After my cinnamon bun post, I’ve been musing on what I can do with my remaining yeast packets! It doesn’t need to be used right away but I do find that if I let them go too long, I forget we have them and either buy new packets or end up staring at an expired yeast packet. So, I decided to go with soft pretzel bites- while a full pretzel will hit you a little hard on the calorie/carb side (I’m trying my best to stay healthy), this little guys will satisfy your pretzel craving while not being too much on the health side!
I decided to just use a regular soft pretzel recipe and cut the dough into smaller pieces rather than find an actual pretzel bite recipe (because it’s easier, quite frankly). Sally’s Baking Addiction is a gold mine for baking recipes and you can always trust her, so I decided to stick with her’s! It’s only got five ingredients, little sugar and salt, and no butter. I also was pretty haphazard with the pretzel balls- I rolled them for a few seconds, nothing more! I wanted this to be fast and easy. So, how’s it done, you ask?
1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) warm water (lukewarm, no need to take temperature)
1 packet active dry or instant yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon (8g) granulated sugar
3.75 – 4.25 cups (480-530g) all-purpose flour + more for work surface (or mix of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour)
1 large egg, beaten
coarse sea salt for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.
2. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir with a spoon until fairly mixed, about 1 minute. Some clusters of yeast will remain. Add salt and sugar; stir until fairly combined. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon 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 1/2 cup more. Poke the dough with your finger – if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.
3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes and shape into a ball. With a sharp knife, cut ball of dough into 1/3 cup sections. This measurement does not have to be exact – use as much or little dough for each pretzel as you wish – the size of the pretzel is completely up to you.
4. Roll the dough into a rope with an even diameter. My ropes were twenty inches long. This measurement will depend how large you want the pretzels. Once you have your long rope, take the ends and draw them together so the dough forms a circle. Twist the ends, then bring them towards yourself and press them down into a pretzel shape. See above for link to visual instructions.
5. This fifth step is optional: Whisk 9 cups of water and 1/2 cup baking soda together in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Place a pretzel onto a large slotted spatula and dip into the boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Any more than that and your pretzels will have a metallic taste. The pretzel will float. Lift the pretzel out of the water and allow as much of the excess water to drip off. Place pretzel onto prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the pretzels. Read why this is a good option here. But again, it’s not necessary and I did not do it for these pretzels.
6. In a small bowl, beat the egg and pour into a shallow bowl or pie dish. Dunk the shaped pretzel into the egg wash (both sides). Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
7. Bake for 10 minutes at 425F degrees. Turn the oven to broil and bake for 5 more minutes to brown the tops. Watch closely to avoid burning. I do the 5 minute broil no matter if I do step 5 or not.
8. Allow to cool and enjoy. Serve warm or at room temperature. Pretzels may be stored in an airtight container or zipped top bag for up to 3 days (will lose softness).
9. Make ahead tip: Pretzels freeze well, up to 2 months. To reheat, bake frozen pretzels at 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes or until warmed through. The prepared pretzel dough can be refrigerated for up to one day or frozen in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Thaw frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight. Refrigerated dough can be shaped into pretzels while still cold, but allow some extra time for the pretzels to puff up before the baking soda bath and baking.
What I Changed/Did Differently
-I did not boil them before inserting them, so I did the broil! My broil was closer to 3 minutes than 5. (If they were actually pretzels, I would do the boiling thing, but not with 25 little dough balls to dip!)
-I am going to use a brush to egg wash only the top of the pretzels, the bottoms came closer to burning (but didn’t burn) because of the egg on the bottom!
This is an easy and straight forward recipe- I think I clocked in start to finish at 28 minutes total! I have some pretzel bites for snacks at work now, and I’ve used up some of my yeast- win win in my books. If you take it to a party, I’d recommended grabbing some queso cheese (á la the mall cheese), these won’t disappoint! I have a potluck in a few weeks and I definitely plan on bringing them. I hadn’t made soft pretzels in probably three years, and it’s lovely to get back into the swing of things!
What are your favourite potluck snack recipes?