I made pretzel hot dogs (yum!) a few months ago, and had some left over dough. As a test, I froze it to see if I could use it later for pretzel bites with cheese sauce since there wasn’t much left. That was about six months ago. I completely forgot about it! While cleaning out the freezer, I came across something unidentifiable and it turned out to be the dough. I thawed it out, and proceeded to make the bites the same way I made the pretzel dogs, and the soft pretzels, where this all began years ago.
The dough wasn’t bad! I definitely would not recommend keeping dough in the freezer for sixish months before using it, but I was still happy with the results. I originally discovered this recipe from Alton Brown and this recipe has consistently made delicious “I can’t believe I made it myself” quality pretzels. The cheese sauce was another story. I found a cheese sauce recipe on serious eats, and in the picture the cheese sauce looked so creamy and yummy. Mine, not so much. The taste was OK, but the texture was definitely a little funky. Thoughts of Pinterest Fail kept running through my head. I know in my heart of hearts Velveeta would solve all of my texture issues, but I’m still striving to make it just as creamy and smooth on my own. At least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.
soft pretzel bites with cheese sauce
for the pretzel bites
- 1 ½ cups warm (110 to 115°F water)
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 package active dry yeast (about 2 ¼ teaspoons)
- 22 ounces all-purpose flour (about 4 ½ cups)
- 2 ounces unsalted butter (melted)
- Vegetable oil (for pan)
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- pretzel or margarita salt (you can also use kosher salt)
for the cheese sauce:
- 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese (or a mix of cheddar and pepper Jack, grated on large holes of a box grater)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce
make the pretzel bites:
- Combine the water, sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Switch to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then grease the bowl well. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for about 50 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and generously brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan.
Turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface. Pull out golf ball sized pieces of dough and roll into a ball. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan. Two at a time, place the pretzel bites in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return them to the sheet pans, brush the top of each pretzel bite with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture, and sprinkle with pretzel salt.
Bake until dark golden brown in color, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
make the cheese sauce:
- Add cheese and cornstarch to large bowl. Toss to combine. Transfer to medium saucepan. Add 1 cup evaporated milk and hot sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with whisk until melted, bubbly, and thickened (about 5 minutes). Mixture will look thin and grainy at first but will thicken and come together after heating. Thin to desired consistency with additional evaporated milk. Serve immediately.