Friday, February 19, 2010

Soft Pretzel Bites

I made these this afternoon to take to a playgroup. The whole plate was gone so I think they were a hit! The kids kept walking by the table and popping them in their mouth! You could make them into actual pretzel shapes but for the kids it was easier to make them bite size.

1 package dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour, divided
1 tsp salt
cooking spray
6 cups water
2 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp cornmeal
1 tsp water
1 large egg
2 tsp kosher salt

Dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm water in a large bowl, and let stand for 5 minutes.

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup and level with a knife. Combine 3 cups flour, 1 tsp salt and the yeast mixture in a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Mix until soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes). Add enough of remaining flour, 1 tbsp at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with olive oil or cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise for about 40 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down, cover and let rest 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425. Combine 6 cups water and baking soda in a nonaluminum Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer. Meanwhile, pull off a small portion of the dough and roll into a rope. Cut rope into 1 inch pieces or roll into desired pretzel shape. Cover while you continue to make the rest of the pretzels. Gently lower the pretzel pieces in batches into the simmering water mixture, cook 15 seconds. Turn pretzels over with a slotted spoon and cook another 15 seconds. Transfer pretzel to a wire rack coated with cooking spray and repeat procedure with remaining pretzels.

Place pretzels on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Combine 1 tsp water and egg in a small bowl, stirring with a fork until smooth. Brush a thin layer over the pretzels and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake at 425 for 12 minutes or until pretzels are deep golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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