Your Guide to Gameday

YOUR GUIDE TO GAMEDAY

Football season is here. Gameday is the perfect way to get everyone together in a relaxed setting. And it’s so nice to have the guys happy and occupied for hours on end!

So the entertainment is covered, now for the snacks!  When planning out your gameday menu, here are some valuable recommendations to keep in mind!

PREP – Do as much work as you can the night before or the morning of. That way you can quickly set out the food then kick back and enjoy the game with friends!

SET AROUND – Make sure and place snacks in unsuspecting places that people might want to nibble like the bar or kitchen island, nuts and candies are perfect! 

VARIETY- Have an assortment of flavors and textures: sweet, savory and even some healthy green options
BIT SIZE – Bit size or individual sized appetizers are great for grazing guests and are not intimidating for your company to help themselves!  

ROOM TEMP – Make being a hostess easier on yourself, prepare foods that can sit out at room temperature!

CROCK POT – If you want to serve something hot, try a crockpot!

Here is one of our favorite gameday recipes from Lil Vienna.

THE FLUFFIEST PRETZEL BITES

Ingredients:

For the dough:
    • 1 cup (240 ml) warm milk
    • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
    • 1 ½ teaspoons (5 grams) active dry yeast
    • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    • 2 cups + 3 tablespoons (310 g) bread flour (all-purpose is ok too), plus extra for dusting
    • 1 teaspoon fine salt
To „pretzel“:
    • For soda bath: 4 cups (or 1 liter) water + 1/4 cup (60 g) baking soda OR
    • For brushing: 1/4 cup (60 ml) water + 1 teaspoon baking soda
To finish (optional):
  • For brushing: 1 egg (yolk only is even better), beaten with 1½ teaspoons milk
  • For sprinkling: sesame seeds or coarse salt (see note)

Instructions

Making the dough
    1. Combine milk and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add yeast to milk-sugar mixture and let it stand for 5 minutes to dissolve.
    2. With a sturdy spoon, stir in butter, then 1/2 of the flour, and salt. Mix it thoroughly, and then add the remaining flour. Mix the ingredients until they come together to a sticky dough.
    3. With floured or greased hands, try to fold the edges of the dough into the center a couple of times. If the dough is too sticky, add 1 more tablespoon (not more) flour, mix it into the dough and try again. If still too sticky, cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 5 minutes. After that, the dough is workable.
    4. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead until smooth, about 5 to 10 minutes. The dough should still be moist and a little sticky.
    5. Oil a clean mixing bowl and return the dough to the bowl. Let it rise covered for 1 hour, or until almost doubled in bulk.
Making the bites
    1. Transfer the dough to an unfloured work surface, and divide it into 4 equal pieces. Roll each of them into an 18-inch (45 cm) rope. This usually works best without any flour – sometimes even slightly moistened hands help. Cut each rope crosswise into 11 pieces. Roll each piece back and forth, in case the bites have deformed due to cutting.
Option 1: Baking soda bath (has a slightly more intense “pretzel”-taste but is a little bit more time- and work-consuming)
    1. Transfer the pretzel bites onto one large or two smaller generously floured baking sheets lined with wax paper, giving each room to grow. Let them rest at room temperature for 30 minutes until they have puffed up noticeably.
    2. Put them in the fridge for 1 hour or pop them in the freezer for 10 minutes to get them firm so they hold their shape in the soda bath.
    3. Prepare two sheets of parchment paper that will fit your baking sheets. If not using parchment paper do not use aluminum baking sheets.
    4. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
    5. Bring 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan to a boil and carefully add the baking soda (it will foam up), stir to dissolve. A stainless steel saucepan is best; aluminum reacts with the baking soda.
    6. Remove the bites from the fridge, transfer the wax paper from the sheet to the counter, and line the baking sheets with parchment paper.
    7. Remove the saucepan from heat and poach the bites for 20 seconds in solution (gently dip them under the water with a spoon after 10 seconds). Do this in batches, each about 10-15 bites. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pretzels to the prepared parchment-paper lined baking sheets (I need two sheets) with enough space in between them. Immediately sprinkle them with salt or sesame – they only stick while the dough is moist – unless you brush them with egg wash (see next step). Continue until all pretzels are poached.
    8. If you want your pretzel bites glossy, brush the bites with egg wash after you have poached all of them and sprinkle with sesame or salt. Place the baking sheets into the oven and bake until the bites are golden brown (about 12-15 minutes).
Option 2: Brushing with baking soda wash
  1. Transfer the pretzel bites onto one large or two smaller baking sheets lined with parchment paper, giving each room to grow. Let them rest at warm room temperature for 30 minutes until they have puffed up noticeably. You don’t have to put them into the fridge.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  3. Heat 1/4 cup of water – I usually heat it in a small bowl in the microwave until boiling – and then carefully add 1 teaspoon of baking soda (it will foam up), stir to dissolve.
  4. Thoroughly brush bites with soda wash. When you are finished brushing all of them, start from the beginning and brush them a second time.
  5. Immediately sprinkle them with salt or sesame – they only stick while the dough is wet – unless you brush them with egg wash (see next step).
  6. If you want your pretzel bites glossy, brush the bites with egg wash after you have brushed all of them two times with soda wash, and sprinkle with sesame or salt. I usually finish one baking sheet, put it into the oven and in the meantime I prepare the second sheet. Place the baking sheet into the 400 °F preheated oven and bake until the bites are golden brown (about 12-15 minutes).
  7. Let the pretzel bites cool for a few minutes and serve them warm with your favorite dip (I love them with cheese-dip).

Notes

They are best when freshly baked. If you are not going to enjoy them immediately, store the bites in a container at room temperature. Reheat briefly in a 400 °F preheated oven before serving. Enjoy salt-sprinkled bites immediately since the salt will dissolve when stored overnight.

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