Buttery Soft Pretzel Bites with Spicy Horseradish Sauce

Buttery Soft Pretzel Bites

Dirty Girls Do the Superbowl, Part I

Fuck yeast.  I hate it and I hate having to depend on it for my baking skills to be majestic.

Yeast is not at all something I relish dependence upon. In fact, the whole idea that it’s alive just sounds so zombie-esque.

Like The Walking Dead of baking.  Or Resident Evil.  Speaking of necessary evil, I know it is needed to put the bubbles in my luscious lambic (Lindeman’s Peche for me!) and the finesse in my focaccia, but I am not in love. Or even in like.  I have to give it a bath that’s not to hot so that I don’t kill it, and enough sugar to eat so that it can fart around to make my bread wise.  How lame is that?

Not lame, but let me present it from a new, warped viewpoint – it is the zombie-yeast which makes baking so many things so alive. It’s an irony. I like ironies a lot more than I like zombies.  But ironies and zombies have a lot in common – they are hard working operators. Walking through your bread wonderland with its vacant-yet-mission critical eyes and arms outstretched.

Fucking zombies.  You know what? I don’t mean that.  At the DGK, everyone is welcome, and zombie yeast is no exception.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t have discovered the joys of making homemade pretzels.  Yes, yeast is invited to the party. Yes, you get to construct a baking soda jacuzzi.  And best of all, you get to ply the pretzels emerging from the spa with sweet, glorious butter.  The end is well worth the means.  And just like my end, the pretzels are sexy as hell.

Irony and yeast, wrapped up in a delicious pretzel. I’ll take mine with an extra dose of irony.

Buttery Soft Pretzels Bites

4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 c. plus 1 teaspoon of white sugar
1 1/4 c. of warm water
5 c. of flour
1 1/2 tsp. of salt
4 tbs. of butter, melted

vegetable oil
3 quarts of water
1 cup baking soda
melted butter
1 large egg, beaten
coarse grain salt

Grab the bowl of your standing mixer (or a large bowl) and add the water and 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Next, sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit until the mixture gets good and frothy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, remaining sugar, salt and butter and attach to the standing mixer.  Pop in the dough hook and mix until a smooth dough forms . Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

Bring the water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an large stock pot.

Oil your hands and begin grabbing chunks of dough the size of nuggets. Roll until smooth and slightly oblong. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, about 5-6 at a time for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a slotted spoon and place back on the parchment. Brush the top of each pretzel with melted butter first and then flip over and brush the other side.  Next brush with the beaten egg yolk. Sprinkle with the pretzel with the coarse salt. Bake for about 13-15 minutes or until dark brown. Place the nuggets on a rack and cool slightly before serving…if you can.  We just eat them straight from the pan, burning our fingers in the process.

We don’t think these guys need anything to be delectable, but for decadence, dip them in our Cheddar Beer Fondue.  Or for a little kick, try them with our incendiary Spicy Horseradish Sauce below.

Spicy Horseradish Sauce

1/2 c. of sour cream (fat-free works well here to counteract the pound of butter you just drenched those pretzels in)
1-2 tbs. of prepared horseradish (we use 2, but we like heat)
1 tbs. of stone ground mustard
1/2 tsp. of salt

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Serve.  Proceed to burn out your sinuses.

You may also like...

10 Responses

  1. Liam Gibbons says:

    Lol! You guys are funny! Great post though! I love good ironic pretzel bite first thing in the morning.. with a slight taste of bitter remorse because I have no bacon.

    Liam @ buttercarb.blogspot.com.

    • Eve Rillette says:

      Seriously. I could NOT have said it better myself. Though I did have a tingly reaction to the ironic pretzel first thing in the morning…it left me searching for a tall cup of coffee to wash it down with.

    • Maybe we need to make a bacon-wrapped pretzel next time? As if these weren't dirty enough with all the butter, as I ate them, I worked out in my mind how delicious it would be to take the pretzel dough and wrap it around a kosher hot dog. Mmmmm. Now I have to do it.

  2. Cucina49 says:

    I’m intrigued by the combination of the pretzel and horseradish sauce–it sounds great!

    • Cassandra Wellington says:

      @Cucina49 Oh, it’s a GOOD one. So good that I feel a little weird eating soft pretzels without nose-burning horseradish on the side.

  3. Eric Sondag says:

    I barely got four cups of flour into the mix, and I had to add another.25 cup of water to get it to mix. Dough never smoothed out. Is this recipe correct? Should the dough be really dense?

    • We test our recipes multiple times, and this one we always use the whole 5 cups. Were you stirring by hand? Because it takes a little time for the flour to absorb the liquid, and a standing mixer helps in that you can let it do its thing. The dough is dense but smooth before it rises, and a little more malleable afterwards – soft enough to roll and shape.

      Hit us up at twodirtygirls@gmail.com if you want to troubleshoot this one a little more. Or reply here. We'll talk food with you anywhere 😉

    • Eric Sondag says:

      Cassandra, thanks for the reply. I used a KitchenAid mixer. The hook kept tearing the dough into hunks, and it never did come together in the bowl. I took it out and shaped it by hand, and after the rise it was much easier to work with. The pretzels turned out great regardless of my flour troubles. I'll keep pounding away at this recipe until I make it work. Is it just me, or does everything anyone writes on this site sound vaguely sexual? haha. Cheers!

    • Eric Sondag I am a full believer that climate plays a huge difference in baking, as does sifting flour when measuring it out and knowing the nuances of the flour you're working with (whole wheat works well for this recipe too, but you'd use less flour). If the dough is telling you a little more liquid after mixing the shit out of it, it's totally cool. It's never a soft yeasty dough, and it does indeed go from dense to pliable after rising. Most importantly, I'm glad the puppies still came out tasty.

      As for the overt sexual references, you did just say that you'll keep pounding away, so clearly you get the vibe that we've got going here 😉

  1. March 25, 2012

    […] pic, tag it as us and post it on Facebook.  Our second winner was the lovely Meredith who made our Buttery Soft Pretzel Bites and her prize was the opportunity to ask us any three questions of her choosing.  Blush we may […]