There is nothing I love more than a good soft pretzel. Nate and I were invited to an Oscar party, which I thought would be a great chance to make these little bites. It’s not really Oscar fare, but they are bite size and good for snacking. You could easily use this recipe to make pretzel sticks or full on pretzels. I’m sure I’ll be trying a new twist (get it) sooner or later. Nate wasn’t digging the cheese sauce at first, so I altered the original recipe just a bit to make it a tad more creamy. I also kneaded the dough mostly by hand as my stand mixer couldn’t handle such a large quantity of dough.
Pretzel Bites with Creamy Cheese Sauce
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
2 1/4 Tsp instant yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
2 tbsp butter, melted
Pretzel or Kosher salt
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together water, yeast, and sugar. Add flour and 4 tbsp melted butter and mix on low-speed until well combined. Increase speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4-5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a well oiled bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough doubles in size.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Bring 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a large saucepan or roasting pan. Turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal parts. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope and slice each rope into 1-inch pieces. Place a damp towel over the pretzel pieces to prevent them from drying out while you work.
3. Using a slotted spoon, lower a handful (I did 1/4 at a time) of pretzel pieces into the boiling water and boil for 30 seconds. Remove and drain the best you can, then place them on the baking sheets. Repeat with remaining pieces.
4. Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown in color, approximately 12-15 minutes.
Creamy Cheese Sauce
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/4 heavy cream
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1. In a small sauce pan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in the milk and cream until no lumps of flour remain.
2. Stirring constantly, bring the milk to a simmer over medium-low heat until it thickens, about 3-5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheese until all of the cheese is melted. Add salt to taste if necessary. Serve warm.