Thursday, October 22, 2015

Soft Pretzel Bites {No Knead}

Soft, chewy, buttery pretzel bites that are the perfect delicious hot snack! These pretzel bites would be a great addition at any potluck party or football game that you are attending this season!  The secret to getting the chewy exterior with the soft and fluffy interior is the baking soda water bath.  Just a quick dunk in the boiling water completely transforms these pretzels and makes them irresistible!

I made these pretzel bites for a Oktoberfest themed surprise birthday party that my sister-in-law threw for my brother. We had a great time celebrating his birthday and enjoying a yummy selection of German/Oktoberfest themed foods.  I think it is such a fun idea to throw a party with a food theme.  You might get to try a new food that you have never had before or it might just be a great experience to enjoy a lot of foods from one particular culture.  My sister-in-law made some delicious homemade mustard that was a beautiful compliment to these pretzels.  They would also be great with a cheese dipping sauce as well.

The recipe can be made into regular shaped soft pretzels if you prefer or another option for the bites is to stuff them!  You could try different combinations like ham and cheddar or pepperoni and mozzarella in the middle.  Just stuff the dough and make sure to seal the balls really well before you boil them and they will turn out amazing!

Make sure you plan ahead because this no knead dough method needs to be made the day before you want to serve the pretzels.  It is definitely worth the wait though because the flavor of the dough really develops and enhances with the long, slow rise process.  This recipe is especially great if you are new to working with bread dough and aren't too keen on the kneading process yet.  This is a great beginner recipe to try but can definitely be made by annoying looking to enjoy delicious pretzels!

Soft Pretzel Bites {No Knead}

3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp active dried yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cups water (approximately)

In a large bowl, add the flour, salt, and sugar and stir it all together. Add in the yeast and stir again to combine.  The reason you want to do it this way is because if you dump the yeast and salt in together at the same time, the salt can actually deactivate the yeast. If the salt is disbursed throughout the flour when you add the yeast, you won't have any problems.  Add about 1 cup of the water and stir everything together until well combined.  If the dough is still on the dry side continue to add water about 1 tbsp at a time until a firm - not too wet, not too dry - dough forms.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and set it aside at room temperature, overnight.  You must let this dough rise for at least 10 hours or up to 16 hours to allow the gluten to develop.  The long rise process is what makes it so this recipe does not require any kneading.

Additional flour for work surface
6 cups water
6 tsp baking soda
egg wash
sea salt or pretzel salt
2 tbsp melted butter

Once the dough has rested overnight, turn it out on to a well floured work surface.  Give the dough a couple of quick kneads/pats just to bring it together and then cut into about 8 small balls of dough.  Roll each ball of dough into a long snake.  If you want to make regular pretzels, twist the snake into a pretzel shape or cut the snake into bite sized pieces.  Preheat the oven to 450°F and prepare several baking trays by either greasing or lining with parchment paper.  Bring the water to a simmer in a large pot and add the baking soda.  This will cause a bit of a sizzle, but just give it a stir and it will calm down.  Add the pretzels to the water, in batches, and poach them for about 30 seconds.  Remove the pretzels to your prepared baking trays.  It really helps to use some kind of slotted spoon to remove the pretzels from the water so that you don't get any excess water on your baking trays.  Once all of your pretzels are poached, brush them with egg wash and sprinkle with salt.  Bake the pretzels for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Brush the hot pretzels with melted butter and serve immediately for best results.

Inspired by Bigger Bolder Baking

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