Soft Pretzel Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (300ml) warm water, plus 9 more cups for step 5
  • 1 packet Red Star Platinum instant yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon (8g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) unsalted butter, previously melted and not scorching hot
  • 3.75 - 4.25 cups (470- 530g) all-purpose flour + more for the counter surface
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling
  • Kicked-Up Cheddar Cheese Sauce for serving

Directions:

  1. Whisk the yeast into 1 and 1/2 cups warm water. Allow to sit for 1 minute. Some clusters of yeast may remain. Add salt, brown sugar, and melted butter. Whisk until fairly combined. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon (or dough hook attached to stand mixer) until dough is thick. Add 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add up to 1/4 cup more. Poke the dough with your finger - if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes, then shape into a ball. Place in a large greased mixing bowl. I usually use nonstick spray to grease it, but olive oil works too. Cover and let the dough rest in a warm area for about 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  4. With a sharp knife, cut ball of dough into 6 sections. Roll the dough into six 20-inch long ropes. Cut the rope into 1.5 inch pieces to make bites.
  5. Combine 9 cups of water and the baking soda in a large pot and bring to a rapid boil. Drop 8-10 pretzel bites into water and let sit for 20 seconds. Remove with a spatula and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Make sure the bites aren't touching.
  6. Brush beaten egg over each pretzel bite. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake batches for 15 minutes each, or until golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and serve with cheese sauce or honey mustard. Pretzel bites remain fresh for up to 3 days in an airtight container, though they will lose some softness.

Make ahead/Freezing: The prepared pretzel dough can be refrigerated for up to one day or frozen in an airtight container for three months. Thaw frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight. Refrigerated dough can be shaped into pretzel bites while still cold, but allow some extra time for the bites to puff up before the baking soda bath and baking. Baked pretzel bites freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat in the oven at 300°F (149°C) until warm.

Recipe Notes:

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