Bits and Bites – Homemade Pretzel Bites (and Pretzels)

One of my first endeavors at baking with yeast was homemade pretzel bites, using this recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod. The recipe had pretty simple ingredients, so I thought it wouldn’t be too bad. However, I overlooked the part where you need to boil the dough in a baking soda solution. Now, if you made regular sized pretzels with this dough, boiling wouldn’t be too bad. But if you decide to make pretzel bites, well, that’s another story. This dough makes A LOT of pretzel bites. I never counted how many, but it definitely was close to 100.

The most difficult part of the recipe, in my opinion, was boiling the dough, then transferring them to the baking sheet, sprinkling them with salt, and putting them into the oven as fast as you could. That’s a lot of steps to do in a short amount of time. After making probably 100 bites, I surrendered and made regular pretzels so I’d use up the dough faster. Shaping the dough into pretzel shapes was actually a lot of fun. If you want to bake with your kids, I definitely recommend making pretzels. They’ll really enjoy it. :)

These pretzel bites were such a hit! My friends were amazed that I made them myself and several of them asked me for the recipe. If you’re in the mood for baking something a bit more savory, I definitely recommend making pretzels. They’re pretty simple and delicious!

Just a few notes: 1) I noticed though was that if you boil the dough in the baking soda solution too long, the pretzels taste a bit like baking soda. 2) When sprinkling the bites/pretzels with salt, add a lot more than you think you should. The salt falls off easily, so the pretzels aren’t that salty. 3) If you decide to sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar (like I tried), do this after they’re baked. If you sprinkle them before, the sugar might burn!

Soft Pretzels
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Coarse sea salt

1. Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined (or if you don’t have a dough hook like me, do it the old-fashioned way – by hand!) Let sit for 5 minutes. (I proofed the yeast separately, just with warm water and sugar.) 

2. Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.

3. Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

5. Bring the water to a boil in a small roasting pan (I used a pot) over high heat and add the baking soda.

6. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring 22 inches and shape. Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites. (Or shape the dough into pretzels!)

7. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches. Boil for about 30 seconds. (Make sure you don’t leave them in for too long!) Remove with a large slotted spoon.

8. Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.

9. Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating.

This post has been Yeastpotted.

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