Sure you can find soft pretzels in the frozen section at your local grocery, but what about beer soft pretzels? Complete with cheddar-cream cheese spread.
Carbs and cheese might be one of the best appetizer food combinations ever created, improved only by the addition of bacon. While I neglected to add that salty meat into the mix this time, there’s no denying soft homemade pretzels and cheese dip. The inspiration for this ensemble comes from one of my favorite bar foods at the Flying Saucer – soft pretzels served with queso dip (just like Ro*Tel queso dip) and a cheddar-cream cheese spread.
While homemade soft pretzels are a bit of a commitment, it’s worth it in my opinion. I’ve never been disappointed with the end results and since most of the time is spent waiting for the dough to rise it makes for a great weekend project. Speaking of the weekend, why not make them with beer instead of water? Boozy pretzels! You can’t buy those at the store.
I took the opportunity to bust out Red Star’s Platinum yeast for the occasion, being the first yeasted recipe to be made in my kitchen since moving in. (Yes these were made before the skillet rolls I posted on Sunday which btw were also made using Red Star’s Platinum yeast.) Let me tell you, that yeast does some work! And I know my yeast ;-). I may spoil myself by only buying that brand from now on because it’s not as finicky as others I have used in the past.
One year ago: Cookie Dough Oreo Cake
Two years ago: Pepperoni Pasta Bake
Four years ago: Butterscotch Haystack Cookies
HOMEMADE SOFT PRETZELS WITH CHEDDAR-CREAM CHEESE SPREAD
Makes 16 large or 32 miniature
CHEDDAR-CREAM CHEESE SPREAD
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp hot sauce (optional)
2 cups warm (100-110°F) water or beer
3 Tbsp sugar, divided
1 packet (2-1/4 tsp) Red Star Platinum active dry yeast
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp canola or olive oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1 egg lightly beaten with 1 Tbsp water
- In a medium bowl, blend together the dip ingredients. Cover and refrigerate. Remove to room temperature 30 minutes before ready to serve.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or a large bowl) stir together warm water (or beer) and 1 tablespoon sugar. Sprinkle with yeast, and let sit 10 minutes (will be foamy).
- Add 1 cup flour to yeast and mix on low until combined (alternatively in a large bowl stir with wooden spoon). Add salt and 4 cups more flour, and mix until combined. Beat on medium-low until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Add another 1/2 cup flour if the dough is still sticky, and knead until combined and smooth.
- Pour oil into a large bowl and swirl to coat sides. Transfer dough to bowl, turning dough to completely cover all sides. Cover with a kitchen towel, and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.
- Heat oven to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Punch down dough to remove bubbles. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Knead once or twice, divide into 16 pieces for large or 32 for miniature pretzels. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Roll one piece of dough at a time into an 18-inch-long strip for large or 10-inch for miniature. Twist into pretzel shape; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Let pretzels rest until they rise slightly, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, fill large, shallow pot with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Add baking soda and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and reduce to a simmer. Add three to four pretzels to water and poach 1 minute on each side. Use slotted spoon to transfer pretzels to prepared baking sheets. Continue until all pretzels are poached.
- Brush pretzels with egg mixture and sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on wire rack, or eat warm*.
* Pretzels are best when eaten the same day, but will keep at room temperature, uncovered, for two days. Do not store in covered container or they will become soggy.
Source: Adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen.
Disclosure: Red Star Yeast provided me with a complimentary strip of their Platinum yeast. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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