And guess what? They were really, really easy!
Ever since I put together the list of 100 recipes I’ve always wanted to make, I’ve hesitated to try my hand at making pretzels … even though soft pretzels are #18 on the list. Seriously, every time I thought about making them, something in my head just screamed, “No! They’re too hard!”
Well, there comes a time in everyone’s lives when they must face their fears.
This is that time.
Since October is National Pretzel Month, and therefore, pretzels are the theme for this month’s Foodie Extravaganza, I could no longer run from the soft pretzel … and I’m so glad I didn’t.
Adapted from Alton Brown, my spicy cheddar and jalapeno pretzel bites are everything you want in a pretzel. Golden brown with a chewy crust, that unmistakable “pretzel” flavor, and just the right amount salt — oh, and the added delight of cheddar cheese and perfectly spicy jalapeno — these pretzel bites are my new favorite snack.
My trusty Kitchen-Aid stand mixer made quick work of the dough, which then took a brief hour long nap to rise (during which time I may or may not have watched an episode of Lost). Once the dough had doubled in size, it took just a few minutes to portion it out, roll it into ropes, then cut it into bite size pieces. A quick dunk in an alkaline water bath — don’t worry … that’s just fancy talk for boiling water with baking soda in it (and it’s what gives pretzels that chewy crust) — then my pretzel bites headed to the oven for 10 to 12 minutes while they baked to perfection.
Yes, it sounds complicated. And something in your head may be screaming, “No! It’s just too hard!” … but trust me, it’s not. And once you’ve made your own soft pretzels, you’ll want to make another batch right away.
I know I do.
- 1 package dry active yeast
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 22 ounces (about 4½ cups) all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups warm (110 to 115°F) water
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapeno peppers
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 10 cups water
- ⅔ cup baking soda
- 1 large egg
- Coarse salt for topping
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the yeast, sugar, salt, and flour until well combined. Add the warm water.
- Secure the dough hook attachment to the stand mixer. Mix on low until the ingredients are combined. Add the jalapeno peppers and cheddar cheese, then increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl, and then oil it well with olive oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and then let sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line two large baking sheets and one medium baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 6-quart stockpot.
- In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water. Set aside.
- Divide the dough into 5 even portions. Lightly oil a worksurface, then, working with one portion at a time, roll the dough into ropes about 12 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. Using a sharp knife or a dough scraper, cut the rope into 12 1-inch pieces of dough.
- Place the cut dough pieces into the boiling water for 30 seconds, then remove them from the water using a large slotted spoon. Place the dough pieces on the baking sheets, arranging them into even rows, then brush the top of each piece with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture. Sprinkle with the coarse salt.
- Bake until golden brown in color, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Repeat the process until all the dough has been cooked.
- Allow the pretzel bites to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
- Apple Cinnamon Pretzels + Creamy Caramel Dip from Rebekah at Making Miracles
- Apple Pie Pretzel Bites + Caramel Dipping Sauce from Lauren at From Gate to Plate
- Bacon and Egg Breakfast Pretzelsfrom Cindy at Cindy’s Recipes and Writing
- Beer Pretzel Bread Bowls from Susan at Love from the Kitchen
- Caramel Apple Pretzels from Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Cheese Stuffed Soft Pretzels from Stacy at Food Lust People Love
- Chili Cheese Pretzel Bitesfrom Ashley at The Recipe Rebel
- Cinnamon Raisin Soft Pretzels from Heather at girlichef
- Hopped Up Pretzel Bites + Beer-Gouda Dip from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Marble Chocolate Dipped Pretzels from Marissa at Rae Gun Ramblings
- Peanut Butter Cup Pretzel Bites from Emily at It Bakes Me Happy
- Pretzel Rolls + Caramel Dipping Sauce from Lauren at Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Soft Pumpkin Pretzels from Alexis at We Like to Learn as We Go
- Soft Pretzel Cinnamon and Sugar Sticks from Ashlee at Ashlee Marie
- Sourdough Pretzels from Kelly at Passion Kneaded
- Spicy Cheddar and Jalapeno Pretzel Bites from Kimberly at Rhubarb and Honey
- Sun Dried Tomatoes and Cheese Soft Pretzels from Rachael from Eazy Peazy Mealz