Party Pretzel Bites

By • December 2, 2010 • 54 Comments



Author Notes: I find the smell of soft baked pretzels so alluring I can never seem to pass one up, but then I always find them disappointing. Once you get past the salt and the unique baking soda flavor of the skin, the insides are often tasteless and styrofoamy. So, I thought, why not try making pretzels with an enriched challah style dough so the crumb would be flavorful. Yum! You can shape the dough as pretzels, but for a party I'd suggest cutting up strands of dough into little pretzel bites. It will make a ton!fiveandspice

Food52 Review: WHO: fiveandspice is a nutrition grad student whose cooking, styling, and entertaining we admire.
WHAT: Brioche-like soft pretzels in bite form. You can serve with mustard, but your guests may not even notice.
HOW: Have faith. By the time the dough has boiled and baked, it will puff beautifully, even if it looks a little shriveled along the way.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Making your own pretzels takes only an afternoon and a bit of attention, and will make you legendary.
A&M

Makes a lot!

  • 3/4 cups warm water (around 105F)
  • 3/4 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting surfaces, etc.)
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg white, for egg wash
  • fleur de sel
  1. In a large bowl stir together the warm water and honey. Sprinkle with yeast and let stand until the yeast is foamy (about 5 minutes). Stir in the butter, salt, and eggs.
  2. Stir in the flour until it is entirely incorporated and it comes together in a shaggy ball. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for several minutes, until smooth. Put in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place until it rises and collapses (90 minutes - 2 hours)
  3. Punch the dough down, and on a floured surface roll it out into 8 ropes, each about 3/4 of an inch wide. Cut the ropes into 1 inch pieces, separate them from each other placing them on a tray or baking sheet and cover with a towel. Allow to rise for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 425F. Bring a large pot filled with 8 cups of water to a boil. Once it is boiling, stir in 2 Tbs. sugar and 1/4 cup baking soda. It will bubble up like crazy! But then it will subside. Turn the heat down to a simmer and add your little dough pieces about ten at a time. Let them simmer for about a minute and a half, giving them a couple little stirs during the process to make sure both sides cook. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and put onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Repeat until all the little dough bites have been cooked in the water and have been placed onto baking sheets. You can squeeze on a lot per sheet, as long as they have a little space between them. Brush the bites with egg white and sprinkle with fleur de sel.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until they are a deep chestnut brown. Remove onto cooling racks immediately to cool. These pretzel bites are best eaten the day they are baked (very best fresh baked, of course), so I guess you'll have to do it the morning or afternoon of the party!
  7. Serve with a little bowl of mustard, blue cheese dip (1 cup crumbled blue cheese whisked with 1/2 cup mascarpone), or chocolate fondue.
Jump to Comments (54)

Comments (54) Questions (0)

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6 months ago Christine

We made these pretzels bites today but could not remove them from the parchment paper without leaving the bottom half of the pretzel. Why? I didn't see any other comments with a similar problem. Thanks

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6 months ago gingerroot

Hi Christine, was the part stuck to the pan a darker color - did it look dark and wet? I made these for Super Bowl Sunday and 96% of them were perfect and delicious. However my last pan (and so the last to be cooked in the water) had a number that were stuck to the pan. I think they were undercooked.

Sausage2

6 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I think gingerroot is right. The temperature of the cooking water can cool down as it cooks all those batches of pretzels, so they may have not cooked enough in the water, or the water might not have been hot enough to cook them fast and then they can get soggy, which might explain it.

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8 months ago Ned Semoff

So delicious! Definitely a recipe you want to try out.

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10 months ago mary-ellen

I made these today. They were perfect. However, my dough hardly rose at all. So much so, after reading the comments and no one had this problem, that I nearly threw out the dough. Decided to bake them anyway. They were so good that I had to tie my hands behind my back in order to stop myself from eating them. Does the dough really rise and then collapse? Was my yeast not fresh enough? So pleased, but want to know the facts before I attempt to make them again. Thanks

Sausage2

6 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Sorry I'm so very late to answering this comment! I only get notified of them sometimes, for some reason. Anyway, it's possible that your yeast wasn't quite fresh enough or that the temperature where the dough was rising was a little too cool. But then the heat of the water and the oven gave enough oomph to the tiny air bubbles that had formed that they expanded and the bread worked out. Collapsed isn't maybe the best term for what happens with bread rising, it's just one that gets used in recipes. It's more like the rising processing reaches a plateau. Though sometimes dough does rise and expand enough that after a while it collapses.

