My first official job (as soon as I turned 14 and was ‘legal’ to work) was working at my town’s swimming pool in the concession stand. Fun stuff I tell you. Nothing like being trapped in a tiny non-air conditioned room for hours upon hours catering to our little pool rats (that’s what we called the kids that were there everyday). Haha, it really wasn’t that bad. It was actually a good summer job for a 14 year old. But we sold it all. From lollipops, icecream, and nachos to the most dreaded item of them all. Soft pretzels. The problem with these pretzels was that they came frozen and our little pretzel warmer…well, didn’t work. So every time someone would order a pretzel we had to microwave it for a couple minutes. And a few minutes when there is a line of 30 kids anxiously waiting to be served is eternity. The hottest item among the kids was the most dreaded item among us employees. We cranked those babies out like it was our job. Oh wait…it was our job. Haha.
And we would love it when we found a broken un-sellable pretzel at the bottom of the bag. What a shame, we would just have to eat it ourselves. What great employees we were…rejoicing in the loss of profit. Haha. So to this day, soft pretzels still remind me of my first job.
Soft Pretzel Bites: Brings Me Back...
- 1 1/2 cups warm water -about 110 F
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 3 quarts water
- 3/4 cup baking soda
- 1 whole egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
- Coarse sea salt
Using a stand mixer (with dough hook attachment), mix together water, sugar, yeast, and butter on low speed. Let the yeast mixture rest for 5 minutes.
After five minutes, slowly add in flour and salt and knead with the mixer until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the mixer bowl. Add more flour after a few minutes if the dough is too wet.
Prepare a medium-sized glass bowl by coating the inside with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough into a ball and place into the oil-covered glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour (dough should double in size).
After dough is doubled, prepare "pretzel bath" by boiling water & baking soda in a large pot on medium heat.
Once boiling, carefully remove dough from bowl and section into 8 pieces.
Roll each piece of dough into a long rope (approximately 22 inches) and cut into 1 inch pieces.
Boil the pieces in small batches for 30 sec and remove with a slotted spoon. Place on baking sheet and brush each piece with egg wash. Sprinkle with salt.
Bake at 425 degrees for15-18 min, or until pretzel bites are golden brown.
These were a huge hit and were even better than those frozen pretzels you get at the store (and cheaper!). And what’s not to love about saving money, while still indulging in delicious-ness?