Ein Prosit — Whole Wheat and Honey Dairy-Free Pretzel Bites
Oktoberfest is here.
Or at least it was here until earlier this month. Years ago, living in Waterloo, we celebrated with the locals at the second largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world. There was lots of warm, comforting and filling Bavarian food including bratwurst, sauerkraut, schnitzel and pretzels. Things have changed since then — now that we are parents, the only biergarten we occasionally see is the one at the German pavilion at Disney’s Epcot.
Thankfully, they have good pretzels!
Originally, we tried these as whole pretzels but they were just too big for Emma and Katie. But pretzel bites were just the right size for their little hands plus they were perfect for dipping. We’ve also made them with and without dairy. Both were extremely successful. We’ve now made these on a few occasions and every time, they barely cool before we eat nearly all of them. Consider yourself warned!
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil or Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, softened but not melted
1 tsp + 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup hot water
2 tbsp baking soda
mustard to serve (optional)
Pour milk into the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle yeast over top. Once bubbles start, add the honey and 1 cup of flour. Stir together and add the butter. Stir again and add the remaining flours and salt.
Using the dough hook, knead the mixture for about 5 minutes until the dough starts to become smooth. Sprinkle small amounts of flour over the dough while kneading if required. Once ready, it will still be somewhat sticky but mostly smooth. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a covered bowl. Let it rest in a warm, draft-free spot until it has doubled in size (approximately 1 hour).
Divide the dough into 8 pieces and on a lightly floured surface, roll each into an approximately 18″ long rope. Cut each rope into 1-1/2″ pieces. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Position racks in oven to top 1/3 and lower 1/3 and preheat oven to 425F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a shallow bowl, mix together the hot water and baking soda until the baking soda is mostly dissolved. Drop the pretzel bites into the baking soda mixture a few at a time. Remove them with a slotted spoon or bamboo skimmer and place them on to the parchment-lined baking sheets. Repeat with remaining pretzel bites until they have all been through the baking soda bath. Sprinkle remaining salt evenly over top of the bites.
Bake pretzel bites in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until golden brown, swapping baking sheets halfway through baking. Serve warm or room temperature plain or with mustard for dipping.
Tips and Suggestions:
If dairy-free is not a concern, feel free to substitute skim milk for the rice milk and butter for the coconut oil. Then, as an alternative, sprinkle freshly grated parmesan cheese over the unbaked bites before placing them into the oven. Or serve them with melted cheese or melted garlic butter for dipping.
Have a sweet tooth? Try sprinkling cinnamon sugar over top of the unbaked bites before placing them into the oven. Or have a side of caramel sauce for dipping.