Soft Pretzels and Beer Cheese
Updated: Mar 30, 2021
Don't be intimidated by this recipe! It's actually pretty simple, and twisting a pretzel is easier than you think. The key to the golden brown crust on a pretzel is boiling for about half a minute in water with baking soda in it. While the pretzels are baking, you can whip up your beer cheese- it takes just a few minutes to make!
Recipe adapted from Seasons + Suppers: https://www.seasonsandsuppers.ca/soft-pretzels-beer-cheese/
1 packet dry active yeast (about 2 and a 1/4 tablespoons)
1 tbsp granulated white sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (100-110 degrees F)
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp melted butter
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg yolk (for brushing over pretzels)
Coarse sea salt (for sprinkling over pretzels)
For boiling pretzels:
10 cups water
1/2 cup baking soda
Beer cheese ingredients:
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup beer of your choosing
1 cup milk
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tsp grainy mustard
1/2 tsp cajun seasoning (I like Tony Chachere's)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 1/2 to 3 cups grated cheddar cheese (hand grate this from a block for best melting)
Run warm water through your stand mixer bowl to warm it, then dump out.
Add warm water, sugar, and yeast to the mixer bowl and stir; let rest 5 minutes.
Add melted butter, salt, and about 3 cups of flour; using your dough hook, mix until combined. Slowly add the rest of the flour until the dough comes away from the edges of the bowl, then knead with the hook or by hand for about 5 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky but not stick to your finger when touched.
Move the dough to a greased bowl and cover with a towel to rest for about 50-60 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.
Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface, and divide into 8 equal size pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and rest, covered with a towel, about 5-10 minutes.
While they rest, start boiling 10 cups of water, preheat your oven to 450 F, and line a baker's half sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out each dough piece to about 24 inches long. To form the pretzel, make a loop with ends overlapping. Twist the ends once more. Then, pick up the ends together and bring them up and over the loop to form a pretzel shape (if this is confusing, see my YouTube video - link will be posted Tuesday!).
Pour baking soda into boiling water. Gently place two pretzels at a time in the boiling water and boil for about 30 seconds each. Use a slotted spoon or spatula to remove the pretzel from the water and place on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the boiled pretzels with the egg yolk and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add flour, stirring constantly for about a minute. Add beer and stir until smooth. Add milk, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, cajun seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and stir gently, cooking until thickened. Take off of heat and add cheese, stirring gently until melted and combined. Serve warm with pretzels.