Quarantine Pretzel Bites


Unlike most of you bloggers during our world-wide quarantine, I haven’t been baking cakes and pies and sweets and treats. Mostly that’s because I’m not a baker. I can bake yeasted bread in my sleep, but bread isn’t what I wanted to create in my kitchen during my isolation. I cooked instead.

But one day I was looking through my pantry and came across pretzel salt that I bought years ago, with the anticipation of making pretzel bites for the first time. So here I am getting on the baking bandwagon, although still a savory one.

I googled for a recipe, and found one from King Arthur Flour, which is a wonderful U.S. company that sells just about everything with which you need to bake. So I assumed it was a good recipe.

Turns out, my pretzel salt was from King Arthur Flour!

From the King Arthur Flour website, “You know the chewy texture and distinctive “street vendor pretzel” flavor you get in pretzels bought hot from a pushcart in the city? These bite-sized pretzels, in either a sweet or classic salty version, are a wonderful made-at-home take on those metro-style treats.”

Pretzel Bites
Recipe from King Arthur Flour

Pretzel dough:
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*
* 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.

1 cup (227g) boiling water
2 tablespoons (28g) baking soda
Coarse, kosher or pretzel salt
6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted

To make dough by hand, or with a mixer: Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl, and beat until well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it’s soft, smooth, and quite slack. Flour the dough and place it in a bag, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

My yeast is not instant, so I prepped my yeast first, then continued with the remaining dough ingredients.

While the dough is resting, prepare the topping: Combine the boiling water and 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.

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. Cut each rope crosswise into about 12 pieces.

Pour the cooled baking soda solution into a pan large enough to hold the bites. Place the bites into the solution, gently swish them around, and leave them there for a couple of minutes. Transfer them to a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, and top with pretzel salt or sea salt.

Bake the bites for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and roll them in the melted butter.

Place on a rack. In you’re not going to enjoy them immediately, store the bites, well-wrapped, at room temperature. Reheat briefly before serving.

The sweet version of these pretzel bites involves sprinkling them with cinnamon sugar, instead of salt.

I’ve seen a lot of folks mention that they were out of yeast during their isolation period. I can’t tell you how long I’ve had this yeast – ten years at least. I keep it in the freezer. It continues to work perfectly, and boy is it so much less expensive than buying little jars of yeast.

These pretzel bites are superb. You don’t have to sprinkle on much of the pretzel salt because the saline bath provides a lot of saltiness.

The only thing I’d do differently is to raise my oven rack. Its default position is the lowest position, mostly because the 6’6″ man who installed it thought the oven “looked better installed a little higher.” He may have been right, but as it is I need a step stool…

57 thoughts on “Quarantine Pretzel Bites

  1. Great foray into baking, Mimi! I’m finding some lost and forgotten ingredients in my pantry as well. I wish I had that stock pile of yeast!

  2. I’m loving this method, all of my pretzel breads has me boiling the bread in baking soda water which makes a disgusting mess, a fine film of baking soda EVERYWHERE! The colour isn’t as deep as if boiled but I’ll take it! Definitely trying this recipe today. Thanks Mimi! Stay well. Stay safe.

    • Oh good! I have nothing to compare this recipe to, but it certainly worked well! Hopefully you saw where I needed to raise my rack level because there was too much browning on the bottoms of the bites. But that’s the only change I’d make.

    • Well it’s certainly worked for me for years and years. So I’ll continue to keep my yeast in the freezer. If I were you I’d make a double batch of these!

  3. I’m a big fan of KAF and a customer for a very long time. I get a lot of my specialty ingredients from them (wish they had flour available as none of the stores or Amazon has any). I would love to make these and I bet I have pretzel salt in my pantry. But I am rationing my flour right now… :)

    • Their specialty ingredients are the best! I used to get a lot of vegetable powders, like tomato and beet and spinach, for dyeing breads I made like tortillas and crackers back when I catered. And caramel coloring to make dark breads. I just don’t bake much anymore. No kids at home, no catering (phew!) and my husband has cut out carbs.

    • Yeah, I understand. Mine kept disappearing, and I was the only one in the kitchen! They’re really good. Make a double batch!

