These soft pretzel bites from scratch sound intimidating, but are quite easy to make. You are going to be so delighted with these soft, chewy pretzel bites straight from the oven!
One of the kids’ favorite things about going to the Old Town Farmer’s Market here in Scottsdale is the Brat Haus booth that sells fresh pretzels. The pretzels are seriously good. They are soft and chewy and have just the right amount of salt on top.
I’ve been thinking about making my own pretzels for a long time, but it just seemed so intimidating. Working with yeast breads has been a barrier to me for a while. Really, I know that there is nothing to be afraid of, but for some reason it always seems so daunting to me. My fears of yeast nearly came true with this batch of pretzels. I allotted an hour for the dough to rise. When I went to check it, nothing. No change at all. Maybe I got a bad batch of yeast? Maybe it was too cold? (It was 75F in the house and 84F outside.) I had put the dough in a metal bowl, so maybe it wasn’t the best idea. Anyhow, so I put the bowl with the dough in the oven. The oven was off, and had been off, but it seemed warmer in there. Then I went to pick up the kids from school. Two hours later, I check the dough and it had doubled in size. Perfect.
After the dough had risen, I divided it into sections and rolled it into long, thin rolls, with about a 1 to 1.5 inch diameter. Then I cut it into 1 to 1.5 inch pieces.
Pretzel dough has to be boiled, and I wish I had gotten pictures of the process, but it’s so quick and I didn’t want to get flour and dough all over my camera. You have to add baking soda to the boiling water to make it alkali. This is what creates the gorgeous golden brown color of the pretzel crust. Be sure to add the baking soda to the boiling water slowly, because adding it too fast will cause the water to boil over.
Ready to try another bread recipe? How about this Oatmeal Honey Bread!
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Once the water is boiling with the baking soda, put some of the pretzel dough pieces in to the boiling water for about 30 to 45 seconds. Then pull them out, I use this, and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat. Repeat this process with the rest of the pretzel dough. If you want professional looking pretzel bites, then make sure the dough pieces don’t touch each other on the baking sheet. I wasn’t too concerned, and just put them all on one sheet, and it worked perfectly.
After boiling all the dough, which took about five minutes, brush the uncooked pretzel bites with an egg wash and sprinkle on some coarse sea salt. Then just bake in a preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes. When you open the oven your pretzels will smell amazing and will be a delicious, golden color!
Soft Pretzel Bites From Scratch
1 and 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 package of active dry yeast
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus some reserved
To Boil Pretzels
large pot of water for boiling
1/2 cup baking soda
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon water
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
*This recipe was made using a stand mixer
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 and 1/2 cups of warm water, butter, sugar and yeast. Combine with the dough hook, then let rest for five minutes.
Add the salt and flour and mix together with the dough hook on a low speed (2 on KitchenAid) until combined and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add more flour, a tablespoon at a time if dough appears too wet. Once combined, put dough on a floured surface and knead into a ball. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a dishtowel. Keep in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, approximately one hour.
After dough has risen, preheat oven to 425F. Boil a large pot of water. Once boiling add baking soda, a little bit at a time so it doesn't boil over.
Once dough has risen, break off sections and roll into long pieces, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Cut into 1 and 1/2 inch pieces.
Add dough pieces to the boiling water, 10 t0 15 at a time. Let boil for 30 to 45 seconds and remove and set on lined baking sheet.
Once all the dough has been boiled, brush with an egg wash of a beaten whole egg and a tablespoon of cold water. Then sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
Bake in oven for 18 to 20 minutes.
Are you ready to make your own soft pretzel bites from scratch? They are quite delicious!
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