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about 1 year ago fellowworker

Look. Guys. Gals. Please. Just make pretzel buns out of this recipe! They are certainly fabulous.

As an aside, instead of baking soda in the water bath, take some baking soda (about a cup) and bake the hell from it at 250 degrees for an hour. Use your baked soda 1:1 like you would baking soda. It's slightly more alkaline, but not quite lye, and will make a deliciously hazel crust and crumb.

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over 1 year ago Wulffmom

I made these as rolls today for hamburgers. I split them into 6 parts (could have done 8), boiled them for about 30 seconds on each side, egg wash, scored the tops, then baked them at 425 for 20 minutes. They came out great. This dough makes such flavorful pretzels and I think they'll go great with a nice cheeseburger with lots of mustard!

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That sounds amazing!

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over 1 year ago oregon cassie

Planning to make these for annual Super-Bowl party next week. Do they stay fresh if I make them the day before? Looks like a single recipe makes around 80 bites??? Thanks -- saved this recipe a while ago, looking forward to them.

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

80 sounds about right. They keep alright if you make them the day before and rewarm them. You can also make them up through boiling them, and once they're boiled (don't use an anodized pot!) you can freeze them on the baking sheet overnight, then take them out, brush them and salt them, and bake them until they're nicely browned (I'd guess that'd be 20-25 minutes from frozen).

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over 1 year ago lllllllllllllllognedeprofileinger

i triked these and they taste great

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Fabulous!

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over 1 year ago mollycumming

Wow, these are fantastic! I made them today for a party, served without a mustard or dip, and they were a huge hit. Thank you for the recipe!

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Awesome! That's great to hear.

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almost 2 years ago Nuala

I would love to make these for an upcoming birthday, but don't want to spend the day of the party prepping. Could I make these ahead, freeze, and reheat? Or perhaps make them up to step 5, freeze, and bake the day of the party? Any suggestions appreciated!

Sausage2

almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I definitely think so. And, I think you could take either approach. They'd probably taste the most "freshly baked" if you made them up through step 5, and then after they'd come out of the water bath, freeze them on a lined baking sheet (like you would gnocchi) with space in between each, then once they're frozen solid, transfer them to an airtight container. Then, I think I would defrost them before baking them. I think it would also work fine to bake them fully, freeze them, and then gently reheat them in a warm oven before serving.

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over 1 year ago JulieBoulangerie

Yes, you can make these ahead (fully baked) and re-heat! I did 350 degrees for 10 minutes from frozen. I would avoid salting them before the first baking- the cool down has the potential to make the salt dissolve on the "skin." Maybe brush the frozen nuggets with water and sprinkle with salt before the warm up.

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over 1 year ago lllllllllllllllognedeprofileinger

yes you can make these up to step 5 and re-heat, I did and they tasted superb! I would brush them with a little more salt before you bake them after defrosted as freezing them looses some of the salt.

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almost 2 years ago meganvt01

I made these tonight for a labor day get together - they are a substantial effort but worth every bit of time and energy!!! One caveat - these are so good - your guests may fill up on them while gobblingly them up voraciously and or be hungry for dinner :). These would be amazing for a football game day spread. I can't wait to make them again! Thanks Emily for another great recipe.

Sausage2

almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Yeah, it's true, there's a lot of steps going on in these ones! But, they're so addictive, how can you refuse?! ;) I'm so happy you guys liked them!

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about 2 years ago Newbiebaker

Hey,
I have never cooked anything like this before but tried them at a friends and decided after eating about half the batch that I would give it a shot.
Everything went well but we had an issue with the cooking process. We found that one corner of the bites (big or small bite) took a really long time to cook.
I would like to try these again so I thought I would ask what potentially could have cause the problem.
My guess is possibly overworked the dough or I didn't boil them for long enough.

Any thoughts?? The cooked parts tasted amazing!!

