You may already know by now how much I love Alton Brown. He’s my foodie hero. I used to really enjoy his original cooking shows where he explains the science behind why things happen in the cooking process. Being a scientist myself, this is always the most interesting part of any of his shows. One of my favorite recipes is his Baked Pretzels which I’ve used to make these Baked Pretzel Bites.
I’ve made this recipe a few times before and have always just opted for the traditionally shaped, whole pretzels. My family has all stood around my kitchen nom-nom-nom-ing on our pretzels and saying how good they were as compared to even the pretzels you can get at the kiosk in the mall. They are delicious! But now over the years with our family gatherings, we have found that pretzel bites are just easier and quicker to make for a crowd. Anything I can do to make a recipe easier and quickly, REALLY pleases me! These pretzels are chewy, salty and delicious. You have to try them.
But besides the ultimate time saver, we discovered something else…the smaller pretzel bites offered us DOUBLE the opportunity for dipping (not to be confused with double-dipping — which is not pleasing at all). We get to dunk each scrumptious, salty bite of buttery, chewy pretzel into the warm, gooey sauce for more saucy goodness on every – single – bite. There’s nothing wrong with more sauce. EVER!
- 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
- Vegetable oil, for pan
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Pretzel salt
- First, combine the water, sugar and yeast in a large non-reactive bowl like that of a standard mixer. Let sit 5 minutes. Add salt, flour and butter and mix (using the dough hook attachment) on low speed until combined or mix by hand for 5 minutes. Then increase the mixer speed to medium and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl then continue to knead for 3 minutes or if kneading by hand, knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Spray a bowl with nonstick cooking spray and return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise in a warm place for approximately 1 hour, or until the dough doubles in size.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat and lightly spray with nonstick spray.
- After the dough has doubled in size, bring water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or small roasting pan.
- In the meantime, place the dough on a flat surface and divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 14 inch long rope. Using a pizza cutter, bench scrapper or very sharp knife, cut the dough into one inches pieces.
- Drop the pretzel bites into the baking soda water in small batches and boil for 30 seconds per batch. Remove pretzels with a large slotted spoon and place on prepared baking sheets, making sure they are not touching. Brush the tops with the egg wash and lightly season with sea salt or pretzel salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with Dijon dipping sauce.