Soft Pretzel {Bites}
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast or 2¼ teaspoons
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • ⅓ cup baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt or kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Warm the milk in a saucepan or microwave to about 110 degrees. (I usually just use a finger test. You don't want it too hot or it will kill the yeast. Just a nice warm temp that doesn't hurt your finger.) Pour the milk in to a medium sized bowl or your mixer bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Let it soften, about 2 minutes then stir in the brown sugar and 1 cup of flour.
  2. Dice 2 tablespoons of the butter into small pieces and soften it (don't melt it!) Stir the butter into the mix. Add the remaining 1¼ cup flour and the fine salt to make a sticky dough. Turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead or just knead it in the mixer if you have one (use the bread hook). You want a smooth dough but still slightly tacky. Knead for about 5 minutes.
  3. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or spray with cooking spray. Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups of water in a shallow baking dish (I use a 8x8 pan). Set pan by the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Punch the dough and then turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 6 pieces.
  6. If you want to make 6 pretzels: Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands (using flour if necessary) into a 24-30 inch rope, holding the ends and slapping the middle of the rope on the counter as you stretch. Form each rope into a pretzel shape.
  7. If you want to make pretzel bites: Roll and stretch each pieces into a rope but instead of shaping into a pretzel, cut the ropes with a pizza butter into the desired size of bites (about 2 inches is what I usually do).
  8. Gently dip each pretzel or pretzel bite in the soda solution, then arrange on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the coarse salt. (If you are doing cinnamon/sugar bites, don't add the salt)
  9. Bake until golden, 8-10 minutes for bites, 10-12 minutes for pretzels. While they are baking, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter in a shallow dish (I use a pie pan). Set it next to a cooking cooking rack.
  10. Dip the warm pretzels in the melted butter then place on a wire rack to let excess butter drip off.
  11. If you are making cinnamon/sugar bites: roll the bites in a bowl of cinnamon/sugar mixture after you dip it in the butter. (about 1 cup sugar and 3 T. cinnamon or personal preference)
  12. Serve the pretzels warm with mustard or we like cheddar cheese sauce. Sprinkle with additional salt if needed. Makes about 60 pretzel bites or 6 pretzels.
Notes
The baking soda mixture is what makes the pretzels turn the golden color. Although you could skip the last butter bath, I highly recommend it! I promise it's worth it! And if I am making these for a bigger group, I usually triple the batch.
Recipe by Baked in AZ at http://bakedinaz.com/soft-pretzel-bites/