So many of you asked about the pretzels pictured in my How To Start a Food Blog post, that I decided to do a spin off for you (the original pretzel tutorial is for a different website and I’ll be sure to post the link just as soon as it’s live). It’s the same dough, but cut into cute little pillows and tossed in butter, parmesan, and garlic. YUM.
These little pretzel bites are a fun appetizer for parties, served with toothpicks and a variety of dipping sauces. You can even customize the flavor coating to suit your tastes (cinnamon and sugar anyone?). If you don’t want to make your own dough, you can use a store bought frozen bread dough instead. The defining step that makes pretzels a pretzel is the baking soda water bath. The alkaline bath gives the pretzel the thick, chewy skin and that slightly bitter “pretzel” flavor.
Parmesan Garlic Pretzel Bites
- 1 cup warm water ($0.00)
- 2 tsp active dry yeast or one 1/4 oz. envelope ($0.19)
- 2 tsp sugar ($0.02)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided ($0.45)
- 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 1/4 cup baking soda ($0.11)
- 1 large egg ($0.21)
- Dissolve the yeast and sugar in one cup of warm water. Let sit for five minutes, or until it is frothy on top. Meanwhile, stir together two cups of the flour and 1/2 tsp of salt in a large bowl.
- Once the yeast water is frothy, pour it into the bowl with the flour and salt. Stir the ingredients together until they form a shaggy ball of dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 8 minutes, incorporating an additional 1/2 to 1 cup of flour as you knead.
- After the dough has been kneaded for 8 minutes, it should be smooth, elastic, and will spring back when poked with a finger. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover lightly, and let rise for one hour or until double in size.
- Once the dough is double in size, punch the dough down, turn it out onto a clean surface, and flatten it into a disc. Cut the disc into 16 equal sized wedges. One by one, roll each wedge into a long rope, about 1/2 in diameter (about 18 inches long). Cut the rope into one inch sections, and place them on a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment and lightly misted with non-stick spray (you’ll need two sheets to fit all the pretzel bites).
- Let the pretzel bites rise for 30 minutes, or until soft and pillowy. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, carefully add 1/4 cup of baking soda (it will fizz and bubble furiously for a moment, so be careful).
- Add 15-20 of the pretzel bites at a time to the boiling baking soda water and boil for about 90 seconds, or until puffed and a few begin to crack. Stir lightly as they boil to make sure all sides of the pretzel bites contact the boiling water. Remove the boiled pretzel bites with a slotted spoon and let drain on a wire cooling rack. Repeat in small batches until all of the pretzel bites are boiled.
- After the bites have drained for a few minutes, return them to the prepared baking sheets. Whisk together one egg with one tablespoon of water. Use a pastry brush to liberally brush the egg mixture over the boiled pretzel bites. If you want to make plain pretzel bites, sprinkle with coarse sea salt after brushing with the egg wash.
- Bake the pretzel bites for 15-17 minutes, or until deeply golden brown and shiny. Allow the pretzel bites to cool for a few minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir together the Parmesan, garlic powder, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. In a separate small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave (microwave for 20 seconds, then stir until completely melted).
- Place the baked pretzel bites in a large bowl and pour the melted butter over top. Toss to coat. Add the parmesan topping and toss to coat again. Serve immediately.
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How to Make Pretzel Bites – Step by Step Photos
If you want to make your own dough (instead of using a store bought frozen bread dough), dissolve 2 tsp (or one 1/4 oz. packet) of active dry yeast and 2 tsp sugar in 1 cup of warm water. Let the yeast mixture sit for five minutes, or until it becomes frothy on top. Meanwhile, stir together 2 cups of all purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. Once the yeast mixture is frothy, pour it into the bowl with the flour and stir to form a shaggy ball of dough.
Knead the dough for eight minutes, incorporating an additional 1/2 to 1 cup of flour as you go. After kneading for 8 minutes, it should be soft, elastic, and should spring back when poked with a finger. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover loosely, and let rise for one hour or until it is double in volume (like the picture).
Punch the dough dough, turn it out onto a clean surface, and cut it into 16 equal sized wedges. You can make each of these wedges into a pretzel, or cut them into pretzel bites…
To make pretzel bites, roll each wedge into a long rope, about 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut the rope into 1 inch sections.
As you cut the pieces, transfer them to a baking sheet covered in parchment and misted with non-stick spray. You’ll likely need two baking sheets to hold all of the pretzel bites. Let the pretzel bites rise for about a 1/2 hour, or until they’re soft and pillowy.
Begin to preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, carefully add 1/4 cup of baking soda. Be careful when adding the soda because it will fizz and bubble furiously for a second before settling down into a simmer.
Add about 15-20 pretzel bites to the boiling water at a time and let boil for about 90 seconds. Stir gently with a slotted spoon as they boil to make sure all sides of the pretzels touch the baking soda water. The pretzels will puff up quite a bit in the water and may even crack open (that’s a good thing).
After 90 seconds, remove the boiled pretzel bites from the water and let drain on a wire cooling rack. They may deflate a little as they drain and cool, but they’ll puff back up again when baked. Repeat this process until all of the bites have been boiled.
After the bites have drained a few minutes, transfer them back to the prepared baking sheets. Whisk together one egg with one tablespoon of water, then brush liberally over the surface of the pretzel bites. If you want plain pretzel bites, sprinkle with coarse sea salt after the egg wash. The egg wash gives the pretzels that classic shiny, deep brown pretzel appearance.
Bake the pretzel bites in the preheated oven for 15-17 minutes, or until they are deep golden brown. Let them cool for just a few minutes after baking.
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. Stir to combine. In a separate bowl, melt 1 1/2 Tbsp of butter.
Place the baked pretzel bites in a large bowl, pour the melted butter over top, then toss to coat.
Add the Parmesan mixture and toss to coat again.
Serve the yummy bites immediately. I’ve had these sitting out on my counter all day and they have stayed surprisingly crunchy!
Got any flavor ideas? Share them in the comments below! :)