Friday, January 17, 2014

{Recipe} Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites

One thing I've always wanted to make from scratch is homemade soft pretzels. So much so that I even added it to my 101 in 1001 list. When Lauren and I were hosting our friends for the Orange Bowl (Go Tigers!), I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to a) use my new kitchenaid mixer to make the dough and b) cross something off my list. Plus, mini soft pretzels make the perfect snack!

However, that will probably be the first and last time I ever make soft pretzels! The first batch turned out great, but the remaining batches, not so much. I think I needed to use a bigger pot for the baking soda/water bath, because it kept boiling over and the last batch of pretzels tasted like pure baking soda! I also attempted to make a cheese dipping sauce but with the arrival of guests and the distraction of the pregame show, I let it overheat and it quickly became inedible. But I will say that people were quite impressed that I made them from scratch (even if it did take all afternoon and left a HUGE mess in the kitchen)!

Soft Pretzel Bites
from What Megan's Making
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
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


In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead 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.
Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat and add the baking soda.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into a long rope measuring about 22 inches. Cut the dough into one inch pieces. In small batches (about 15 at a time), boil the pretzel bites in the water solution for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon and place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season with coarse sea salt. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating.
These are best warm, but are still good at room temperature. They are best served the day they're made.

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