If you’re able to walk past your mall’s version of Auntie Anne’s without getting weak in the knees and/or attacking the free sample guy, count yourself lucky, and maybe have someone check your pulse. I’m a sucker for a soft pretzel, and having grown up in Amish country, I’m lucky to have the real deal as my barometer for doughy, buttery, salty goodness.
This recipe is my take on the Amish way, with beer added, of course. In my humble opinion a beer boil is what really sets these guys off. They come out golden, buttery, doughy, beer-y, and super yummy!
Since I’m posting these the week of the big dance, I’m hoping you’ll add them to your spread, and while they certainly stand on their own, who’s gonna complain about two beer dipping sauces to go along side?
Both sauces are super easy to throw together, and make plenty. For the mustard sauce I wanted mine super spicy so I used Horseradish Mustard from French’s. You’ll have tons left over, and it’s great on chicken, or with mayo added for a spread, or salad dressing. For the cheese dip make sure your cheese has been left out and softened a bit. The cheese dip also makes a ton and is delicious on eggs, or as a sandwich spread.
The first time I made soft pretzels it was quite the fiasco, so if you’re new to the process check out some tutorials on shaping them, but use my recipe of course. Happy twisting!
Beer Boiled Soft Pretzels
1 cup warm water, one minute in microwave should do the trick
3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 package active dry yeast
2 2/3 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted + 8 tablespoons butter, melted, for dipping
2 tablespoons course salt
8 cups water
1/2 cup amber beer, I used Bear Republic Red Rocket
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 egg whites beaten + 2 tablespoons water
vegetable oil, for baking sheets
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine water and sugar. Sprinkle yeast on top and let rest for 10 minutes, don’t stir.
Add flour and 2 tablespoons of melted butter to the yeast mixture, mixing well. When the dough is ready it should pull away from the bowl and retain a ball shape.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, but still slightly tacky, about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.
After dough has risen, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and brush with vegetable oil.
Punch dough to deflate, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope, approximately 30 inches long; this can be achieved by starting in the middle of each piece and rolling outwards with the palm of your hand. When rope is long enough, slap the center on the counter to increase length. Form each into the shape of a pretzel, starting with a U shape, criss-crossing each side, then pulling the legs down over the bottom of the U. Allow pretzels to rest for approximately 15-20 minutes before sending them to the beer boil.
In a large pot combine water, beer, baking soda, and brown sugar over medium high heat. When mixture has reached a simmer, place pretzel in, one at a time, allowing to cook for 10 seconds, then flipping to the other side for an additional 10 seconds. Lift the pretzel from the beer boil, allowing to it to drain and transfer to baking sheet.
After all pretzels have been boiled, brush each with egg wash and sprinkle with salt.
Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
While pretzels are baking, melt remaining 8 tablespoons of butter in a wide, shallow dish.
Dip the hot pretzels in the butter, turning to coat; place on a wire rack to let excess butter drip off. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
12 ounces Pale Ale, I used Smuttynose Shoal’s Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale would be great too
1/2 cup yellow mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Simmer beer until reduced by half. Stir in mustard, brown sugar, mustard powder, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce; cool.
Beer Cheese Dip
1/2 pound Extra-sharp white cheddar, cubed
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 cup Pilsner beer, I used Victory Prima Pils
Pulse cheese in a food processor until finely chopped. Add mustard, salt, sugar, and beer; process until smooth.