Soft pretzels…they are like a little taste of heaven to me. I love bread, I love pretzels…and these combine the two in a really remarkable snack. No more stale soft pretzels for me…or for you. Make these. Pronto!
I have had a love of soft pretzels since I was a young girl. There was a little bakery on the way to school where they sold the enormous dinner-plate-sized pretzels for a quarter. I’d come home, more times than I can count, with yellow mustard on the side of my face.
Later, every chance I had to buy soft pretzels, I would. I ate countless soft pretzels (stale or not) purchased from street vendors in Manhattan; I’d pop into the food court at local malls to satisfy my cravings for them. I EVEN resorted to the variety from the frozen food section at the market a time or two.
Then, last spring, my friend Rebecca at Foodie with Family posted a recipe for soft pretzel bites. It was one of those *face-palm-I-coulda’-had-a-V-8* moments. I had not ever considered that I could make them at home!
Since that post, I have made these more times than I can count. And while Rebecca’s recipe *says* the recipe feeds eight? Well, she hasn’t been around me when I’m scarfing soft pretzels!
I’ll be making these again next weekend for my Super Bowl party spread…and then again any chance I get. Try them!
- DOUGH INGREDIENTS:
- 4 cups (1 pound 1 ounce, by weight) bread flour
- 1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder (preferably) or sugar
- 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup hot tap water
- 2 teaspoons SAF or instant yeast
- INGREDIENTS FOR THE PRETZEL BOIL:
- 2 quarts water
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- INGREDIENTS FOR THE TOPPING:
- 1 egg white, whisked until frothy
- Coarse sea salt, kosher salt or pretzel salt
- In the work-bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, salt, malt powder or sugar and yeast.
- Mix on low just to combine dry ingredients.
- With mixer still on low, carefully pour in the milk and water.
- Continue mixing on low until you have a smooth, soft, slightly tacky dough.
- Remove bowl from the mixer, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside to rise in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in bulk and puffy, about an hour or so.
- To Form Pretzel Bites:
- Line two 11×13-inch baking sheets with silicone or teflon pan liners (I use parchment paper). Set next to your work area.
- Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface.
- Use a bench knife to cut the dough into four pieces. Keep three pieces covered with a tea towel while working with the first.
- Roll the piece like play-dough until you have a snake of dough about the circumference of two thumbs squashed together.
- Use your bench knife to cut 1-inch pieces from the dough snake.
- Transfer the dough pieces onto the lined baking sheets, being sure to leave generous amounts of room between pieces and rows. They will expand both as they rise and again as they boil and bake.
- When you have dealt with all the dough, cover the pans with tea towels and let them rise in a warm, draft-free place until puffy looking, about 20 minutes.
- To Cook the Pretzels:
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a stainless steel or other non-reactive pan (enameled cast-iron, tempered glass, etc…) When water boils, add the baking soda. Gently lift the pretzel dough pieces one at a time into the boiling water. (You can boil more than one at a time, but be sure not to crowd the pan as they will expand as they boil.)
- Let simmer for about 45 seconds, flip the pieces and simmer for another 45 seconds-1 minute.
- Use a slotted spoon to drain and return each piece to its place on the baking sheet. Continue until all pieces have been boiled and returned to the baking sheet
- Roll all pieces of dough in the bowl of frothy egg white and sprinkle with coarse salt. Place pans in oven and bake at least until golden brown (at least 15 minutes), but you can bake until they are deep brown. It’s up to you!.