Homemade Whole Wheat Soft Pretzel Bites

I've been wanting to try to make soft pretzels at home.  And most of you who have been around my blogs before know that I always try to make everything whole wheat.  Some things work, some things don't.  I believe these pretzel bites were a success as whole wheat.  They are completely gone!  And most were gone last night right after they came out of the oven.   

Here's what I did!

4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. white sugar
1 1/4 cup warm water

4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
sugar--I used 1/3 cup of Xylitol--the original recipe called for 1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1/2 cup baking soda
4-8 cups water (depending on size of boiling pan)

Directions (with my commentary)
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.  Let rise about 10 minutes.
Sift together dry ingredients.
Make well in the middle of dry ingredients and add vegetable oil and yeast/water.
Mix until you have a cohesive dough.  
My dough was really stiff at this point.  I believe for pretzel dough it's supposed to be stiff, but I had to add a little water at this point to make it come together better.  Use your judgement.  
Knead dough for 8 - 10 minutes.  It will be a tougher dough to knead, but it's worth it!  I needed my workout anyway!
Lightly oil bowl for rising.  Place dough in bowl and turn to coat with oil.  Cover with a damp towel and put in a warm place to rise.  I let mine rise for a little over two hours.  
Once the dough has risen, punch it down and form into little balls to make ropes that are about 1/2" to 3/4" around and 12 inches long.  Cut at 1 1/2" intervals to make "bites". I used my kitchen shears to do the cutting.  My dough made between 60 - 70 pretzel bites.  I didn't have a chance to count them before they were all gone.  The kids loved these!

Preheat oven to 400.  Fill large pot half way with water and add 1/2 cup of baking soda.  Once water is boiling, drop the pretzel bites in in batches and boil for 30 seconds.  Remove with slotted spoon to paper towel.  Place on greased baking sheet and cook for 10-15 minutes.  All ovens vary.  I think the perfect time on mine would be 15 minutes.  I was using a full sized pretzel recipe and thought maybe the bites would take less time, but they didn't.  

Once out of the oven, brush with butter and add coarse salt if you'd like.  These would also be good with a cinnamon/sugar topping.

Enjoy!!  I will definitely be making these again!

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