If images of Auntie Anne’s are happily floating to mind, I completely understand. I never considered making homemade soft pretzels until recently and now I’m wondering how I ever lived without them (and the IPA beer cheese dip)…
So far, we’re really liking our new home. When we started moving boxes in, we got an invite for a pumpkin carving and potluck afternoon, so right away I felt a little more at home.
The potluck was this last weekend. With an October/Oktober theme, I knew I wanted to bring homemade soft pretzels. Then my sister suggested I make a beer cheese dip to go with it and we were all set to go.
The soft pretzels were super yummy. They tasted like the real thing. And my many minutes of watching the pretzel-makers at Auntie Anne’s twirl pretzels finally came in handy!
Needless to say, the best beer cheese dip and some great mustards made us welcome members to the neighborhood!
homemade soft pretzels
Homemade pretzels are pretty freakin’ delicious. They have the same great taste as the ones you’ve had – though maybe more dependably delicious since you know exactly when they were made.
I’m also preferring them homemade because you get total control over the crispiness (I like mine a little crispier) and the saltiness! No surprise that I like soft pretzels with a bit more salt too!
If you’re looking for a cheese dip without beer, try this Baked Ricotta as a dip!
How do you make homemade pretzels?
Once you get your dough ready (rather like pizza dough to be honest), then you have to put in a bit of elbow grease for homemade soft pretzel that look the part.
Of course, you could always skip the twist and just enjoy the flavor!
You’ll need to break off appropriate size chunks and then roll it into a rope to twist. Since the dough is full of gluten, it’s rather stretchy, but it shrinks up almost as easily as it stretches out.
I didn’t allow enough time the first time or two for rolling, so just give yourself PLENTY of time for this part.
After you’ve got your rope, grab both ends and pull together as though you’re making a circle. Then I just cross my hands (still holding onto the rope end) to create the twist. Pinch the ends back to the bottom of the pretzel.
Then comes the water bath (fill with baking soda) to help get that crispy outside. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet for the egg wash and then some time in the oven.
DO NOT skip the parchment paper or using a silpat. Your pretzels will never come off the baking tray in one piece if you do!!
Check out these parchment paper replacements for a low waste kitchen!
best beer cheese dip for pretzels
I’m actually not a big beer person, but beer cheese is pretty stinkin’ delicious! I like using an IPA because it has that full-bodied flavor. You can use more or less depending on your preferences.
Beer cheese dip sounds complicated, but it’s actually the easiest thing. And for a game day (not just Oktoberfest), it would be perfect with a bunch of recipes – not just homemade soft pretzels!!
Looking for other appetizer recipes?
Here are all my appetizer recipes, but here are a few favorites:
Want to sneak in some veggies and/or have some plant-based guests? This vegetarian & vegan appetizer are a delicious veggie-filled fritter that everyone will love!
I can’t tell you how simple these Mexican appetizers are (they’re black bean tortilla pinwheels) or how much everybody loves them!
If you need a last minute appetizer, however, nothing beats this fruit appetizer board – made with whatever fruit is in your fridge these days!
SOFT PRETZELS + IPA BEER CHEESE DIP
- 1½ cups warm water
- 1 packet active dry yeast 2 ¼ teaspoons
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 cups plus more flour
- 3 eggs beaten
- coarse sea salt
- 8 cups water
- ½ cup heaping baking soda
IPA Beer Cheese Dip
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- ½ cup milk
- ¾ cup IPA or other dark beer
- 1 teaspoon deli mustard
- 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
- hot sauce (I added a few dashes and didn't get a spicy flavor at all)
- 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper (see note above).
- Boil 8 cups of water and heaping ½ cup of baking soda.
- Beat eggs in a shallow bowl, wide enough for the pretzels.
- Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl with high sides. Stir about one minute to mix thoroughly. Add salt and sugar. Stir to combine. Add flour, one cup at a time to yeast mixture. Mix using a wooden spoon until thick (each addition of flour makes stirring more difficult). Continue adding ½ cup flour until dough is no longer sticky.
- On a floured surface or in the bowl, knead dough for 2-3 minutes. Shape into a ball. With a sharp knife, cut dough into 18 equal pieces.
- Roll each dough piece into a rope. Grab ends of rope and curl rope into a circle. Twist rope ends once and stick them to bottom of pretzel. They don’t have to be mashed together, but a few pinches at each connection makes the rest of the process much easier.
- Dunk the pretzels 1-2 at a time into baking soda bath for 30 seconds.
- Using a spatula or spoon with holes makes dunking and removing the pretzels from the hot bath much easier.
- Dunk both side of the pretzels into egg wash. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes for desired doneness.
Beer Cheese Dip
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add the flour and stir constantly until thoroughly combined.
- Slowly whisk in milk and beer. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a simmer – it will be foamy. Add the mustard, worcestershire, and hot sauce.
- Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.
- Add cheese into mixture one handful at a time, melting completely between each addition. Serve immediately. Dip will thicken as it cools.