Saturday, January 4, 2014

delicious pretzel time recipe!

we had a visit from hercules here on long island.  i still want to know who the hell decided we had to name winter storms? 

it snowed thursday night into friday morning.  awesome husband's job wanted him to come in, but for like five hours.  and it would have taken him two to get there and back.  and he already made his money for the week.  so he stayed home.

he was home A LOT this week.  he was off last weekend.  he worked monday.  he was off tuesday because he made the most hours for the company last week so he won a contest for a paid day off.  he was off wednesday for new year's day.  he worked thursday.  he didn't go in yesterday because of the storm.  and he's off today and tomorrow.  


which mean i have to entertain him.  well, not so much 'entertain' him, but he hates sitting around watching television and doing nothing (i.e.: what i do all the time when i'm not working or interning).    we ended up playing some video games together and baking.  it was a good day to bake.  what did we make?


yup.  awesome husband @_antgas and i made pretzel bites.  they were fucking delicious.  we ate all of them.  ALL OF THEM.  i then ate a small salad for dinner because pretzels are not calorie-free, regardless of what i'd like to think.  even if they're not freshly made soft pretzels, i really love pretzels.  they are definitely my go-to snack.

my traditional american family holiday (christmas) gift from my dad made this all possible.  revdadbob came through with a 6 quart kitchen aid stand mixer.  i've been wanting to bake more but my hands hurt too much.  even mixing chocolate chips in cookie mix is very hard for me.  now?  not so much.

thanks, dad!
so we broke that shit out and got to baking.  

delicious fucking pretzel bites*

*you can rename this recipe if necessary.


  • 1 1/8 cups of water, heated to appropriate temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 quarts water to boil
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • some butter and coarse salt 
be sure to check your yeast for the best temperature to bloom.  baking with yeast can seem daunting but it's not that hard if you follow the directions.  i followed some instructions i found online stating the water should be between 70º and 80º, but my yeast wasn't blooming.  i read the packet and it had a different temperature.  so my yeast took a long time to bloom, and it didn't get as frothy as i would have liked.  the taste was still good.  so, you know.  your mileage may vary.

1.  get your water and get it to the right temperature.  if you're using a metal bowl like me, prewarm it by running hot water in it so the bowl isn't so cold.  if it's cold, it lowers the temperature of the water.  yeast are super particular about crap like that.  i used filtered tap water and a digital food thermometer to get to 78º (which was too freaking cool but whatever.  don't make the same mistakes i do).  

2.  add in the brown sugar.  yeast likes to eat sugar.  this should help the proofing and it also makes the pretzels yummy yummy yummy.

me adding active dry yeast to my warm water
3.  after adding in your active dry yeast, mix it up until you can't really see the yeast granules any longer.  don't use a high speed - just mix.  i think i used like 1 or 2.  i didn't want to hurt the yeast.  i also covered it with a dish cloth and left it for a bit.  your yeast should start to bloom in about 5 minutes.  i like to watch it bloom because i'm a damn nerd.

take this time to marvel at the idea of yeast.  you purchased this little packet or jar in the dairy section and it was just a packet or jar.  you've added it to sugar and warm water and it's coming ALIVE.  yeast is ALIVE.  it is in there EATING THE SUGAR and being awesome.  life.  LIFE, MAN.
4.  i forgot to take some photos.  but after your yeast is all bloomy, dump in the 3 cups of flour.  i used whole wheat organic all purpose flour by king arthur.  they aren't paying me or anything, but i wouldn't mind being paid in flour or other awesome products :D  i have used it for pretzels, dredging, cookies - and we love it.

5.  if you are using a stand mixer, you do not want to mix it faster/higher than 2 with the dough hook.  four minutes should be perfect.  if you're doing this shit by hand, knead for about 8 minutes.

6.  oil a bowl and put the dough ball in it, turning to coat.  cover with a towel and put it somewhere to rise.  i put it in my cold oven - THE OVEN WAS OFF DON'T TURN IT ON.  you can put it anywhere cool and dry and dark.  leave it alone for an hour.

7.  after an hour, separate the dough ball into eight equal pieces.  roll each piece out to about a 20" rope.  you can then either twist it into a pretzel shape or cut it up like i did.
my dough rope may not have been 20 inches.  tough shit.

8.  while you are doing this, do something else i didn't take photos of - boil your water.  you want to boil the 2 quarts of water and stir in 1/4 cup of baking soda.  make sure it's mixed in, and try to use about 2 quarts of water.  too much more and the baking soda won't be able to do it's job.  too little water and you may taste the baking soda.  i don't know what job the baking soda does, i'm sorry.  but let it do it's job.

9.  once you have your pretzels/pretzel bites/pretzel rolls set and your water is boiling, you want to boil each pretzel thing for about 10-15 seconds.  use a slotted spoon to remove them and put them on a plate with paper towels to drain.

10.  grease your cookie sheets.  i used butter; you can use something else but i decided i wanted to make sure we had a nice buttery tasting soft pretzel bite.  

11.  put all your naked, boiled pretzel things on your cookie sheets; sprinkle your coarse salt on top at this time.

12.  put your cookie sheets full of naked pretzel things into a 425º oven.  my bites took about 10-11 minutes; i would recommend watching closely after 8 minutes.  ALSO do not put your sheets on the bottom rack - i have read reviews that this can overcook the bottoms of your pretzels.

salted pretzel bites and a couple of small pretzel rolls in the oven.  yum.
13.  like i said, keep an eye on them after about 8 minutes.  most of mine were a light to medium golden on top, and when i touched them they were soft with a defined 'crust', kind of like a bagel maybe?  it's hard to describe.  poke them.  feel them.  love them.

14.  melt a bit of butter (i melted maybe a tablespoon for all of these pretzel bites).  as soon as your pretzels are out of the oven, brush that melted butter over the tops.  

15.  eat the absolute crap out of those pretzels.

this is a plate full of pretzel bites.  they were delicious.

yum.  YUM.
i did not do anything other than salt and butter.  but i was thinking that you could try so many other things.  like skip the salt, brush with butter after baking, and dust with cinnamon sugar; use garlic salt before baking; make small rolls and stuff them with something.  you could even add stuff to the dough i bet - like chopped jalapenos, and then dip in cheese?  maybe?  i read something like that online.

and i think that's the best part about this recipe - it's a great base to try other things.  wrap the dough around hot dogs or veggie dogs.  make sandwich or burger sized rolls.  do whatever your crazy, pretzel loving heart desires.

and tell me if you liked them.  or share your pretzel ideas.  remember, i'm on pinterest, i'm on tumblr, and you can find me on twitter - @stephgas.  my goal is to have people i don't know share my recipes on pinterest, so please feel free to pin and link back to my blog.

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