Soft pretzels always deceive me with how simple they are to make.
Even though I've made pretzels countless times, I always find myself curling my lip in disdain when I replay the process in my head. Then halfway through I realize I'm being whiny and that the dough really only takes a handful of minutes to prepare. It's the rising time, people. It gets me every time.
Anyway, this time I thought I'd simplify the process even more and make soft pretzel bites, a recipe I adapted from an Alton Brown classic that yields crispy, soft, golden brown pretzels every time. They make a perfect snack for Football Sunday, after school, or late-night carb cravings.
Go ahead and try 'em! I guarantee you'll be surprised with how simple the process really is. Also, dip them in chocolate sauce. Seriously.
Pretzel Bites Recipe
adapted from Soft Pretzels
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 cups)
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp water
Pretzel salt (kosher salt is a great substitute)
Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.
Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl, and coat the bowl with oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Cut 1-inch pieces.
Place the pretzel bites into the boiling water in batches for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula and place them on the baking pan, making sure they aren’t touching.
Brush the top of each pretzel bite with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 6 to 10 minutes. Check frequently to make sure they aren’t burning! Cool on a wire rack.