Sunday, February 3, 2013

Soft Pretzel Bites

These take a lot of steps to make, but they taste wonderful and great for a special treat. I make the normal salty version and the cinnamon sugar version.



Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
nonstick spray, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel or sea salt

Directions:
Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then spray it well with nonstick spray. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate it.  Divide it up into approximately 6 equal portions.  Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out into a long rope about 1-inch in diameter.  Use a pizza cutter to cut the row into small segments, no longer than 1-inch each.  Repeat with the remaining dough.

 Place the pretzel bites into the boiling water in batches so that they aren’t overcrowded.  Boil each batch for about 30 seconds, stirring once or twice to submerge all surfaces in the water.  Remove from the water with a slotted skimmer and spread out on the prepared baking sheets.

Once all the pretzels have been boiled, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake in the preheated oven until dark golden brown, about 9-11 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with melted cheese, marinara, mustard, etc. 

Cinnamon sugar variation: Make the basic dough recipe as instructed, omitting the sprinkling of salt before baking.  While the pretzel bites are baking, combine ¾ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon in a small bowl.  Mix to blend.  In another small bowl, melt 3 tablespoons of butter.  When the pretzel bites are done baking and have cooled enough to handle, dip the top side briefly in the melted butter, then dip in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to adhere to the surface.  Gently shake off any excess.  Repeat with the remaining pretzel bites.  Let stand 5-10 minutes to allow the mixture to set on the surface of the pretzel.

Recipe source - Alton Brown and Annie's Eats

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