Sausage2

about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Hi Newbiebaker! I'm glad you gave these a try, but I'm sorry you had this funny difficulty with them. I don't think that overworking the dough would have caused one corner of the bites to take longer to cook. I'm not even sure exactly what you mean by that - like all the ones in one corner of the baking pan or else one corner of every single bite? It could be possible that if they aren't getting flipped and getting cooked on both sides during the boiling process, then the sides that aren't getting boiled would cook differently. Another possibility is that your oven bakes unevenly and has pockets of different temperatures, so you could try rotating pans during the baking process. If the egg white doesn't coat them evenly, the parts not brushed with egg white may also give the appearance of cooking at a different rate because the egg white makes them brown more. Those are the thoughts that I have. I hope it goes well on your next try. And, feel free to give more details about exactly what happened if you want and I can try to give more specific thoughts.

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about 2 years ago Newbiebaker

Hey,
It was pretty much every bite and when I started looking at them (trying to find what I could eat) it looked like both ends where they were cut had a little bit that wouldn't cook.
It seemed odd because if anything I would have thought that it would be the center that would not be fully cooked, not the outside edge.. I am going to try again today.. will be more careful with the boiling and wee how it goes!
I am determined to figure out what went wrong and try it again..

Sausage2

about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

So strange. I can't at all figure out what would cause that. I hope it went better the second time!

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about 2 years ago a sage amalgam

thank you for this recipe. i just finished making them (adapted to make them gluten-free) and cannot stop popping one after another in my mouth. oh-so-much-better than the pretzels from the mall or freezer section (both of which I've [shamefully] missed), but still very pretzel-y. fantastic!

Sausage2

about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That is so great! I'm psyched that you're enjoying them, and so excited to hear that they adapted well to a gluten free version. I'd really love to hear what blend of flours you used actually. I have so many gluten free friends, and I always wish I were better at baking for them!

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about 2 years ago a sage amalgam

I use a blend of millet flour, garbanzo-fava flour, potato starch, arrowroot starch and xanthan gum -- it works for everything from delicate pastry to crusty bread. If it's ok with you, I'll post my version (changed flour, water, yeast and salt amounts, plus a chunk of the process) on my site (asageamalgam.com) in a few weeks.

Sausage2

about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That would be awesome!

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about 2 years ago fastred1

DON'T USE AN ANODIZED POT with this recipe!! The baking soda ruined our Calphalon stock pot and voided the warranty :(

Very not happy...

Sausage2

about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh no!!!! I'm so sorry that happened! :( I just looked it up now and did find that you should never to make pretzels using an anodized pot since it will strip the coating. It never crossed my mind since that's not what I use, but I'm sure if I had one I probably would have ruined it by now doing the same thing. Thank you for the warning to everyone, but I feel terrible your pot got ruined figuring it out.

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about 2 years ago Melusine

The Friend is eating these like popcorn as I'm typing this. We're on vacation at his brother's home -- without a KitchenAid or CuisinArt - but this was an easy dough to work by hand, and the results are seriously yummy.

Sausage2

about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Awesome! Glad to hear they were so easy without the aid of appliances, too.

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over 2 years ago Green Rider

I have these rising in the kitchen right now! I will offer several different kinds of mustard and also make that blue cheese dip you have suggested. Thanks for the recipe, I can hardly wait to eat them later.

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That's so great! Let me know how you like them!

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over 1 year ago LHK

I'm in the process of making these now and I'm not sure that the dough is actually rising! Will they still be edible?

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over 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Love pretzels, love bite-sized anything and love your recipes. Congratulations!

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks KB! Your various pretzel recipes are all highly drool-worthy as well!

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh wow! I'm completely floored. You spend 12 hours out collecting data and look what you miss... :) Thank you all and thanks to the editors!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Woo-hoo! Congrats on the wildcard Em! I somehow missed these the first time around but look forward to making and enjoying them.

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks Jenny! I'm absolutely thrilled to pieces!

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

Feel like swiping the screen pic! WEll deserved wildcard pick. Congratulations fiveandspice! Perfect, SImply Perfect!!,

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Haha, thank you SO much Panfusine!

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over 2 years ago Jessie G

want to make this wknd. looks so good!

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you! If you give them a try, let me know how you like them.