Pretzel Bites: a super bowl-ful

You know the chewy texture and distinctive “street vendor pretzel” flavor you get in those soft, chewy pretzels bought hot from a charcoal-grill pushcart in the city?

Sure you do. Maybe it’s the grimy pavements, the diesel fumes, the clash and clatter of metal grates and loading gates. But whatever the reason, there’s something about a mustard-slathered metro-pretzel on a frigid morning that soothes the soul.

Guess what? You don’t have to travel to Manhattan (NY, not Kansas) or Philly to enjoy this culinary experience. In fact, when you make these “pretzel bites” at home, you can enjoy their signature flavor and texture – without the racket. And the traffic. And the $3 price tag.

Better yet, even though these are yeast pretzels, you can have them made, start to finish, in little more than an hour. Now THAT’S life in the fast lane!

Getting ready for a Super Bowl party next weekend? Hike yourself into the kitchen, huddle up with your ingredients, and score a touchdown with these chewy, butter-basted Pretzel Bites.

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Combine the following in a mixing bowl:

2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
7/8 to 1 cup warm water*
*Use the greater amount in the winter, the lesser amount in the summer, and somewhere in between in the spring and fall. Your goal is a soft dough.

Beat everything until well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or electric mixer, for about 5 minutes, until it’s soft, smooth, and quite slack.

Flour the dough and place it in a bag; close the top of the bag. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes. It won’t rise a whole lot, but will spread out, as shown in the pictures above.

Want to make this dough in your bread machine? Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your machine, program the machine for dough or manual, and press Start. Allow the dough to proceed through its kneading cycle (no need to let it rise), then cancel the machine, flour the dough, and give it a rest in a plastic bag, as instructed above.

While the dough is resting, prepare the “soak.” Combine 1 cup boiling water and 2 tablespoons baking soda, stirring until the soda is totally (or almost totally) dissolved. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm (or cooler).

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray, or lining it with parchment paper.

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Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into six equal pieces.
Roll the six pieces of dough into 12″ to 15″ ropes; a very lightly greased silicone rolling mat is handy here, as it provides just the right “traction” for rolling: not so much the dough sticks, but not so little it slips.

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Cut each rope crosswise into about 12 pieces. A pair of scissors works well here.

Pour the water/soda solution into a 9″ x 13″ pan, add the pretzel bites, and slosh them around so the solution washes over them; don’t worry, they don’t need to be totally covered by the solution. Let them soak for about 2 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.

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Transfer the bites to the prepared baking sheet, and top with pretzel salt or sea salt; or with pearl sugar, for sweet pretzel bites.

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Bake the bites for 12 to 15 minutes, until they’re golden brown.

Remove them from the oven, and roll them in 6 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle any sweet bites with cinnamon sugar, if desired. Serve immediately.

If you don’t plan on serving the bites until later, let them cool on a rack (or right on the pan), then store in a plastic bag at room temperature. Want to freeze them? Go right ahead.

Just before serving, warm the room-temperature bites briefly in a 350°F oven; about 8 minutes should do. Roll them in melted butter, and serve.

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SUPER!

Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Pretzel Bites.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. K Thompson

    Just made these and they were delicious! I used unsalted butter (only 4 Tbls) and would even reduce this by 2 Tbls and not add any salt on top until baked (so if someone wanted to rub off the salt if too salty they could). Also really good dipped in nacho cheese (wouldn’t add butter or salt if we do this since the dip is salty and rich). So easy to make – took me less than 1 hour total. I used a stand mixer to mix and knead which worked really well and put some flour in a zip plastic bag (gallon sized) and shook around before adding the dough. Worked great. They were eaten by the family (we have teenagers) within minutes of out of oven. Would make a great dish to bring to a party with a dip (mustard or cheese).

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, Carol. Placing the dough in a plastic bag is just a nice change of pace, but if you’d prefer to let the dough rise in a bowl covered with plastic that is just fine too! Happy baking! Morgan@KAF

  2. Loey Krause

    OK, I gave these a try. we love pretzels. I hadn’t seen your pictures before making them, just used the recipe. I can see now that my dough was WAY too slack. It was more of a batter. I kneaded in some additional flour, but looking at the pictures now, it was still way too slack. I wasn’t able to roll the dough into sticks or logs, so sort of pulled it to shape and cut into pieces, which were too lose to handle, roll around, or even pick up. When they were done baking and buttered, they do taste like pretzels, but the shapes are more like sodden cereal too long in the milk. Is the flour to water ratio in the dough part of the recipe right?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Loey, the dough hydration is 66% to 76%, depending on how much water you end up using; this will produce a soft dough, but not as soft as you describe. Did you use King Arthur all-purpose flour? Our protein level is higher than that of other national brands, and our recipes are geared towards this higher protein level (which absorbs more liquid). Did you measure by weight? Those would be the two main possibilities for overly soft dough that I can think of. Give our hotline a call if you want to discuss this, OK? 855-371-2253. Hope you try them again and get better results! PJH@KAF

  3. Jill Brown-Charbonneau

    LOVE these!! They are delicious and so easy to make. I did use a bread machine and I used kosher salt, it worked out great!
    I will now make these for more occasions and anytime we want a snack! 🙂

    Jill

    Reply
  4. Pam Williams

    I made these this morning. I think I’ll omit the butter next time or just use half and maybe roll in cinnamon and a bit of sugar…..was a bit too salty….but i did use salted butter…..many thanks for the comments about using cold hand with olive oil on hands and on the scissors…saved the day for me…

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      For all of our recipes, you can assume it calls for unsalted butter unless the recipe specifically states otherwise. There is about 1/4 teaspoon of salt per stick of butter, so if all you have is salted butter on hand just reduce the salt accordingly. I hope that helps! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Pretzel salt doesn’t dissolve easily. I’m not sure if broiling salt would change coarse salt’s chemical makeup in that way. You can certainly give it a try! Happy baking- Laurie@KAF

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