One of my favorite snacks since I was a kid has always been the hot pretzels we used to get of the streets of New York City or when we went to the ballpark. I can remember going to Shea Stadium and getting a hot pretzel that was made over hot coals in the shopping cart from one of the vendors outside of the stadium. Sure they were a little bit burnt but the smell and the flavor is something that stayed with me and I really enjoyed it. I have made pretzels at home before and while they have not been able to replicate that shopping cart experience, they have been pretty good. With the Super Bowl this past weekend, I was looking for a snack that we could make that would go well with the game and I came across this recipe at King Arthur Flour for a very simple pretzel bite that takes no time at all to put together. I actually did most of the work in my new bread machine, which I will write more about tomorrow and in the coming days with recipes that I have tried in there.
Homemade Pretzel Bites
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
7/8 to 1 cup warm water
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons baking soda
Coarse, kosher or pretzel salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted
To make the dough by hand, or with a mixer: Place the all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, yeast and warm water into a bowl, and beat until the ingredients are well combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft, smooth, and quite slack. Flour the dough in place it in a bag and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
To make the dough with a bread machine, place the all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, yeast, and warm water into the pan of your bread machine. Program the machine for a basic dough and press Start. Allow the dough to proceed through its kneading cycle (there is no need to allow the dough to rise), then cancel the machine, flour the dough, and give it a rest in a plastic bag, as instructed above, for 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, prepare the topping. Combine the boiling water and baking soda, stirring until the baking soda is totally or almost totally dissolved. Set the mixture aside to cool until it is lukewarm. Preheat the oven to 400°. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray, or by lining the pan with parchment paper.
Transfer the pretzel dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Roll the 6 pieces of dough into 12 inch to 15 inch long ropes. Cut each rope crosswise into about 12 pieces. Pour the cooled baking soda solution into a pan large enough to hold the pretzel bite dough pieces. Place the bites into the solution, gently swish them around, and leave them there for about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the bites to the greased or parchment lined baking sheet, and topped them with pretzel salt, coarse salt or kosher salt. Bake the bites in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until they are golden brown. Remove the bites from the oven, and roll them in melted butter. Place the pretzel bites on a rack to cool slightly. If you are not going to eat them immediately store them in an airtight container until you are ready to serve them.
The process was really easy using the bread machine, but it does not seem like it would be much harder if you did this by hand or with a mixer. The pretzels turned out perfectly with a really nice chew to them and they had that golden crunchy outside that you like to have in a pretzel. You could easily leave off the salt if you did not want them salted or substitute something like cinnamon-sugar or just plain sugar if you prefer to have a sweeter pretzel. The total time did not take that long, only a little bit more than an hour or so, so you can put these together for just about any type of occasion, party, buffet or snack that you might feel like having. I know I will be making them again pretty soon.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day, and enjoy your meal!