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1 1/2 c. Warm water
2 tsp. Light brown sugar
1 packet active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp.)
3 tbsp. Unsalted butter; melted
2 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 c. Flour
3 qts. Water
1/2 c. baking soda
1 Egg; beaten with 1 tbsp. cold water
1/2 c. Mustard (plain yellow or your favorite variety)
1/4 c. Sriracha or other hot sauce
2 to 3 tbsp. cider vinegar
Serves: 8 servings
Prep. Time: 1 hour 15 min.
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Soft pretzels are one of my favorite snacks to get at sporting events, particularly summer baseball games. (I’ll confess, hotdogs and ice cream cones rank up there pretty high as well.) These little nuggets are pretty simple to make and they are always a hit. If you want to take them to an event you can par-bake them for about 5 minutes, then finish them “on location”, as they are the very best when served warm. You can also par-bake and freeze them to save time later. If you have frozen them, the baking time should still be about 15 minutes.
1. Combine the 1 1/2 cups water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until well combined. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
2. Add the salt and about 4 1/2 cups of flour; mix on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes.
3. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Once smooth, remove the dough from the bowl, place on a clean, flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
4. Coat a large bowl with a few tablespoons of vegetable oil, add the dough and toss to coat the dough with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 425°F, set the rack in the center position.
6. Bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil in a roasting pan or wide pot over high heat. Add the baking soda and stir until dissolved. (Watch closely, as the water will foam and boil over after you’ve added the baking soda.)
7. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring about 2 feet. Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites.
8. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution for about 30 seconds, working in small batches, about 15 to 20 at a time. Remove with a large slotted spoon and transfer in a single layer (not touching) to a baking sheet that has been coated lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
9. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
10. Remove from the oven and transfer to a baking rack to cool for 5 minutes.
11. While pretzels cool, stir together the mustard, hot sauce and vinegar in a small bowl.
12. Serve the pretzel bites warm with mustard sauce for dipping.
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