking to them, good for them, good for us.

Dinner: Lebanese picnic

Stuffed Grape Leaves with rice, pine nuts and grass fed ground beef and a feta, greek olive, tomato (tenativly as my guilt of buying a winter tomato may set in) cucumber salad with fresh herbs from the basement greenhouse. Ooh, maybe some homemade hummus too! Yummus!

Baked goods of the week: Ginger Scones (spelt based), ginger snaps (spelt based) and lemon bars with an almond based crust. I know you were wondering how I was going to work almonds in this week……

For things that are spelt based, I have been thinking about starting an additional spelty blog to post those recipes so that non spelt eaters aren’t bothered by it. What do you all think? Separate or list them here? How many of you Celiacs out there also eat spelt?

i’m out

Singapore street noodles and sunday brunch

Ok, I know I am a day late here with my menu of the week (see the next post), but I have a good excuse.

Saturday afternoon, my boyfriend decided that he wanted to cook brunch for everyone (8 of us) on Sunday. He started picking up my recipe books and started making a grocery list. Then, we went shopping. Mind you, I did not know what we were shopping for except for the items on my list. I only knew that he was going to make some wheat free bagels. So of course I had to make some nifty cream cheese spread to go with the smoked salmon I had on store just for that moment. Apparently we purchased groceries for about 15 different items, as there were other things that he wanted to make during the week. When your boyfriend gets a baking and cooking bug, you go with it. You do anything you can to encourage it. Be the lovely sous chef and make him coffee or cocktails, whatever he wants, just to keep him in the kitchen. It feels so great to have someone cook and bake for you!

While I was in the shower (so that we could go to the store) he made a batch of brownies. That quick folks, from scratch. So, while he was focused on what to make for our friends, I focused on what to make for dinner.

Singapore street noodles with shrimp and chicken. Thankfully PF Changs is in the habit of listing their main ingredients and these were the noodles I wanted to replicate, but not the ones with the GF sauce, rather the curry sauce (it had been several years, but I had that curry memory in my head….). So that I had to wing, my winging needs a bit of tweaking but it was pretty good.

Singapore Street Noodles for 4

Purple cabbage, shredded (probably 1.5 cups worth); julienned carrots (one carrot); chopped green onions (a bunch and 1/2) (whites and greens separated); one tomato de-seeded and sliced; shallots (4), cilantro (a good large handful); and marinated thinly sliced chicken(two small breasts) and shrimp (I used 14, don’t know why). I used brown rice vermicelli and soaked it for 5 minutes in cold water and then drained it. The purple cabbage was so striking in the stir fry, I highly recommend using it, but if you have green on hand, then use that up. I marinated the chicken and shrimp in garlic, ginger, GF tamari and a dash of curry powder (Penzey’s sweet curry would work great here, if I had the forethought to get some.). For the sauce I used GF tamari, toasted sesame oil, a dash of rice vinegar, lime, freshly grated ginger and garlic, szechuan peppercorns, some curry powder and chicken broth.

In a wok, I sauteed the chicken, then shrimp and set aside and sauteed the cabbage, shallots and carrots, and set those aside. I then tossed the noodles in and gave them a go around. Add the white parts of the green onion and the tomato for a few seconds. Then back in with the previously cooked ingredients, sauce, and add the dark green parts of the green onion and the cilantro, toss, toss again and then serve. It came pretty close, and I will keep experimenting to get that curry taste down pat.

Since blood oranges seem to be cheaper than ever, I have been stocking up. The blood orangeito was tasty. When I ran low on blood oranges, I began squeezing tangerines to mix with vodka:

blood orange and vodka blood orange and tangerine juice

So that was dinner. By this time, my bf was ready to offer up what he had planned for Sunday morn and prepping began in earnest. Here is the list of what we had all wheat free/gluten free of course:

Wheat free water bagels (from whole spelt) with plain cream cheese or my spread with fresh dill, red onion, lemon, capers and black pepper (all things that go great with smoked salmon) and pepper smoked salmon. Can I just say how great it was to eat a somewhat normal bagel? It was chewy and flavorful and they were fun to make.

water bagels from spelt dough spelt bagels after roasting

Ginger Daddies – giant ginger molasses cookies that tasted just like lebkuchen in Germany

Irish Soda bread

Build your own burrito with corn or spelt tortillas, cheese, breakfast sausage, eggs, oven roasted hash browns and New Mex red chile sauce.

Candied bacon – wow, is this a treat. We coated some of our own bacon with brown sugar and three types of red chile and baked it. Spicy, sweet, smoky, salty. Need I say more?

Maple Sausage links

Wheat free beignets with powdered sugar

Fruit cobbler made in a dutch oven on a charcoal grill

Mimosas with orange or grapefruit juice

Home roasted free trade coffee

And the brownies can’t forget about those…

Do you notice the lack of fresh fruit or vegetables? That is because he was in charge and he has a big sweet tooth. I was in charge of the bagel spread, potatoes, candied bacon, red chile sauce and frying up the sausage for burritos. He did the rest.

Did I mention this was a brunch? Guests did not leave until 7:30 pm! That’s right, by then it was dinner time. When I started to throw together some vegetable beef soup with lots of tomatoes (canned from the garden) after all those carbs, they went running. My sweetie collapsed on the couch. It is hard to drink home brew all day long! Once we finished one bottle of champagne off with mimosas, I wisely stopped drinking. They all powered through!

