One of my favorite things in this world is a soft chewy pretzel. Sadly, most of the pretzels you find commercially these days are just sub-par excuses for what a pretzel should be – doughy twists of sadness. Sure, they’re edible dunked in mustard or cheese sauce, but I’m trying to live my best life y’all. Life is too short to eat shitty pretzels.
I’d made pretzel buns a few years ago, and they were surprisingly easy. Not to mention that they turned out absolutely delicious, and gorgeous. I was worried about the whole boiling process, but it was no big thing – it’s as easy as cooking pasta.
These pretzel bites use the same process. There isn’t much rising time for the dough, so they can be made in a relatively short timeframe – perfect for snacking/munching/party purposes. They’re addicting, and you can’t help but eat “just one more”.
Then, there’s the sauce. Beer and cheese are awesome together to begin with, but in liquid form – kicked up with a little mustard and Old Bay? Pure heaven in a bowl. Do yourself a favor and pick up a six-pack on your way home one night soon, make these pretzels, and enjoy someone’s company – or Netflix and your couch. No judgement.
Pretzel Bites with Cheddar Beer Sauce
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 TBsp light brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp butter, melted
3 3/4 – 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour + additional for dusting
1/2 cup baking soda
1 large egg, beaten
coarse sea salt for sprinkling
For the sauce:
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk, divided
1/2 cup beer (lager or ale)
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp Old Bay
2 tsp hot sauce
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Combine warm water and yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Let sit 5 minutes. Add salt, brown sugar, and melted butter, whisk to combine. Add 3 cups of flour and mix on low for about 30 seconds, until a very shaggy dough forms. Switch to the dough hook, and slowly add up to 1 cup of additional flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Dough should spring back when poked.
Lightly flour your counter and turn dough out onto it. Knead dough for about 3 minutes until smooth and elastic. Form into a ball and place into a large oiled bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm area for about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside. Fill a large dutch oven or pot with water and the baking soda, and bring to a boil over high heat while you’re prepping the pretzel bites.
With a sharp knife, cut ball of dough into 6 sections. Roll the dough into six 20-inch long ropes. Cut the rope into 1.5 inch pieces to make bites. Drop 10 pretzel bites into the baking soda/water solution and let cook for 20 seconds. Remove with a round mesh skimmer and place onto the prepared baking sheet, taking care to keep them separated on the sheet. Repeat with remaining bites.
Brush beaten egg over each pretzel bite. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and place on serving dish along with sauce.
While pretzels are baking, make the sauce. Melt butter in a small saucepan, add in the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Slowly add the beer and 1/2 cup milk, whisking constantly until thickened. Add the dijon, salt, Old Bay, and hot sauce. Then add cheese, a handful at a time – whisking constantly until melted and combined. If sauce seems thick, add the remaining milk to get the consistency you’d like.
Pretzel bites can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Source: adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction