Sometimes you just need a snack that's salty, soft and pairs well with mustard. Enter these soft pretzel bites. They make the perfect appetizer, game day treat, or really just an excuse to eat salty pretzels. You could easily turn this recipe into regular full size pretzel twists, but I made them into bites when I took them to two different parties and they were a big hit. Just the right size to have a few but not be committed to a huge pretzel. Although I probably popped enough of these delicious and doughy snacks to qualify for a huge pretzel, but that's not the point and really who's counting? As bites, these do take a bit more time, but they certainly aren't complicated. And the dough is super easy to make. Get ready for New Year's Eve or playoff football with these awesome treats.
This recipe was adapted from the soft pretzels used in my Pretzel Dogs, originally from Brown Eyed Baker. My adjustments were simply to remove the hot dog and portion the dough into bite sized portions before rolling them into balls. Then I treated them the same--boiling in a baking soda bath, brushing with egg white or butter, generously salting them and finally baking them up to perfection. These were a huge hit and they freeze well. Which is good since you'll get about 5 dozen pretzel bites from this recipe and they don't really keep well beyond the first day. But you can freeze off a portion and when you need a fix, pop them in the oven for 8 minutes or so at 350 degrees F and it's like you just whipped up a batch of perfect soft pretzels in appetizer form. And since the Steelers made the playoffs, I think I will need to make a batch and carve out some room in the freezer to enjoy these little guys on game days.
Soft Pretzel Bites
1 1/2 cups warm water (between 110-115 degrees)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 packet active dry yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons butter, melted and divided (may use egg white in lieu or 2 Tablespoons butter)
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
Sea salt for sprinkling
Combine 1 1/2 cups water, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. If using active dry yeast, sprinkle on top and allow to sit five minutes or until foamy. If using instant yeast (as I did), mix into flour.
Using the dough hook attachment on the mixer, gradually add flour (and instant yeast if using) and 1/4 cup melted butter to the water mixture, mixing on low speed until well-combined.
Increase to medium speed and knead until a smooth dough forms and pulls away from the sides.
Transfer dough to a clean bowl sprayed with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm area for about an hour or until dough has doubled.
Bring remaining water and baking soda to a boil in a large pot.
Turn dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface (or a dough mat) and cut into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope of about 24 inches in length. Cut each rope into 2 inch segments, yielding about 12 pretzel bites per rope. Turn the ends of the cut dough under and gently roll into a ball.
Working in batches, drop 6-8 bites into boiling water for about 30 seconds before moving to a parchment lined pan or stoneware baking sheet with a slotted spoon.
Brush tops of pretzels with remaining 2 Tablespoons of melted butter or egg white and sprinkle with salt.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until dark and golden. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks for 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 5 dozen pretzel bites.
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