Soft Vegan Challah Pretzels with Vegan Cheese Sauce

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup aquafaba
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil (I use grape seed but you can use any neutral oil you like)
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup hot water. I just use hot water from the tap, you don't want it too hot or the yeast will die, and it will not activate
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda ( This is for the water you dip the pretzels dough in before baking)

Cheese Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 cup water 
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teapsoon tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprkia
  • 1 teapsoon dijon mustard
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoons light miso paste
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar 

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large glass bowl mix hot water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon sugar.
  2. Let the that sit for 10 minutes to activate, or until the mixture  is super foamy at the top. 
  3. In a stand mixer  add the yeast mixture, aquafaba, sugar, oil, salt, and 2 cups of flour. (you can mix by hand, just mix the above, and add remaining flour slowly. You will need to knead it for the same amount of time. It's a good workout though!
  4. Mix until all of the ingredients are incorporated, then add in the remaining flour. I typically will hand mix the first 2 cups of flour in, or use my paddle attachment and replace with the dough hook when I add the remaining flour.
  5. The dough should come together and not be sticky, if it seems sticky you can add 1/4 more flour a little at at time until the dough comes together. Your goal is smooth, and elastic-y dough, not sticky.
  6. Let the dough kneed in the mixer on low/medium speed for 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth at this point and have a sort of  bounce back if you poke it.
  7. Form dough into a nice ball, and place in a lightly greased glass bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel, and place inside your oven turned off, OR on the bread proof setting if your oven has one.
  8. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and place in the bottom of the oven. The heat and steam from the water will help the dough to rise.
  9. Let dough rise about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  10. Remove dough from bowl and split in half.  Next, evenly divide each half into 8 equal pieces. 
  11. Rolling the dough pieces between both hands, form ropes that are about 12 inches long with each piece of dough.
  12. Take each rope and make a U shape. Take the tops of the U, cross then twist them once. Now bring the crossed dough over the bottom of the U. ( the pictures will help if this is confusing.)
  13. Allow pretzels to rest for about 15 mintues. While this is happening bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Once pretzels are done resting, add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the water.
  14. Add pretzels 2-3 at a time into the water for about 30 seconds. You will need to flip them half way through. Just use a slotted spoon and gently turn them over in the water. Return them to a parchment lined cookie sheet once they come out of the water. 
  15. Brush pretzels with leftover aquafaba, and sprinkle with some corse sea salt before putting in the oven.
  16. Bake pretzels for 15- 20 minutes. I normally move my top rack to the highest position for this. That way they get nice a brown. You will need to keep a close eye on them, and if they brown really quickly, move them to a lower rack for the remainder of the bake time.
  17. Once done allow to cool on pan while you prepare the cheese sauce.

Cheese sauce:

  1.  Place cashews in microwave safe container and cover with water. Microwave for 3 minutes.
  2. Drain water from cashews, then add all ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor. 
  3. Blend until completely smooth.
  4. Pour mixture into a pot, and cook on medium heat, stirring the WHOLE time with a whisk. 
  5. As soon as the cheese starts to thicken remove from heat. If it gets to thick, add a little more water and it will thin back out.

Cheese sauce will last about a week in the fridge, pretzels can be stored in airtight container at room temperature.

Yields 16 pretzels