So my menu of the week is late due to the fact that we are entertaining fiends! I forgot to take any pictures! Now, to work on my menu…

i’m out

Menu of the week, hopefully and beer is brewing!

Gluten Free Menu Swap Monday - Rosemary

This week’s menu swap is hosted by Ginger Lemon Girl!

Once again I am attempting to get organized.

1. It makes it a lot easier to plan ahead and not spend a lot of time every afternoon thinking about what to cook that eve.

2. It saves on trips to the grocery store.

3. I have a freezer full of grass fed, organic beef and pork and that implies it is frozen. So, when thinking of what to make, if something is not thawed and it never is until I think of what I want to make, that idea gets shoved aside for something un frozen.

So, getting a menu together means I can take stuff out to thaw in an appropriate time frame.

Monday (today and since it is 5:30, I had better get cooking)

Indian: Pork vindaloo, saag aloo, paneer paratha and of course some rice and raita with that.

paratha with paneer making paratha making paratha


Greek: Homemade pitas and homemade gyro meat (with fresh rosemary, oregano, thyme and garlic) cooked on a rotisserie with shredded cabbage, sliced onions, tatziki and dolmades (dolmades made by WholeFoods)

red cabbage and red onion and sumac for turkish style gyros gyro lamb on the grill gyros slightly fuzzy gyros spelt pita


Grilled salmon with a mustard dill glaze, sauteed kale and grilled polenta


On the road will be stopping by Whole Foods for some GF sushi (it is great road food! ) and I keep a bottle of GF tamari in the car.


Chicken, style yet undetermined. We have three organic free range chickens in our freezer and must grill them at some point. Maybe it will get the Mexi rub, or roasted with chestnuts or blackened seasoning, herbs (Rosemary), garlic and lemon? Send your votes in and come and join us for dinner as I don’t like leftover chicken. We ended up with Coq au Vin and rosemary roasted potatoes and it was perfect for a very cold wintery night. This pic does not do it justice, but here goes (yes, please ignore the oven that really needs cleaning):

coq au vin roasted potatoes

ok, time to get working on my paneer paratha (1st attempt ever!)

One more thing, we brewed some spelt beer (all grain of course) this weekend and it smells so great! I named it Tolerant IPA after gluten intolerance and MLK day (different kind of tolerance). It is fermenting away in the dining room and things seem so quiet around here without the squirrels.

i’m out

Menu of the week or at least mid week

It’s about time I started doing this, so here is my first shot at it:

Monday: Turkish pide with meat and mozzarella (kind of like a folded up pizza with pita dough). We were in Chicago last weekend and my BF ordered this at a wonderful Turkish restaurant called Cousins. It looked soooo good and he raved about it so much that I attempted to copy it with a spelt crust. I made a great Turkish chopped salad with tomato, onion, parsley, mint, feta and olives (key ingredient is sumac for tang) and made some tzatziki or yogurt dipping sauce which I completely forgot to serve. End result: terrific, just add twice as much mozzarella next time.

Tues: Went out for drinks (margaritas) with the girls and ate chips and salsa with bean dip for dinner at La Senorita’s (a MI chain with no cross contamination of tortilla chips). Later that eve: Sourdough spelt loaf: I made this as I am in the mood for fondue and since I am GF, I must plan ahead for cravings and need a loaf of crusty deliciousness on hand. We have a new foodsaver vacuum sealer and this bread will be it’s first victim.

Wednesday : Cajun red snapper with bacon cheddar grits and roasted red pepper coulis – I made this with out the shrimp so that my boyfriend would eat it. Pretty good – I used corn meal instead of polenta and won’t make that mushy mistake again, ever.

Thursday: Cheesy potato soup with ham and pimentos. Pimentos you say…well I haven’t had this in years (perhaps 20), but my mom always added pimentos to her potato soup and I am in the mood for it today. We will be butchering our pig pancetta (ok we pack the cut up meat, we are spared the ending of her life) this weekend and I don’t really like ham, but this summer there was a nice smoked picnic ham with bone on super duper sale, so we bought it. Really, neither of us like ham that much, so I don’t know what possessed us. At any rate, with a 1/2 a pig on the way, I thought it would be ridiculous to have that in the freezer, so I thawed it, roasted it, took the meat off the bones and then cooked the bones and scraps down to make a nice broth.

Lunch today: Black bean soup with ham cooked in ham broth with roasted green chiles, the last not so ripe garden tomato and onions and garlic with lots of cumin and red chili. It smells great and needs about one more hour to cook, guess I missed the lunch mark on that one.

Friday: Hum, need some greens for this one. Ah, Creamed spinach – I need to test my recipe for this again prior to the big Thanksgiving day, the high holy day for cooks everywhere. I think I will pare it with some chicken marsala Elise style as we have some pancetta in the fridge. Ok, that is two creamed dishes, that won’t work. Scratch creamed spinach, substitute wilted swiss chard (still in the garden) sauteed with garlic and red pepper flakes.

Saturday: Will be up North traveling (likely this will include some of my brother’s free range chicken)

Sunday: Will be up North traveling and packing up a whole pig (splitting it with my bro and sis in law).

I know this will gross many of you out, but I was thinking of making some lard with the pork fat. I would only use it in tamales, but it would be great to have some, minus the cholesterol and fat. Do pigs have omega 3’s?

Time to stir my black beans (local from a friend that raises dry beans). A Pancetta blog next of my last visit to feed her garden tomatoes. Next menu posting I will try to just post the menu, no story line attached. I have to work up to this you know.

i’m out