Vegan pretzel bites - these delicious bread bites are made with (optional) beer to give them extra flavour.
They are easier to make than classic pretzels but are just as tasty and are perfect for dunking in dips and sauces!
These vegan pretzel bites are a great party food option. Serve them warm with a selection of dips and they are bound to disappear in minutes!
They are based on my vegan beer pretzels recipe, just shaped into bites rather than classic pretzels.
This makes them much quicker and easier to make and they are perfect for sharing!
These vegan pretzel bites are super soft with a chewy crust and that distinctive, delicious pretzel flavour. Regular pretzels are amazing but the beer in these ones makes them even more flavourful!
What Do I Need To Make Vegan Pretzel Bites?:
Bread flour: White bread flour helps to give these vegan pretzel bites their soft, chewy texture. Plain (all-purpose) flour will also work though the texture isn’t quite the same. I don’t recommend using wholemeal flour as that will make the bread too dense.
Beer: this is totally optional, you can use water instead if you want; the beer just adds extra flavour. Use ale rather than lager and don't use anything too dark (like stout or porter).
Non-dairy milk: Soy milk is always my favourite for baking as it has the highest protein content so most closely resembles dairy milk. Any variety of non-dairy milk will work however, but go for an unsweetened one if you can, and definitely soy milk if you have it.
Instant yeast: I always prefer to use instant yeast when making bread as it can just be added straight to the flour and doesn’t need to be activated first. See below for instructions if you only have active dry yeast.
Brown sugar: A bit of sugar feeds the yeast to help the dough rise. Using dark brown sugar also helps to give the pretzel bites their dark colouring and contributes to the flavour. Don't omit it or swap it for white sugar.
Salt: You simply cannot make good bread without salt. Don’t omit it.
Vegan butter: You need a vegan butter/margarine for both the dough and brushing the bites with after they are baked. While in most cases I only recommend using a block butter for baking, in this case a tub variety is fine as well (but not one of the low-fat ones!). I used Naturli Vegan Block.
Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda): Dunking the pretzel bites in a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and hot water before they are baked is what gives them their distinctive flavour and colour.
Traditionally they would be dipped in a lye solution. As lye can be quite dangerous to work with however, like most other home bakers I use a bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) bath instead.
You will need quite a lot of bicarb (5 tablespoons) so make sure you have a fairly full container!
How To Make Vegan Pretzel Bites:
(Full measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page)
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together bread flour, fast action yeast, salt and dark brown soft sugar.
Add beer, lukewarm milk and melted vegan butter and mix to form a rough dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover and set aside to rise until it is doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours at warm room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.
How To Shape The Pretzel Bites:
Punch down the risen dough and give it a very brief knead to knock out the air then divide it into eight even pieces, I use a scale for accuracy. Shape each piece into a ball.
Roll one of the pieces of dough out into a rough square shape. If the dough is sticking you can lightly flour the worksurface and rolling pin.
Roll the dough up tightly into a sausage. Roll over the sausage with your hands to form a rope about 35cm long.
Use a sharp knife to cut the rope into 8 pieces. Place them spaced apart on an oiled board and repeat with the rest of the pieces of dough.
Leave the bites uncovered to rise for about 20-30 minutes, until they are puffy.
Meanwhile preheat the oven and prepare the bicarb bath.
Heat 2 litres of water in a large pan until it comes to the boil then turn down the heat so that it is not even simmering and stir in 5 Tbsp of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda).
Working in about 4 batches, drop the bites into the water and leave for 30 seconds. Use a timer!
Use a large slotted spoon to remove the bites from the bath and place them spaced apart on a couple of lined baking trays.
Sprinkle the tops of the bites with a bit of pretzel salt or flaky sea salt.
Bake the pretzel bites for 8-10 minutes until they are deep brown.
For the best flavour, brush them with plenty of melted butter when they come out of the oven!
As with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup conversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
The bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) bath is a necessary step to make your vegan pretzel bites taste like, well, pretzels. Don't skip it.
Brushing the pretzel bites with melted (vegan) butter when they come out of the oven is optional, but highly, highly recommended.
The dark brown sugar helps to give the pretzel bites their dark colouring and also contributes to the flavour; as well as feeding the yeast to help the dough rise. Don't omit it.
Not all beers are vegan friendly so do check the label just in case. I used Brewdog Dead Pony Club. Any kind of beer will work though I would pick ale over lager and avoid using anything too dark (such as stout or porter).
If you don't want to use beer then you can just use an equal quantity of water instead, the pretzels will still taste great.
Use a timer when you are giving the bites their bicarb bath. If you leave them in for too long they will taste bitter.
You can buy specific pretzel salt which will give you authentic looking pretzels and it is non-melting so won't dissolve. But as it is a little expensive and not commonly available (in the UK at least), you can just use flaky sea salt (Maldon) instead. (I used pretzel salt for the ones in the photos).
What Kind Of Yeast?:
I always use instant yeast when I am baking bread as it doesn’t need to be activated in liquid first, you can just add it straight to the flour. I highly recommend buying instant yeast if possible.
If you are only able to get active dry yeast then you can still use it but the method will be a little different.
Use 10g (3 teaspoons) of active dry yeast. Mix the active dry yeast with the lukewarm milk and a pinch of the sugar. Let it sit for 10-20 minutes until it has become bubbly then proceed with the rest of the recipe as written.