  4. These look totally addictive!
    I also keep dried yeast in the pantry at all times, so didn’t know there’s a shortage of it. But I did find it difficult to find flour lately, and have to compromise on type/brand. Hopefully things will go back to normal soon.

    • Boy I hope so! Getting groceries is challenging! I’ve certainly been spoiled having just about everything I need available to me. I can’t believe there was no sour cream in my store last week!

  5. Your pretzels look really good Mimi, I wouldn’t mind having some right now. I loved the photo of you and your Mom traveling to France many years ago on Facebook. My mom came to see me in the early seventies and she was all dressed up.

    • Isn’t that incredible? And it’s long enough flying to Europe from Oklahoma, but you have to fly from California. Can you imagine doing it in a dress?!!

    • I know! At least we know it’s not tainted with preservatives! I don’t freeze fresh yeast, in fact I haven’t seen that since I was a kid. If that’s what you mean… this is just dry yeast. But yes, this yeast is old, but it still activates beautifully.

  6. Little bites of joy those are. As we just got yeast, I’m adding your pretzel bites to my next Thursday bake day. I’m thinking they’d be good with warm nacho cheese dip.

    • Mmmmmm. Dammit. Now I have to make cheese dip! Kidding, I always have ingredients for anything cheesy! Have fun!

  7. What a delightful, comforting quarantine snack. I think I’d make a savory batch and a sweet one, and alternate bites. Why not? ;-) Valentina

  8. okay i am intrigued. the ingredients list for the pretzel salt is … salt. do they do something special to it? I occasionally buy a tin of dried yeast but i don’t use it much so i end up throwing it out. so it looks like i could freeze it? hope you’re keeping well. sherry

    • Oh definitely. You should never throw yeast away. Some people I’ve learned keep it in the fridge, but the freezer definitely works in my experience. I have no idea what they do to salt to make it pretzel salt! I guess I don’t have much of an inquiring mind, cause I didn’t think about that!

  9. I lived briefly in the near Philadelphia, where the nearby Pennsylvania Dutch have perfect pretzel-baking skills. I still miss those pretzels. And I can vouch for the sweet ones as well as the salty ones. I’m not surprised that the King Arthur recipe turned out to be a good one. I often go to their site, looking for advice, and I generally find what I discover there to be essentially useful. I’ll bet these bites would make great party food!

    • Definitely good party food. I don’t know why they are dipped in butter. This is one rare case where I don’t get the butter. But they are so easy to make, and so worth it!

  10. Those are lovely!! Very professional looking. And you’re so right about the yeast! I go on sprees of baking and keep a jar in the freezer but haven’t baked much recently. I think my jar is about 6 to 7 years old and still just fine.

  11. We have been making this in roll form, several times a month. SO delicious. I will definitely make these bites, as I like to higher ratio of ‘crust’ to bread. These are seriously good.

    • Well you’re a pro! I’ve never made them before! They are so easy. And unfortunately really fun to nibble on!

  12. These pretzel bites look absolutely delicious Mimi! Flour is in short supply in our supermarkets at the moment, mainly because everyone is baking so I’ll have to put these on my “must try” list for now. They do remind me of my trips to Germany too and the many delicious baked pretzel items to be found there.

    • There’s no pretzel that competes with German ones, although maybe in part it’s being there and eating them!

  13. These would be so popular in my house, Mimi! I love the bag of yeast, too! I have a little jar in the fridge, but I relish the idea of buying it once a decade!

  14. These sound absolutely heavenly! I LOVE pretzel bites! I have never had homemade ones, and I can imagine how amazing these must be. Need to give these a try YUM!!

  15. Mimi these sound perfect and tasty during quarantine! I love fresh pretzels but never can finish the whole pretzel. These bite size are perfect!

  16. I have been baking all kinds of breads during quarantine, for some reason I haven’t really been in a cake mood. I have never made pretzels but I am definitely going to give them a try they look amazing.

    • I never bake cakes or anything sweet, I’d much rather enjoy something savory. These pretzel bites are really easy. If you know how to bake bread you could make these in your sleep! The brine is really interesting and important, but the butter step.. not necessary.

    • I guess so! I hadn’t planned on baking during this time, but then I remembered I wanted to try my hand at pretzels! I’m still not doing the sourdough thing, though…

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