I looked at a bunch of recipes and then came up with my own variation. I am super pleased with the results! If you are hosting a super bowl party this year you should make these and serve them alongside some dip.
I love all things pretzel. In college I would always have a trail mix in my room made up of pretzels, raisins, and peanut M&Ms...very versatile snack or breakfast in many cases. Here are some fun facts about pretzels that every pretzel lover should know:
1) Like all good things in this world pretzels have a Christian origin. Legend has it that an Italian Monk came up with the pretzel as a reward for children who prayed. The criss cross pattern of a pretzel is meant to look like arms folded over ones chest as if in prayer. These pretzels were first called "pretiola" meaning"little rewards".
2) Back in the day when Christians couldn't eat eggs, lard, milk, or butter during lent they would eat pretzels made from just flour and water.
3) The pretzel loops aren't only there to look pretty. Many say they are shaped like that for the practical purpose of being easy to hang onto things. I imagine they were present in the first Container Store ever built to show off cool ways to store things. : )
4) Germans have a thing for pretzels and also have many names for them: Brezn, Bretzel, Brezzl, Brezgen, Bretzga, Bretzet, Bretschl, Kringel, Silserli and Sülzerli. They are baked differently in the various parts of Germany, with different flours, seasonings, and herbs.
5) In Germany it is tradition to give people sweetened pretzels for good luck throughout the upcoming year. Also, on may 1st boys would paint a pretzel on the doors of the girls they loved.
6) Pennsylvania produces over 80% of the nation's pretzels...dang.
7) There is a pretzel museum in Philadelphia
8) April 26th is National Pretzel day
9) When I was a kid I used to microwave hard pretzels and cheese...what was I thinking?
Sea Salt Pretzel Bites
In mixing bowl mix together the following and let sit 10 minutes until foamy:
4 t yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 3/4 cup warm water (should be around 110 degrees)
Once foamy mix together with the following with paddle attachment until combined:
4 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 TBS olive oil
Once combined switch to hook attachment on mixer and knead on medium speed 5-7 minutes. If you don't have a mixer you can knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for an additional 3-4 minutes. Sometimes when I make these they are too dry, so add a little water...and sometimes they are too wet and are sticking everywhere, so add a little flour.
After kneading set aside dough in oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit and rise about one hour until doubled in size. Once the dough is risen break apart into little bites. I got about 60 bite sized pieces. Meanwhile, boil 4 cups of water in a saucepan and then remove from heat. Dissolve 1/3 cup baking soda in the water and mix.
Dip each pretzel bite into the water and then remove with slotted spoon. Place onto greased baking sheet. Once all pretzels have had their water/baking soda bath sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in 450 degree oven for 7-8 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush each bite with melted butter. Allow to cool slightly, if you can wait that long...and enjoy!Look ma, I finally found my hidden talent. : )