How To Speed Up The Rising Time:
If your room temperature is cold and you want to speed up the rising time a bit then you can heat the oven up on it’s lowest temperature for a couple of minutes then switch it off and open the door for 30 seconds to let some of the heat out.
Hold your hand in there for a few seconds to make sure it isn’t too hot. It should feel warm but not hot, like a warm summer day kind of temperature. If it is too hot it will kill the yeast so be careful!
Place the covered dough in the oven and shut the door. If it is a really cold day then you may need to warm the oven up again after a while but I usually find that once is enough.
Alternatively, place a bowl or loaf tin in the bottom of your (cold, switched off) oven and place the covered dough on the middle shelf. Fill the bowl with boiling water and close the oven door. The steam will create a warm environment for the dough to rise.
Can I Freeze These Vegan Pretzel Bites?:
Yes. Freeze the pretzel bites on the day that they are baked to preserve freshness but make sure that they have cooled completely first.
Freeze them in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Allow to defrost at room temperature then refresh them in a low oven before serving.
Can I Make Them In Advance?:
These vegan pretzel bites really need to be eaten on the day they are baked, the fresher the better (unless you are freezing them). So I don't recommend baking them in advance.
You can make the dough the evening before you want to bake them and let it rise (covered) in the fridge overnight; then continue with the recipe as written the following day.
Can I Make Them Gluten-Free?:
No, I’m afraid that you cannot use gluten free flour. Making gluten free bread is tricky and the entire recipe would need reworking. Gluten free baking is not my area of expertise so I cannot advise you.
It is best to use a recipe that is designed to be gluten free rather than trying to adapt a non gluten free recipe.
What To Serve With Vegan Pretzel Bites:
These vegan pretzel bites are perfect for dunking in a variety of dips. Hummus is great, mustard is traditional and a vegan cheese sauce would be amazing.
Just make sure that whatever you serve them with isn't too salty, as the pretzels are already on the salty side.
The sauce in the photos is a quick sriracha cashew cream. It is very easy to whip up and goes really well with the vegan pretzel bites.
To make it, place 150g raw cashews* in a blender with 180ml hot water, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon sriracha, 1 clove garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground cumin.
Blend until smooth, adding more hot water if needed. Taste and add more salt/sriracha/nutritional yeast as you like. Store covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
*if you don't have a power blender than you will need to soak the cashews first, either in boiling water for 1 hour or in cold water overnight.
More Vegan Sharing Bread Recipes:
- Vegan beer pretzels
- Vegan garlic pull-apart bread
- Vegan pesto bread
- Easy flatbreads
- Vegan garlic naan bread
- Easy vegan cornbread
- Pumpkin bread rolls
If you tried this recipe let me know how it went! Rate it, leave a comment or tag @domestic_gothess on Instagram and hashtag it #domesticgothess
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Vegan Pretzel Bites
- 500 g (4 cups) white bread flour
- 7 g (1 sachet/2 teaspoons) fast action/instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 heaped Tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 200 g (½ + ⅓ cup) beer or water
- 110 g (⅓ cup + 2 Tablespoons) lukewarm unsweetened non-dairy milk (I use soy)
- 40 g (scant 3 Tablespoons) melted vegan butter/margarine
- 2 litres (8 cups) water
- 5 Tablespoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- pretzel salt or flaky sea salt for sprinkling
- 30 g (2 Tablespoons) melted vegan butter/margarine for brushing
- In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar.
- Add the beer or water, lukewarm milk and melted vegan butter and mix to form a rough dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. It should feel quite soft and tacky to the touch but not overly sticky. If it is too wet then knead in a little more flour as needed.
- Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover and set aside to rise until it is doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours at warm room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.
- Punch down the risen dough and give it a very brief knead to knock out the air then divide it into eight even pieces, I use a scale for accuracy. Shape each piece into a ball.
- Roll one of the pieces of dough out into a rough square shape. If the dough is sticking you can lightly flour the worksurface and rolling pin.
- Roll the dough up tightly from one edge into a sausage. Roll over the sausage with your hands to form a rope about 35 cm (14 in) long.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the rope into 8 pieces. Place them spaced apart on an oiled board and repeat with the rest of the pieces of dough.
- Leave the bites uncovered to rise for about 20-30 minutes, until they are puffy.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas mark 7. Line a couple of baking sheets with baking parchment.
- When the bites have nearly finished rising, heat the 2 litres of water in a large pan until it comes to the boil then turn down the heat so that it is not even simmering and stir in the 5 Tbsp of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda).
- Working in about 4 batches, drop the bites into the water and leave for 30 seconds. Use a timer!
- Use a large slotted spoon to remove the bites from the bath and place them spaced apart on the lined baking trays. Sprinkle the tops of the bites with a bit of pretzel salt or flaky sea salt. Repeat with the rest of the bites.
- Bake the pretzel bites for 8-10 minutes until they are deep brown.
- When the pretzel bites come out of the oven, brush them generously with melted vegan butter then transfer them to a wire rack to cool a little before serving.
- See post above for tips, details and step-by-step photos. If you have a question I may have already answered it above!
- As with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup conversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
- I find it easier to weigh out the liquid ingredients using my scale, which is why I have given the amounts in grams. The quantity is the same if using a measuring jug (200ml beer/water and 110ml milk).