The TA ovens must have some kind of secret communication channel because many of them have decided to break this week. I guess the semester has been as rough for them as it has for the rest of us.
Whatever the reason, my apartment does not have a working oven and it looks like we will continue to not have one for a while. You may think I’m leading you up to some cool raw recipe or something you can make on a stove top, but I’m not. I miss warm, fresh-baked, gluten-y goods, so I’m going to write about it and make myself feel better. Also maybe someone will make these and bring me some? Please.
I haven’t taken a poll or anything but I feel like most college students aren’t baking their own bread. In my house though, we totally do; we even have a food scale. It’s a little out of control. Maybe it’s strange, but it’s delicious. One of our favorite bread-type snacks before our oven broke was pretzel bites! I was seriously surprised how easy they are to make the first time I helped my housemate with them. I don’t mean to fool you, they take around an hour and a half and involve quite a few steps, but it is totally worth it and a really fun study break. Instead of taking a trip to the mall for Auntie Anne’s, just do it yourself (it’s cheaper and more fun)!
We took our recipe from the King Arthur Flour website with a few veganized alterations. Start by combining a cup of warm water with two and a fourth teaspoons of instant yeast (that is the amount that will come in a packet or if you are using a jar—yay less waste—just measure it out). The water should be warm enough to activate the yeast but not hot enough to kill it; it should feel around the same temperature as your skin when you dip your finger in it. Let this rest while you are mixing together the following ingredients: two and a half cups of all purpose flour, one teaspoon of sugar and one teaspoon of salt. When the yeast mixture is foamy, mix this into the dry ingredients. Mix until it is mostly combined and then knead it with your hands for around five minutes. (Bonus: this is a great way to take out aggression.) It should be very smooth by the time you are done. Flour the dough a bit so it doesn’t stick and let it rest for 30 minutes in an airtight container or bag.
While the dough is resting, boil a cup of water and add two tablespoons of baking soda. Stir until the baking soda is dissolved and then let the mixture cool. It should be cooler than lukewarm before you use it. You are going to dip the dough bites into this before baking them in order to make the chewy pretzel texture. If you don’t do this, they will just be normal bread.
After the half hour is up, divide your dough into six equal(ish) pieces on a lightly greased work surface. Roll each piece of dough into a rope, about 12 inches in length. Cut each rope into about twelve pieces. These steps are really up to you, you can make your bites bigger, smaller or into actual pretzel shapes, just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Next, place the bites into the cooled baking soda solution and leave them in for a minute, depending on how many can fit in your pan, continue this until all your bites are coated. Then place them on a greased piece of parchment paper, either sprinkling some salt on them while they are still wet or leaving them plain, and pop them in your 400° F oven for around 12 minutes.
You might want to mix them around at the halfway point depending on how evenly your oven distributes heat.
Once they are done you can dip them in the cheese sauce from my vegan mac and cheese recipe, mustard, or—my fave—coat them in vegan butter or coconut oil and roll them in cinnamon sugar. They are definitely best right out of the oven so eat them quickly!
Be sure to check out the original recipe at kingarthurflour.com/recipes/pretzel-bites-recipe.
- 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 tablespoons Baking Soda
- coarse salt
- ~6 tablespoons vegan butter or coconut oil
- cinnamon sugar