Today, I finally made my 50th bread recipe this year! Overall, this was such a fun resolution I made. I am a little sad to have this be over, but at the same time, I am looking forward to a little more down time. Since I’ve moved, and especially during the last two weeks, the majority of what I have done is bake. With all the goodies I made at Christmas, plus catching up on my bread, I’ve put in some full-day sessions in my kitchen. I really, really like my new kitchen, but still…
The recipe for Pretzel Bites, has been on my to-make list for most of the year. It was always going to be my fall-back recipe when I needed to make bread but didn’t want something too involved, for when I didn’t need toast for a week but just needed an evening snack instead. I must have forgotten about the recipe at some point, or else surely I would have made it during the middle of the year at one of those times when nothing else inspired me. Luckily, something reminded me of it, and I decided it would be a great snack for New Year’s Eve, as well as an easy recipe to wind down my year of bread.
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour (10.5 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2¼ teaspoons yeast
- ⅞ - 1 cup warm water
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- Kosher salt or coarse sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- cinnamon sugar, for topping (optional, but why wouldn't you?)
- Combine the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, and warm water by hand or with the dough hook of your stand mixer. Knead until dough is smooth and soft, about 5 minutes. Dough will be slack, but should just clear the bottom of the bowl. Flour the dough and cover with plastic wrap; let rest for 30 minutes.
- While dough is resting, combine the boiling water and the baking soda. Stir until soda is dissolved, then let cool.
- After 30 minutes, turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 pieces. Roll the pieces into ropes between 12 and 15 inches in length. Cut each rope into 12 pieces. My dough scraper worked well here.
- Pour the baking soda water into a 9x13 inch pan or a bowl large enough to hold all the dough bites;. Place bites in the solution, swish them around, and let them rest in the solution for 2 minutes. As you remove the dough from its bath, be sure to let the bites drain well. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and top liberally with kosher salt or coarse sugar.
- Bake at 400F for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and freeze them, if you'd like.
- Brush with them in melted butter (or roll, which is what the original recommends), then add more salt or sugar. Toss with cinnamon sugar if desired. Serve immediately.
These didn’t have the usual tough pretzel crust that you usually get, perhaps because of the melted butter bath that I gave them. I tried a few without butter, and they seemed a little more pretzel-y, with a more distinctive flavor as well as a tougher, chewier outside. Brushing them with butter, rather than rolling them, would probably be a better way to go as hopefully it wouldn’t soften them up as much. The bites’ interiors were chewy, too, and I think they would be great for dunking.
My problems with execution – My dough was a little too slack (again), despite having added the minimum amount of water. (My flour must be holding extra moisture here; I need to learn to compensate.) This is really just an issue that they were flat and irregular, rather than pretty, round bites. Also, they were bitter on bottom because I didn’t drain the pretzels well enough before putting them on the Silpat. It’s also possible that parchment is definitely necessary to soak up the excess liquid and soda. The ones I hid in cinnamon sugar were, of course, great 🙂
I think I would be happier with the recipe if I’d made a better dough, drained the bites better, and used vastly more salt and sugar on the bites. All of that is my fault, rather than a fault of the recipe. This recipe is definitely worth me trying again sometime.