Homemade Soft Pretzel & Beer Cheese

Take the Contra Costa County Beer Trail home with you with our Homemade Soft Pretzel and Epidemic Ales Beer Cheese recipe. These crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and salty treats are the perfect sidekick to an ice cold brew. Pro Tip: These pretzels also go great with Concord Tap House’s spicy mustard, Boss Sauce!

Ingredients for Pretzels

  • 1 ½ cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tsp kosher salt
  • 2 ½ Tsp active dry yeast
  • 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour 
  • ¼ cup butter, melted 
  • Vegetable oil 
  • 10 cups of water
  • ⅔ cup baking soda
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • Pretzel or kosher salt 

Ingredients for Beer Cheese

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup beer (Try Epidemic Ales award winning Lager at Worlds End)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (smooth or grainy)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) freshly-shredded cheese (we used half sharp cheddar, half smoked gouda)
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray with oil. Set aside. 
  3. Combine the 1 ½ cups of warm water, brown sugar, and kosher salt in a mixing bowl 
  4. Sprinkle the active dry yeast over the top of the warm water and let it sit about 10 minutes until it gets bubbly.
  5. Place your dough under the mixer, fitted with a dough hook, and add in the flour and melted butter. 
  6. Let the mixer run for about 4 minutes, until the dough comes away from the bowl and is nice and smooth. 
  7. Form the dough into a ball, and place in a clean, oiled bowl. Turn the dough to coat it in the oil. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size. 
  8. When the dough is risen, grab a large pot and put 2 quarts plus 2 cups of water in it along with the baking soda. Bring the water to a full boil. 
  9. Retrieve your dough while the water is heating up.
  10. Turn it out on a lightly oiled surface and cut into 8 equal portions.
  11. Take one portion and roll into a long snake, about 2 feet long. To shape the pretzel, bring the ends up, twist once, and then again. Turn the ends down towards the bottom, and press the ends gently against the dough where it crosses. 
  12. With a slotted spatula, place the pretzel in the boiling water for 30 seconds.
  13. Lift the pretzel out and place on the baking sheet.
  14. Repeat the process with the remaining 7 pretzels.
  15. Beat the yolk with a tablespoon of water in a small dish and brush the tops of the pretzels with the mixture.
  16. Sprinkle with pretzel salt or kosher salt.
  17. Bake the pretzels for 12-14 minutes or until dark golden brown.
  18. While baking the pretzels, start your beer cheese. Begin with making a roux. Heat butter in a large saucepan or sauté pan over medium-high heat until melted.  Add flour, and whisk until completely combined.
  19. Add in the beer, milk, Dijon, Worcestershire and smoked paprika.  Whisk until smooth.  Continue cooking until the mixture has thickened (and has nearly reached a simmer).  Add cheese and whisk until smooth.
  20. Reduce heat to low.  Taste and season the dip with salt and pepper, as needed.
  21. Grab pretzels out of the over and serve with beer cheese while hot. Enjoy!

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