Pretzel Bites

For some reason, I keep making these on evenings when I have a babysitter coming. This is not particularly smart of me because they are fairly time- and labor-intensive, and getting them done has stressed me out. On the other hand, they are really kid-friendly and tasty. And I actually do like making these; I just need to pick a different kind of night to do it. Also, the leftovers make for a great cold lunch.

I know that sounds like a mixed review, and, yes, 13 steps is kind of ridiculous. But they really are good, so good in fact that I am adding the recipe to Needs More Butter to keep it handy. :)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk (110–115 degrees F)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (plus extra to make dough the right consistency)
  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) instant dry yeast
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped ham or pepperoni slices
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • melted butter
  • coarse kosher salt

 

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and milk. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, and warm milk mixture.
  3. Stir until a soft dough forms. Add more flour as needed (up to 1/2 cup). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times, forming a smooth ball.
  4. Brush the inside of a large clean bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Alow it to rise in a warm, draft-free area for about 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size and bubbles appear on the surface.
  5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide it into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust a rolling pin with flour and roll each piece of dough into roughly a 12×4-inch rectangle.
  6. With the long sides facing you, place the ham or pepperoni and mozzarella cheese onto the bottom third of each piece of dough.
  7. Roll the dough as tightly as you can, starting with the long edge holding the fillings.
  8. Cut each roll into 4 equal pieces.
  9. Transfer the pieces to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let them rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes.

    Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

  10. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add 4 teaspoons of baking soda to the boiling water and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

    Boil the pretzels in batches, cooking for about 20 seconds each and turning once.

    They should look slightly puffed when they are done. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them back to the baking sheet.

  11. Cut the pretzels into 3 equal pieces — or thereabouts — going for bite-sized here
  12. Bake in the preheated oven until they are puffed and golden, about 15 minutes.
  13. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt
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