Homemade pretzel bites are the best. Just make them already. Some links in this article are affiliate links that earn me a commission if you purchase through them.
Walking through Costco with my daughter, she spied the pretzel bites container on the end cap. She begged me to buy them.
I eyed the not huge container and the $7 price tag and declined. She begged, so I told her I would make them for her at home.
Fast forward two months, and I finally kept my promise.
Why on earth did I wait so long?
I’ve made homemade soft pretzels before, but I don’t know why I never made pretzel bites. Needless to say, I plan to make these again. And soon.
They’re fairly easy to make, and the hardest part is just waiting for them to do the first rise so you can finish baking them.
Unlike many bread recipes that require two rises, these pretzel bites just need one. You do a quick boil in baking soda boiling water that in a way takes the place of a second rise.
Faster yumminess? Oh heck yes.
The only down side? I thought I made so many. This recipe makes over a hundred pretzel bites.
My family ate them all in a single sitting. Next time, I have to make a double batch.
And yes, they do take just like the ones you get at Auntie Anne’s. So. Much. Winning.
How hot should my water be when I bake with yeast?
Yeast dies if you use water that is too hot. However, you want warm enough water that the yeast wakes up and activates.
Technically, you can use cold or cool water straight from the tap, but your yeast will take much longer to proof. It’s better than killing the yeast with water that’s too hot though.
Yes, you can kill yeast with water that’s 125 to 130 degrees.
All you need is water that feels warm to you but is still comfortable to the touch. You don’t need a fancy thermometer, just use common sense.
You can learn more about yeast in the article I wrote after visiting the Fleishmann’s Yeast headquarters.
Do I need to proof my yeast?
When I bake, I don’t proof my yeast, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. It doesn’t mean you have to either.
If you have new yeast or you use a jar of yeast and cook with it regularly, you know it’s good. There’s no true need to proof yeast.
The purpose behind proofing yeast is simply to prove that it’s alive. If you know your yeast is good and that you aren’t using water that’s too hot, you can skip this step.
Make sure that if you have a jar of yeast, you store it in the fridge to keep it cold and the yeast alive longer. After six months, however, you run the risk of your yeast dying.
This is also why you want to check the expiration date on any yeast you buy at the store. I once almost bought a jar of yeast that was two years expired – no thank you!
How do I proof yeast?
If you choose to proof your yeast, simply add the water (and sugar in this recipe) with the yeast to a bowl and let it sit for five minutes.
Check on your mixture after five minutes. If your yeast looks frothy and foamy, you’re good to go. If it just looks like water and there are no bubbles or any changes, toss it and get new yeast.
Make sure you don’t have your water too hot – remember, just warm to the touch is perfect – and check your yeast expiration.
Once you know that your yeast is good to go, proceed with the next steps in the recipe.
Why do I need baking soda to make pretzels?
Commercial pretzels use lye when they make their pretzels, but we are not going to do that at home. Ever. Just stop thinking about it entirely.
To get pretzels to fluff appropriately, you need to boil them briefly, and you need to do it in a water that is basic (the opposite of acidic). Baking soda is the easiest, safest, and cheapest home option.
The baking soda in the boiling water softens the texture of the dough in addition to giving it a “quick rise.” This is the only way you’ll end up with the right texture.
The baking soda also provides the gorgeous dark brown crust you see on pretzels that isn’t burned pretzel. Don’t skip this step.
How to Make Pretzel Bites
To make the dough:
I like to make my pretzel bites with a stand mixer, but you can make the dough in a bowl and then knead them by hand. It’s far easier with a stand mixer, however.
Melt butter, and set it aside. You don’t want it really hot, just warm enough that it’s liquid.
Combine warm water and sugar in a bowl, and sprinkle the yeast over it. Proof your yeast as described above, if you choose.
Add half the flour flour to the yeast water and mix. Once you incorporate the flour, drizzle in the melted butter and salt, then mix again.
Add the remaining flour and mix on low.
You may need slightly less or more flour, depending on how humid it is that day. You want the dough just slightly sticky and not at all dry.
Once you have the flour incorporated, increase your mixer to medium speed and knead four to five minutes. If you don’t have a stand mixer, knead eight to ten minutes until it’s soft and smooth.
Cover your bowl with a damp towel, which keeps the dough from drying out. Let rise for an hour until doubled in size.
To finish the pretzel bites:
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and line two jelly roll pans with silpats.
Fill a large heavy pot two-thirds full with water. Add the baking soda, and bring it to a boil.
While water heats, roll sections of dough into ropes approximately 3/4″ diameter. They don’t need to be perfect, and the size is an approximation, so don’t get stuck on it.
Use a bench scraper to cut each rope into one inch sections. If you don’t have a bench scraper, use a serrated knife, which cuts through dough more easily than a regular knife.
Add the pretzel bites to your boiling water in batches. Let them cook for approximately 30 seconds each.
Remove each batch with a spider as it finishes, and place the bites onto a baking sheet. Repeat until all the pretzel bites have boiled.
Beat your egg yolk with two tablespoons of water, then use a pastry brush to coat the top of each pretzel bite.
Sprinkle them lightly with pretzel salt.
Bake them in your 450 degree oven until they’re dark golden brown in color, approximately eight to nine minutes.
Serve them immediately. I like to enjoy them in my homemade nacho cheese sauce. They would be equally good with Nutella or dipped in stone ground mustard.
Store any leftovers in a tightly sealed container for up to two days. No surprise, these are best the first day you make them.
Have you ever made homemade pretzel bites?
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Nutrition Information: Yield: 22 Serving Size: 5 pretzel bites
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 116Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 152mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition. If you need exact details, please calculate yourself.
I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.