I love when food gets miniaturized. It makes it funner to eat, it’s cuter (okay, maybe just to us girls it’s cuter — no guy would get caught dead saying that, am I right??), and not to mention, it can go in your mouth in one bite. Well, maybe you wanna refrain from that if you’re trying to impress someone..
I’ve been having really weird cravings for pretzels lately. Every time I’ve been to the mall in the past month or two and pass Auntie Anne’s, I’m always dying to get in line to buy one. They have great lemonade too that I’m a sucker for. When my brother and I were younger, every time our parents took us to the mall, our “treat” was a pretzel and lemonade from Auntie Anne’s at the end of the trip. I would always get the sour cream and onion pretzel and proceeded to get the powder all over my clothes. I’m sure my parents were pleased. Anyway, so I guess that tradition of getting pretzels at the mall has continued into my adult life. Even still, when I go to the mall with my parents, my dad always asks, “do you want a pretzel?”
So, confession: I never had pretzels with mustard before until very recently. I went to my first MLB baseball game two years ago with Jason and that was where I had my first pretzel with mustard. I mean, pretty standard to do that at a baseball game, right? Aside from hotdogs & beer. New found love: pretzels and mustard. So good! Where has it been all my life? Oh, duh, where have I been??
One of my kitchen goals this year was to bake bread. I should’ve clarified that more with baking bread & using yeast.
To be honest with you, I’m terrified of yeast. It’s such a high maintenance ingredient. I always hear, “don’t kill the yeast by putting it in too warm of water,” or “if the water isn’t warm enough, the yeast won’t activate!” Ahh! Warm water to me is relative. What is warm to me might be cold to you. That’s probably why the ‘standard’ is 110 degrees. ANYWAY. I wanted to conquer this fear and tackle the yeast! So, I did. With pretzel bites. I won. But I will say, I was in the process of throwing out the dough because the dough didn’t rise enough so I thought I failed but with my “what the heck” attitude, I decided to just go through with what I had to see if it’d turn out anyway, and YAY IT DID!!
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites
Yield: 50+ pretzel bites, depends on how big yours are
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
1 envelope pack of active dry yeast
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 1/2 – 5 cups all purpose flour
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 egg, beaten
Coarse seal salt
- In a liquid measuring cup, dissolve the yeast in the warm water to “activate” it.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer, add the water with the yeast along with the brown sugar and melted butter.
- Using the dough hook attachment, mix until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Add the salt and flour to the bowl and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium to knead the dough until smooth and it begins to pull away from the sides. If the dough appears too wet, add more flour, 1 tbsp. at a time.
- Before you remove the dough, coat a large bowl in vegetable oil then remove the dough and knead it into a ball on a flat surface and place the dough in the bowl. Turn the dough to coat it in the oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean cloth and let sit for an hour in a warm place, or until dough doubles in size.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a couple baking sheets by spraying them with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add in the baking soda.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a flat surface area. Divide up the dough in 8 equal lumps, about 4 1/2 ounces, each. Roll each lump into a long rope and cut the dough into 1 inch pieces to make them bite size.
- Boil the pretzel bites in the baking soda water, in batches, for about 30 seconds each batch. Remove them with a large slotted spoon and place them on the prepared baking sheets, making sure they don’t touch each other.
- Brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle liberally with salt (or if you prefer, you can do cinnamon sugar ones by mixing cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and sprinkling that on top).
- Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.
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