Soft Pretzel Bites
Chewy-soft, gorgeously browned, and topped with crunchy salt, these pretzel bites are the perfect coffee-table nibble for watching the game or as the opening salvo in an Oktoberfest party. You begin by making a straightforward yeast dough and letting it rise. Then you roll the dough into cylinders, cut into bite-sized pieces, and cook them in two stages: by boiling briefly in plenty of water that’s had baking soda dissolved in it, and then—after painting each with an egg wash and sprinkling with salt—baking. Soft pretzel bites are at their best while still warm, served with a bowl of Honey-Mustard Sauce or Whole-Grain Dijon Mustard for dunking.
For large-format pretzels, check out our Soft Pretzels.
For the dough:
- 1 1/2 cups warm water, 110 to 115°F
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
- Vegetable oil, for the pan
For boiling and baking:
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
- Flake salt such as Maldon, for sprinkling
For serving (optional):
- Honey-Mustard Sauce for dipping (recipe link in intro)
- Whole Grain Mustard for dipping (recipe link in intro)
- Cubes of Gruyère, or cheese of choice
- Slices of prosciutto
To make the dough:
1Combine the warm water, sugar, and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir to combine. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the liquid and let it sit for 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to foam. Attach the dough hook, set the stand mixer to low, and begin adding the flour and melted butter. When the dough comes together into a shaggy mixture, increase to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 4 to 5 minutes.
2Remove the dough from the bowl and onto your work surface, clean the bowl, and coat it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and sit in a warm part of the kitchen until the dough has doubled in size, about 50 to 55 minutes.
3Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper and brush with vegetable oil. Set aside.
4Bring the 10 cups of water and baking soda to a rolling boil In a large Dutch oven or pasta pot over high heat.
5Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto your work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Using the tips of your fingers, push the cut dough piece into a long rectangle. Starting from the bottom (i.e., a long end) roll the dough into a rope. Continue to roll until your rope is 12 inches long. Cut each rope into 8 equal pieces and lay onto the well oiled parchment paper.
6One by one, slip the pretzel bites into the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds, flipping them after 15 seconds. Remove from the water using a large, flat spatula. Return the boiled pretzel bites to the half sheet pans in a single layer, brush the top of each with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture, and sprinkle with the flake salt. Bake until the pieces are a dark golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving. If you like, roll up each pretzel bite with a slice of prosciutto, top with a cheese cube, and secure with a toothpick.
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