If you like soft pretzels, you’ll absolutely love these Easy Pretzel Bites with Raspberry Honey Mustard Dip. The Pretzel Bites themselves use ready-made refrigerated French bread dough, and take no time at all to make. The Raspberry Honey Mustard Dip uses four simple ingredients and produces an amazing dipping sauce to accompany these tasty morsels. Together, the Easy Pretzel Bites and Raspberry Honey Mustard Dip are the prefect appetizer for any occasion.
Ingredients for Easy Pretzel Bites with Raspberry Honey Mustard Dip:
For the Pretzel Bites, I used refrigerated French bread dough, baking soda mixed with boiling water, and coarse sea salt. As an aside, I also used a simple egg wash to enhance the appearance of the Pretzel Bites and help the salt to stick. I used spicy brown mustard, honey, seedless raspberry jam, and whole mustard seeds for the Raspberry Honey Mustard Dip. Seriously, this is all it takes!
It is generally thought that pretzels originated in Europe during the early Middle Ages. One theory is that monks took long strips of dough and fashioned them into a type of twisted knot to reward children for learning their prayers. Another theory is that the pretzel was produced with just flour and water to be eaten during Lent, with the knot shape representing hands in prayer. The theories go on and on. However, the pretzels that we know today were heavily influenced by German bakers in the southern Bavarian region.
In the late 18th century, immigrants from southern Germany brought the pretzel to the United States. These immigrants, known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, opened handmade pretzel bakeries in Pennsylvania. In no time, the popularity of the soft pretzel spread to other areas of the United States.
A distinctive characteristic of the Bavarian pretzel is that it is dipped in a strong alkaline solution before being baked. Typically, lye or sodium hydroxide is mixed with water to produce the alkaline solution. For the home cook, however, baking soda is ready substitute for lye. The alkaline solution reacts with the sugars and proteins in the dough to create the distinctive flavor, chew, and color of pretzels. You can read all about the chemistry of this reaction online.
Making the Raspberry Honey Mustard Dip:
To make the Raspberry Honey Mustard dip, I whisked together the spicy brown mustard, honey, raspberry jam, and mustard seeds until everything was combined. That’s it! Once I had mixed the ingredients, I put the dip into the refrigerator until I was ready to use it. It tends to get a bit thicker once refrigerated.
Making the Pretzel Bites:
I started by opening the French bread dough and placing it on a floured piece of parchment paper. Rather than try to unroll the French bread dough, I merely rolled it into a rectangle that was roughly 14 inches by 6 inches. Then, I cut the rectangle into three long pieces. Next, I took each of the pieces and formed it into a long rope by pinching the sides together. Finally, I cut each of the ropes into 1-inch pieces using my pizza cutter.
Once I had formed the Pretzel Bites from the dough, I filled my Dutch oven half-way with water, and brought the water to a boil. I could have used another type of pan, but needed to make sure that it would not react with the baking soda. Once the water was boiling, I added the baking soda. I had to be careful here because the addition of the baking soda caused the water to significantly bubble up.
I let the water/baking soda solution return to a simmer, and added one-third of the dough pieces to it. After 30 seconds, I removed Pretzel Bites from the liquid with a wire strainer, allowed them to drain, and transferred them to a silicon lined baking sheet. I repeated this with the remaining dough.
It’s important here to either used a silicon lined baking sheet or a well oiled parchment paper lined baking sheet. The reason is that the Pretzel Bites are quite sticky when they come out of the baking soda solution. Think about flour and water used as a paste, and hopefully this will make sense.
Anyway, I made sure to leave some room between the Pretzel Bites because they would expand a bit more when put in the oven. Before baking the Pretzel Bites, I brushed them with an egg wash, and sprinkled on some coarse sea salt. You could use Kosher salt here, but the coarse sea salt actually works better.
I popped the Pretzel Bites into a preheated 400° F oven for about 15 minutes until they were a deep mahogany color. It’s the baking soda that enhances the Maillard reaction to create this characteristic browning. I removed the Pretzel Bites from the oven and transferred them to a wire rack to cool a bit. The Pretzel Bites are actually best served warm.
I served the warm Easy Pretzel Bites with the amazing Raspberry Honey Mustard Dip. Yum!
Easy Pretzel Bites with Raspberry Honey Mustard Dip
Raspberry Honey Mustard Dip
- ½ cup spicy brown mustard (See Note 1)
- ½ cup honey
- 3 Tablespoons seedless Raspberry jam (See Note 2)
- 1 Tablespoon whole mustard seeds
Easy Pretzel Bites
- 8 cups water
- ⅓ cup baking soda
- 11 ounce tube refrigerated French bread dough (See Note 3)
- Egg wash made by combining 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (See Note 4)
Raspberry Honey Mustard Dip
- Whisk together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (See Note 5)
- Yield: 1 ¼ cups.
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line baking sheet with silicon mat or parchment paper. If using parchment paper, spray well with vegetable spray. Set aside.
- Add water to a large, non-reactive pan, ensuring that it only fills the pan half-way. Bring to a boil. (See Note 6)
- Carefully add baking soda. Once the foaming subsides, stir to ensure that all of the baking soda is dissolved. Reduce the heat to medium low.
- Open French bread tube, and place unrolled dough onto floured surface. Roll out to approximately 14-inches by 6-inches. Cut into three equal lengths.
- Pinch together long sides of each length of dough to form a rope. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
- Carefully add ⅓ of the pretzel bite dough pieces to simmering baking soda solution for 30 seconds. Remove from liquid with a wire strainer or slotted spoon. Allow to drain for 1 minute; transfer to prepared baking sheet, leaving about ¾-inch between pieces. Repeat with remaining dough pieces.
- Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 16 minutes, or until a deep mahogany brown. Cool slightly on wire rack.
- Serve warm with Raspberry Honey Mustard Dip.
- Yield: 12 servings.
Chula's Expert Tips
- May use Dijon mustard in place of spicy brown mustard.
- May use Raspberry preserves in place of Raspberry jam.
- The refrigerated French bread dough can be found in the same location in your grocery store as the canned biscuits, crescent rolls, etc. You can basically use any white bread or pizza dough in place of the refrigerated French bread dough.
- May use Kosher salt in place of the coarse sea salt. However, the coarse sea salt really works better.
- This amazing dip will thicken somewhat when refrigerated.
- When the baking soda is added to the boiling water, it foams up significantly. Therefore only fill the pan half-way. Otherwise, it's likely to boil over when you add the baking soda.