It’s that certain smell in the air. That crisp breeze that tingles your nose and makes the hairs on your arm stand a little higher, fall is officially here. Weekends filled with picnics at the lake, strolls through the farmer’s market, caramel apples at the state fair, lazy sways in the hammock, and a crowded patio with a football game on TV. This time of the year is, by far, my favorite.
I’ve had this recipe on my mind for months. A perfect blend of flavors to scream, “Hey people, FALL IS FLIPPING HERE!” For me, it’s officially autumn when Oktoberfest and football surround me — late September. In my mind, a beautiful salted soft pretzel cradling a delicious blend of bratwurst and sauerkraut brings everything I need to have to kick off the season. I wanted to get this recipe out before Oktoberfest ended but as of late, I’m just booked solid at work leaving little time to for my sock monkey slippers and the blog. Thankfully, no one ever said you could only eat pretzels, kraut, and beer only for Oktoberfest. So let’s raise a glass and salute all things awesome in this little bite of absolute amazingness. Prosit!
beer and wine pairing:
Our resident certified beer specialist, sommelier, and crazy ultra runner (aka the husband), says try a Munich Lager or any beer on the malty side. For a wine pairing go for a German or Alsatian Riesling.
Who doesn’t love sausage and pretzels?! Of course, these can be easily modified to anyone’s tastes.
It's the best flavors of Oktoberfest rolled into one bite! Soft and perfectly chewy pretzels craddle a flavorful sausage and sauerkraut filling, making these incredibly delicious pretzel bites legendary.
- 3/4 pound bratwurst, casings removed
- 1 cup sauerkraut, drained
- 2 cups warm water, 100-110°F
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons canola oil, expeller pressed preferred
- 1/3 cup baking soda
- 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water
- Coarse Kosher or Pretzel Salt
- cooking oil spray
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil over medium-high heat and sauté the bratwurst until browned and cooked through. Place in a large bowl and add sauerkraut, toss to combine. Refrigerate until needed.
- In a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine warm water and sugar together and stir to dissolve the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast in and let sit for 10 minutes. The yeast should be slightly foamy.
- Add 1 cup of flour to the yeast mixture and mix on low to combine. Once combined, add 4 cups of flour and salt. Mix on medium-low until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Add 1/2 cup of flour, and knead on low for a minute more. Add 1/2 cup more flour only if the dough still fills wet and sticky and knead until combined. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Pour oil into a large bowl and coat the sides. Place the dough into the bowl, turning it over a few times to coat the dough with oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm spot for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size — or let rise in the refrigerator covered with a towel for 12 hours or overnight.
- Punch down the dough to remove bubbles and transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Divide into quarters and shape into disks. Then divide each disk into 8 sections and roll into balls. You will have 32 dough balls. Transfer to wax paper–lined baking sheets, plates, or counter top and cover with a towel. Working with one dough ball at a time, place a ball into the palm of your hand and press into it with your thumb. Fill that pocket with a spoonful of sausage mixture. Using your fingers, gather the dough around stuffing and press firmly to seal.
- Heat oven to 450°F with racks in upper and lower third. Prep two baking sheets with cooking oil spray. Fill a 4- to 5-quart pot halfway with water. Bring water and baking soda to a boil.
- Add 12 pretzel bites and cook for 1 minute, then transfer with a slotted spoon to baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- In a small bowl, combine egg and water and beat to combine. Once all pieces of dough are stuffed, lightly brush the dough pieces with egg wash. Sprinkle each dough ball with a pinch salt.
- Bake pretzel bites in oven, switching sheets between racks and rotating sheets halfway through baking, until deep brown, about 15 - 20 minutes. Once finished, transfer pretzel bites to wire racks to cool.
- Pretzel bites are best served right away and served with brown mustard. They can be made 1 day ahead, refrigerated, and toasted in the oven to reheat.
- These can also be made in advance up into the boiling point and refrigerated for 1 day or frozen for up to 1 month (allow to thaw before boiling and baking).