Bringing Back Happy Memories
Food has the power to bring back memories. The smell, the texture, the shape, the taste — all of our senses are at work! When you enjoy food from your past, you recall how you felt during the moment you ate it. This soft pretzel recipe will flood back happy memories of the ballpark, special family outings, Auntie Anne’s, or living life as a carefree kid! For the adult version of a soft pretzel, we paired it with a warm beer cheese dip.
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 1 packet of active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar or granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for hands and work surface
- Vegetable oil for the bowl and pan
- 10 cups water
- ⅔ cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Pretzel salt or sea coarse salt
Whisk the yeast into warm water, and allow it to sit for 4 minutes. Whisk in salt, brown sugar, and melted butter. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon (or paddle attached to a stand mixer) until dough is thick. Add 1 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add 1/4 cup more, as needed. When the dough forms a cohesive mass and feels bouncy when you poke it, knead by hand. If using a mixer, switch from the paddle attachment to the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth but still slightly tacky, about 5 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a clean, lightly oil-greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place for approximately 1-2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil.
Bring 10 cups of water and baking soda to a rolling boil in a large quart saucepan.
Turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface, and use pizza cutter to divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other, and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half-sheet pan.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, one at a time, for 30 seconds each. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half-sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture, and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Warm Beer Cheese Dip
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup milk
- ⅔ cup of Island Coastal Lager
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups sharp cheddar shredded
- 1 cup gruyere or swiss cheese, shredded
Melt butter, flour, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper over medium heat in a saucepan, and cook for a few minutes, whisking (watch to not burn the butter!). Stir in milk and beer a bit at a time, whisking until smooth. Cook over medium heat, add mustard and Worcestershire, and cook sauce until thick. Reduce heat to low, add cheeses, and stir just until melted and smooth. Serve warm with soft pretzels.