Apr 4, 2011

Make Ahead Monday-Pretzel Bites

I don't know about where you live but in every mall around me you can find a soft pretzel shop that practically sucks you in every time you walk by.  You may not even be craving a pretzel but one sniff of those soft and buttery creations and you find yourself in line (I am speaking from experience of course).  Well I was craving pretzels the other day and have previously made pretzels but I decided to try something new to create a snack my family could eat today and also down the road: pretzel bites.  The thing about making your own soft pretzels is that they are not good a few hours after making them-they are something that needs to be made and eaten relatively quickly.  So even if you wanted to have some for another day you can't just whip up a huge batch and save them.  You can however freeze them and bake them later, and that is just what I did. 
First lets start with the recipe: (this recipe makes enough pretzel bites to feed a family of 4 in one sitting-if they are all very hungry)
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour (I actually used 2 cups all purpose flour and one cup whole wheat flour.  I also added 1 1/2 tsp gluten enhancer because of the whole wheat flour)
1 pkg or 3 tsp of QUICK RISE yeast (make sure you check that you are using the right kind of yeast.  A regular yeast will mean you will need to let this dough rise differently.  Quick rise yeast is the way to go)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
2 tbsp canola oil
2 quarts water
1/3 cup baking soda
1 egg white slightly beaten
coarse salt

In a large mixing bowl combine 1 1/4 cups flour (if using gluten enhancer add it too), yeast, sugar and salt; mix well.  Add very warm water (120-130 F) and oil to flour mixture.  Blend until moistened; beat 3 mins at medium speed.  Add remaining flour and mix to form a stiff dough (stiff means not real sticky but it doesn't mean hard as a rock so don't get carried away adding flour.  I found that 3 cups was perfect).  Continue mixing (if using a Bosch or Kitchen Aid) for 5-8 minutes (or knead by hand).  Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top of the dough (put a little bit of oil in the bottom of a bowl, spread it all around, place your dough in the bowl, then using your hand turn it and flip the oiled side up to the top).  Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and place in a warm place to rise until light and doubled (about 30 minutes).  (I put mine in the window in the sun.  It took almost exactly 30 minutes).
Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly (and this means very lightly) floured surface. Now is where we are straying from the recipe instructions to my instructions. 
Break off a ball of dough about enough to fit in the palm of your hand.  Roll into a snake like piece about an inch thick.  Cut into sections with a knife or scraper.
 Place all your pieces on a lightly floured surface (but don't cover them) to rise for 10 minutes (or until puffy).
 Here they are all puffed up.
 Preheat your oven to 425F.  Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan. 
 Place pretzel bites into the water (I did about 10 at a time).  Boil  for about 10 seconds on each side (if you boil a bit longer don't worry-just don't leave em in there for like a minute and just make sure you flip em).
 Remove from boiling water with a slotted spoon and allow to drip drain for a second then place onto a greased cookie sheet (or one lined with parchment and lightly greased).  Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
 Brush with egg white and then sprinkle with salt (or you could use cinnamon and sugar or have them plain). NOTE: after getting these out of the freezer my salt seemed to have disappeared so beware and perhaps save the salting until you are ready to eat them.  Now if you want to freeze some for later this is where you would do that.  Place the whole cookie sheet in your freezer.  Leave the cookie sheet in there until the pretzels are frozen solid, then transfer into storage bags or containers.  Store in the freezer.
 When you are ready to eat some, remove them from the freezer, place them on a cookie sheet and allow them to thaw completely  then bake at 425 until they are golden brown (15-20 minutes).  If you are baking these directly after boiling them then you will want to place the whole pan in the oven for about 12-15 minutes.
 After baking I melted some butter in a large bowl and tossed a handful of pretzel bites at a time.  You could also add salt after you have done the butter toss.
 Here they are ready to eat.
Even if you don't want to make these in advance and freeze them, the whole process is really not that complicated and the taste is totally worth every second.  Enjoy!!!
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  1. I am new to your blog,but I'm so glad I found it! I really enjoy all things you post about!!!

  2. I am logging this in my brain for future reference. 1 more thing I can add to my list of freezer meals/snacks. Love it!

  3. Just finished making these. YUMMMMM! I didn't use wheat flour b/c I didn't have gluten enhancer on hand. I love being able to make these myself (have always been intimated before seeing your tut). My 3 year old daughter totally associates the mall w/soft pretzel and then that becomes lunch!

    PS.. Hubby just told me how good they are (I baked some and froze some).

    Thank you so much for your fabulous tutorial and for sharing!

  4. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!


  5. I saw this post a month ago and wanted to make them ever since. We finally made them last weekend and they were so good! I did freeze some and they seemed to "deflate" a little in the freezer. Is that normal? I am about to cook the previously frozen batch, so hopefully they turn out. Thanks for posting this. Now I might be able to say no to my daughter (and myself) next time we are at the mall.:)


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