Making these pretzels is a perfect way to spend a chilly day, and it is so worth it when your house fills with delicious baking smells, not to mention the sheer delight that comes from tasting one fresh out of the oven!
Makes about a dozen pretzels
- 2 cups water, room temperature
- 5 Tbsp. butter
- ½ tsp. malt syrup, can sub. dark honey or molasses
- 1 Tbsp. plus ½ tsp. iodized salt, not to be subbed with kosher salt as iodized has a higher salinity
- 2 (1/4 oz.) packets active dry yeast (I recommend Red Star)
- 6 1/3 cups bread flour
- 1/3 cup baking soda
- 2 cups boiling water
- pretzel salt or coarse grain salt
To make dough, add water, butter, malt syrup and salt to mixing bowl. Mix in yeast and flour.
Mix on low speed (speed 1) for 2-3 minutes until a dough starts to form. This stage is called “shaggy mass” and that is exactly what it will look like. Next, bring the mixer to speed 2 and mix for 5-6 minutes or until the dough looks fully incorporated and smooth. You can finish kneading by hand if the dough is too tough for your mixer.
Let dough proof in a covered bowl lightly sprayed with pan spray so that it doesn’t stick. Proof at room temp for about an hour.
While dough is proofing, make dipping solution: in a wide, deep bowl, combine baking soda with boiling water and stir until soda has dissolved. Allow to cool while you shape pretzels.
Turn dough out onto table. No extra flour is needed for shaping this dough. In fact, the dough gets too slippery with no resistance when shaping if the dough can’t lightly stick to the surface of the table.
Cut about 1 dozen 6 oz. portions of dough. Shape each portion into a long log using the palms of your hands to roll it back and forth against the counter. Work from the middle of the dough outward.
Roll out to at least 20 inches in length before shaping your pretzel. It’s longer than you may expect but the dough tends to shrink back on itself. It helps to roll out part of the way, let the dough rest a few minutes if it’s resisting too much, then roll the rest of the way.
Bring the two ends together to form a circle. Twist the ends of the dough together and cross. (Once or twice depending on your preference) Then fold the twisted ends of pretzel over onto the base of the circle and gently press the ends into the bottom curve.
Let the pretzels rise until slightly puffy, about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Dip pretzels in baking soda solution, sprinkle generously with coarse salt and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or beautifully golden brown.
Serve with coarse mustard or Beer Cheese Dip.
Beer Cheese Dip
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 3 Tbsp. flour
- ¾ cup milk, divided
- ½ cup beer (lager or ale)
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne
- 3 cups shredded cheese (we use cheddar, mozzarella and gouda combined)
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour.
Remove pan from heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons of the milk until smooth. Then whisk in 2 more tablespoons milk. Add 1/4 cup of the milk and whisk until smooth followed by the final 1/4 cup of milk.
Stir in the beer, Dijon, garlic powder, salt and cayenne. Return pan to medium heat and stir until thick and bubbling, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add the cheese one big handful at a time, whisking after each addition to melt it in. Taste and add more garlic, salt and cayenne if desired. Garnish with a pinch more cayenne.
Serve warm and enjoy. This is a great dip for game day, or a quick snack with bread or veggies to dip!