Rye Soft Pretzel Bites

Lemme’ break something down for you….

I’ve been doing this cooking thing for quite a long time now. Long enough to know what’s good, what’s great, and whats MEH (just ok).  For example, I have a slew of holiday cookies that are all-around good and unique in their own way. I also have a few KNOCKOUT, drop your jaw, can’t live without the recipe kind of cookies. There’s a difference!

What does this all have to do with pretzels??

Have you ever gone to the mall JUST to get a soft pretzel? {Tell me there are others out there….}

Well, that’s been me more times then I care to count. But not all pretzels are created equal! If I see a warm pretzel carousel…I pass right on by. Golden pretzels taking a tour in a revolving desert-like chamber….no thanks! What used to be a soft pretzel, has now turned into a taut, dry skinned pretzel with a chewy center.

On the other hand, there are several mall pretzel chain stores that produce those soft, slightly chewy, buttery pretzels that seem to have some type of mind control over me! So several years ago, I started making my own and have never looked back. I slowly tweaked the recipe, changing flours, adding butter, and changing ratios until I came up with, what I thought, was my end product and pretzel of choice.

WRONG!

The other day I decided to teach my son how to make soft pretzels and decided to change things up a little.

My 11 year old, bless his heart,  has the attention span of a tsetse fly… He’s super helpful for a about ten minutes and then BUZZZZZZ off to something else. Bites would be much better this first pretzel go around, than learning to shape the typical pretzels. I’ll conquer that one later. :)

I decided to mix and match some flours to see if I could create a little more flavor than the standard all-purpose offers. After settling on a mixture of bread flour and rye flour…we were off!

{These are the best darn pretzel bites I have ever popped into my mouth…just in case your were thinking about leaving}

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water

1 package dry yeast

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

3 cups bread flour

1 1/2 cups rye flour

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

10 cups water

2/3 cup baking soda (yes you read that right)

additional melted butter (I used almost an entire stick)

sea salt

Directions:

Start by proofing your yeast. In a large measuring glass or bowl, combine the water, sugar, and yeast. Mix with a fork until the yeast is incorporated and then let it set for 5 minutes.

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He is FAR cuter than a tsetse fly is he not? NONETHELESS….start the ten minute timer!

Measure out your flours….

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Assemble the flour, butter, salt, and yeast mixture around your mixer.

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Pour the yeast mixture into the mixing bowl.

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And guess what….we have just about hit the attention threshold! Here’s where I said, “let’s grab a spoon or measuring cup to help get the flour in the mixing bowl”…… BUZZZZZZZZZ

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I’m glad I snapped this picture quickly…the rest was a result of “Mom I think we need a spoon or something”. Anyways….dump your flour into the bowl in a non kitchen-covering way :)

{pause to clean up flour}

Pour in the melted butter and the kosher salt.

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Fit the dough hook onto your mixer and turn the speed to low.  Here’s what the process looks like, it’ll take about 5-7 minutes to complete this step.

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After the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, give it another 2 minutes. (keep the mixer on low speed)

Pull the dough off the dough hook and place into an oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let rise for 60 – 90 minutes, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. If you have difficulty getting a nice rise from dough, try turning your oven to its lowest setting, usually 170, let it preheat and then turn the oven off and place the dough bowl inside.

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Here’s the dough after rising….

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Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Prepare your rolling surface by either laying down a counter size silicon mat, or lightly oiling your counter top so the dough doesn’t stick.

Remove the dough from the bowl and separate into 8 sections. This is an easy step for the kids…divide the dough in half, each half in half, then each piece in half again. Mini lesson in fractions! Grab a kitchen towel and dampen it, wring out any excess water and have it next to you on the counter.

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Now HERE is where my cute little fly excels…HE IS A DOUGH ROLLING NINJA!!!

Grab one piece of dough and cover the rest with the slightly damp towel so they don’t dry out.

Starting from the center, gently roll your hands out towards the end to begin forming a rope.

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Return your hands to the center and continue rolling….focus on areas that might be thicker than others.

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You’ll want your rope to look like this….

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Gently cut the rope into 1″ pieces. They’ll resemble mini pillows after they are cut.

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Continue this process with the other dough pieces, making sure to keep the cut pieces and unworked dough covered with the damp towel.

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When you are almost finished with the cutting process, place a large pot on the stove and add the 10 cups of water and 2/3 cup of baking soda. Why so much baking soda? That’s what gives the pretzels that nice chewy golden brown skin.

Place a bowl with a strainer next to the pot.

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Bring the pot of water to a rolling boil.

Cover two baking sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper and set close to the stove.

When the water is ready, grab a slotted spoon and lower a couple of spoonfuls into the water. This is where teamwork comes in handy!

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Gently stir the bites around in the water, making sure all sides have been coated in the water, and allow them to boil for 30 seconds. Remove the bites with a slotted spoon and place gently in the strainer. The bites will still be soft so be gentle with them.

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Immediately after placing them in the strainer, lower a new batch into the boiling water. While the new batch is boiling, transfer the drained batch to the prepared baking sheet and line up in rows. You don’t need to give the bites much space on the baking sheet as they really don’t spread very much. Continue this process until you have boiled all the bites.

Melt the extra stick of butter in the microwave and get ready to paint your bites with butter. OH MAN it doesn’t get better than that!

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Slather the tops with butter and then sprinkle with the sea salt.

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Place one sheet at a time in the oven and allow to bake for 12 minutes. Remove and place the other sheet in.

When the bites come out of the oven, go on ahead and let your jaw drop at their beauty, they deserve it! Then grab your butter brush again and gently dab the tops with more butter. Be careful not to brush off the salt, just gentle dabs.

ARE YOU READY????

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{drool…..}

Beauty shot!

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Are you sold now???

Typically I’m a firm believer in letting something cool before biting into it…but I just don’t know if I can tell you to do that on this occasion. I sure didn’t.

Pop….YUM….POP two….POP {thought about calling in the family} POP…Oh man!

These things are crazy good and can be served with cheese dip, ranch, mustard…whatever you like. Just think about those things ahead of time, because once you start popping, you completely forget about dips. And then it’s too late. And then you have to make more!

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Hope you enjoy!

Signing Off,

Modern Mrs. Cleaver

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6 Comments

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6 Responses to Rye Soft Pretzel Bites

  1. Oh these look AMAZING! thank you for the recipe!!!

  2. Pingback: Paderno Silicone Mat Set Giveaway! (Closed) | Modern Mrs. Cleaver

  3. Dawn Wiencke

    Can these be made up in advance and frozen? Thanks so much, my daughter LOVES pretzels! ;)

  4. Pingback: Herbed Soft Pretzel Rolls | Modern Mrs. Cleaver

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