We are a pretzel lovin’ house! Hard, soft, dipped in chocolate or jalapeno cheese sauce- we love them all. I have made pretzel buns for burgers many times, and I’ve used this same recipe for traditional large soft pretzels, but pretzel bites are relatively new to me. Since I’m always on the lookout for smaller, kid sized foods to serve to my girls for snacks and treats I was so excited when these turned out as well as they did.
Pretzel bites pack a punch of soft pretzel flavor, but are a cinch to make. Don’t let the multiple steps scare you off from making these, they are no more trouble than any other yeast bread. Boiling them before baking ensures that they have the traditional chewy pretzel crust and the dense interior. To sweeten the pot even more, this recipe is very easy to double and they keep very well in the freezer. Just re-heat in the microwave or toaster oven for a quick and satisfying snack.
I’m a huge Alton Brown fan, so when I saw that he had a soft pretzel recipe on the Food Network website I adopted it and have been using it with great success for about 2 years now. I’ve adapted it to use in my bread machine so I can be doing other things while it mixes, but you can certainly use a stand mixer or mix this up by hand if you wish.
recipe from Alton Brown
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 package yeast
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- salt for the tops of the bites
Put the water, sugar, salt and yeast into the bottom of your bread machine. Add the flour and melted butter on top and turn it on to the “dough” setting. When the dough has mixed and risen until double (about an hour and a half in the bread machine), remove it from the canister and put it on the counter. In a large stockpot, bring the water and baking soda to a boil. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. Cut the dough into 8 even pieces. Taking one piece, roll it out into a 1/2″ thick rope. Cut the rope into 1″ long pieces and place them into the boiling water. Let them boil for 30 seconds and remove with a slotted spoon; place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
When all of the pretzel bites have been cut, boiled and placed on cookie sheets, brush the tops with the egg wash. Sprinkle with kosher salt and bake for 12-15 minutes or until a deep golden brown. Remove from cookie sheets and let the pretzel bites cool on a cooling rack for a few minutes before eating.
Here are some tips and tricks to making your pretzel bites turn out perfect every time:
- Make sure you drain off as much of the water as possible when you remove the pretzel bites from the boiling water. To much water on the cookie sheet can make the bottoms of your bites stick and/or be soggy. No one likes a soggy bottom!
- Try not to let the bites touch on the cookie sheet. Where they touch tends to be soggy because it can’t crisp in the high heat of the oven.
- Instead of using salt to sprinkle on the bites, use cinnamon and sugar, garlic, ranch or any other dry seasoning that you might enjoy. Be creative! That’s the fun part of making them yourself.
- Be creative with dipping sauces: cream cheese mixed with a little powdered sugar and milk can be a great sauce for cinnamon and sugar sprinkled bites while equal parts of honey and spicy brown mustard make a great dip for the salted ones. Don’t automatically go for the cheese sauce (although that is tasty too!), try a few different varieties!