The restaurant we’ve been ordering carryout from during the shelter in place order has been out of pretzel bites for weeks, and Maddie has really been craving them. So I decided to make some. This recipe looked pretty fast, so I went for it. And King Arthur is such an authority on bread making, I was pretty sure it was going to be good.
For some added flavor, I did use 1/4 cup of my sourdough starter.
I use SAF Instant Premium Yeast.
Add yeast to water and allow to hydrate for about 10 minutes.
And here you go…
Add remainder of ingredients to bowl.
And mix and knead for 5 to 7 minutes.
Place in an oiled bowl and turn once. Allow to rise for 30 minutes (here’s where it’s fast).
Prepare your water bath. I use a more traditional water bath than the King Arthur recipe but I’m very comfortable working with chemicals. This is 5 cups of water and 1/4 cup lye (sodium hydroxide). I purchase the lye here.
The lye bath gives the pretzels their signature slick brown covering and if you’re used to the smell of lye, you can taste just a bit of it. My parents always made pretzels like this so to me, that’s just how it’s done. If you’re not comfortable working with lye by all means use the baking soda method.
Some tips for lye: use gloves if you do not feel comfortable handling the lye. I personally do not because I can feel it if it gets on my hands and wash immediately. You may also choose to wear safety glasses, I usually do just in case of splashing (but if your pot is deep enough you should be fine). I do clear the kids and dogs out of the room when I’m handling it. If you splash it on clothes it’s probably going to make holes (that do not show up until after you’ve washed them).
Bring the lye bath to a low boil in a non-reactive pan (not aluminum!!) Cut the dough into 6 pieces and roll into about 12 inch ropes. Then cut into pieces. I used a bench scraper for this.
When they float to the top, they’re done, it should really be very quick. Scoop out with a slotted spoon.
And place on parchment paper. Sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake in a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 12-15 minutes until browned.
I served these with cheese sauce, and they were amazing!
King Arthur Flour Soft Pretzel Bites
- 2 1/2 cups 298g King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons 7g instant yeast
- 7/8 to 1 cup 198g to 227g warm water
- ¼ cup sourdough starter
- ¼ cup sodium hydroxide
- 5 cups water
- Add yeast to water and allow to proof for 10 minutes until hydrated. Add remaining ingredients and mix in stand mixer for 5-7 minutes. Place in oiled bowl turning once and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll to make a rope that is about 12 inches long, then cut ropes into about 12 pieces. Add sodium hydroxide to 5 cups of water in a non-reactive pan, and bring to a low boil. Dip the pieces in with a ladle, and ladle out when they float. Add to parchment paper and sprinkle pretzel salt over the tops. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until nicely browned.