I may have mentioned already that I love The Slow Roasted Italian’s website, haven’t I? Everything pretzel and buffalo, plus lots of sips and eats to warm the tummy.
I had originally intended to make this recipe Friday (when I wasn’t planning a new recipe and didn’t feel like cheating everyone), but the Homemade Hamburger Buns intervened.
Not to change the subject (at all), but I try to make sure that Muffin isn’t with me when I go to Walmart during midday to night because invariably I hear this plaintive cry, “I wanna prentz-ul!” And, to save the ears of everyone in the tri-state area, I tend to give in WAY TOO OFTEN.
That’s why I was super jazzed when I ran across this recipe by The Slow Roasted Italian herself: Soft Pretzel Bites. A recipe that requires no rise time (the only one I’ve found that doesn’t), so if you have your game on (and I didn’t), you can finish the recipe, start to finish, in 30 minutes. Seriously. I did not have my game on, so it took closer to an hour, but if I can hold homemade pretzel bites over Muffin’s head (offer Muffin the option of helping me make homemade pretzel bites, I mean), we might leave Walmart without shelling out the big bucks to Auntie Anne’s (yes…an Auntie Anne’s inside Walmart…that’s cruelty to parents).
We all got into the action making these, and, as I said, if we had prepared a bit beforehand, it would have gone much faster. I followed the recipe on The Slow Roasted Italian verbatim, but next time I would probably brush them with butter instead of egg wash for salting. The eggy taste was a bit prominent. We had these for lunch with pepperoni slices (I know; totally healthy, right?) and strawberries. Josh and Muffin ate theirs with cream cheese (Josh discovered the joy of stuffing his with cream cheese) and I ate mine straight up with yellow mustard. Here’s a picky of the yummy results.
Makes ya just kinda want one right now, doesn’t it?
Here’s what I did (The Slow Roasted Italian does mention options for those without stand mixers, but I figure you want to learn from my mistakes):
By the way: The recipe makes 64 bites. After about five, I started to get full. They puff up bigger than the pretzel bites at Auntie Anne’s. And, if you do butter instead of egg wash (since it would be difficult to half an egg), you could easily half the recipe.
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (I used the yeast from Sam’s. I have moved it to a zippy bag, so I’m not sure if it’s active dry or not, but it really worked.)
1 1/4 cups warm milk (110-120 degrees Fahrenheit) I put mine in a Pyrex cup for one minute in the microwave on high.
2 tablespoons honey (remember: local is best!)
3 1/4 cups flour (plus possibly more on standby if the dough is too sticky) I only used 3 1/4 cups.
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup baking soda
1 large egg + 2 tablespoons water (or 4-6 tablespoons melted butter)
kosher salt for sprinkling on the pretzels
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a half sheet pan with foil and spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
Pour milk into the bowl of the stand mixer. Add milk and honey. Stir. Allow yeast to much on the honey for 5-10 minutes or until foamy. This is something good for your almost-four year old to monitor and give you status updates while you set the rest up.
Fill a Dutch oven or small stockpot with water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. At this point either beat the egg and water together with a fork or melt the butter in the microwave. Set either aside for now.
Add flour and salt to mixer. Nudge it to the stir setting and allow the dough hook to work its magic until all of the flour is incorporated. After that, kick the mixer into speed at 4 and allow the dough hook to do the kneading for you for three minutes. At this point check to see if the dough is sticky (if it sticks to your fingers) or tacky. If it is still sticky, add more flour in a tablespoon at a time until it becomes tacky.
Remove the dough from the hook and the bowl and form into a ball. Use a pizza cutter or a butter knife to divide the dough into four equal wedges. Roll each wedge into an 18-22-inch “snake” or rope of dough. Cut this into four equal pieces. Reshape the ends slightly and divide each of those pieces into four pieces. You should have, after dividing all of the dough, 64 pieces.
Add the baking soda to the now boiling water. It will bubble explosively for a few seconds. Enjoy the drama at this point. Place the dough bites in the water, 8 at a time, for 30 seconds each. Evacuate with a slotted spoon to the prepared pan to cool.
After you have boiled all of them, arrange them on the foil so that they are not touching (with my trusty half-sheet pan, I just barely had enough room). Brush egg wash (or butter) onto each one and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake 10 minutes until the tops are delightfully browned. (The Slow Roasted Italian recommends 7-9 minutes, but I wanted a bit more brown on mine.)
Serve with your choice of sauce or mustard or cheese for dipping/spreading.