Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Soft Pretzel Bites

Soft pretzels remind me of attending baseball games, basketball games and fairs. I love a good soft pretzel - the warm doughy inside combined with a crusty, salty outside is just divine in my book. Sure, you can pop a Pretzel Time pretzel in your microwave for 45 seconds, but it just isn't the same as one of those big, warm ones that you buy out.

I haven't actually made my own pretzels before now, but I knew that it was about time I made a pass at it. And what better time than superbowl, really? You probably have all of the ingredients in your home and it's perfect for game days, parties, guests, or just a special snack. These were really easy and good - we ate so many that we couldn't fit our main course in. I also had success putting the leftovers in the freezer, just pop them in the microwave for 20 seconds or so and you can re-live the experience again :)

Soft Pretzel Bites (from Beantown Baker, originally from Bobby Flay)
1 1/2 cup warm water
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1pkg active dry yeast
6 Tbsp butter, melted
2 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 – 5 cups flour
2 quarts water
1/4 cup baking soda
1 egg, beaten plus 1 tbsp water
course sea salt for topping

 In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or dough hook, combine brown sugar, yeast, melted butter and water. Give a quick mix, then let sit for 5 minutes or until slightly puffy.

Add salt and flour to wet mixture. Mix on low speed, gradually increasing the speed to medium. Continue mixing until all flour is incorporated and the dough is pulling away from the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add additional flour until the dough pulls away from the bowl and is no longer super sticky. Transfer dough to a clean work area, knead by hand for 3-5 minutes, shaping into a ball.

Grease a medium bowl with oil. Toss dough into bowl, then flip to coat all sides with oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm location for an hour or until dough is doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large stockpot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Carefully and quickly, add baking soda.

Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and cut into 1 inch pieces. Repeat process with all of the dough. Make sure to keep the dough that you aren't working with covered with plastic wrap until you're ready to roll and cut it.

Take out one or two nonstick baking sheets. Whisk one egg together with 1 tbsp water, set aside. Boil 10-15 pieces of cut dough at a time for 30-45 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on your baking sheet. Repeat until all of your dough pieces are boiled .Brush egg wash over dough pieces and sprinkle with course sea salt.

(I want to note that the original recipe calls for parchment paper covered baking sheets. My pretzels stuck to them and I lost the bottoms of the first batch, so the nonstick sheet worked best for me as they just slid off)

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and continue with the rest of the dough.

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