Monday, June 11, 2012

DIY Food: Pretzel Bites

On our new healthy eating kick, we've been trying to cut out as much processed and junk food as possible. But, sometimes you just have a craving for something-- something starchy, buttery and with really no nutritional value at all. To keep on track (at least sort of) I've decided to allow myself a few treats now and then, as long as I make them MYSELF. This way I'll have to decide if the effort is worth the result and I'll at least be cutting out the obvious bad stuff like hfcs, preservatives, and artificial additives.

This week I've been dying for a pretzel. I LOVE the mall pretzels. I think its probably criminal (or really good marketing) but there is a pretzel shop right outside the one maternity clothing store in the mall. I became addicted to these things during my first pregnancy (when I could only keep down starches) and happily carried on during the second. Now I haven't an excuse like pregnancy but I still crave those darn things.

I saw this post on pinterest a few weeks ago and decided the recipe was simple enough for a yeast beginner to try. It only requires basic pantry ingredients and the 3 solid food eaters in the house give it 2 thumbs up!

Recipe (as adapted from above post): yield approx 50 1x1 bites

1 tsp active dry yeast (1/2 a packet)
3/4 cup warm (not hot!) water
1 tsp honey
2 cups + 1 tbs all purpose flour
3 tbs melted butter
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup baking soda
5 cups water

1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
2.Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Wait 5 minutes until yeast is active and foamy.
3. Stir in melted butter & salt. Mix in flour. When all ingredients are roughly combined, turn out on counter and knead for 5 minutes until dough is no longer sticky and forms a ball.
4. Place dough back into (cleaned and) oiled mixing bowl. Cover w/towel & allow to rise until doubled (approx 1-2 hours)
5. Turn out dough and divide into 4 even portions. Roll each section by hand into a long snake approximately 1" in diameter (just like with PlayDoh). Cut into 1" lengths with knife or kitchen shears. Repeat with remaining dough sections.
6. Combine baking soda and water in a medium sauce pan and heat until gently boiling. Drop about 10 pretzel bites into water bath. Scoop out with strainer or slotted spoon after about 30 seconds. Place on paper towel to dry.
7. Spread bites out on parchment covered baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes -- until golden brown. Check halfway through cooking and rotate tray.
8. Cool on wire rack. Brush additional melted butter over tops of pretzels and dust with Kosher or pretzel salt.  Enjoy!!

For beautiful food photos and a more detailed instruction, see original blog post! If you give this recipe a try, comment below and let me know how it worked out for you!

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