One the great joys in life is a freshly made pretzel, warm out of the oven. This was my first attempt at making Tavern Style Beer Pretzels and I have to say they were just as good as the pretzels I had in Germany!
If you’ve never made pretzels, you don’t know what you’re missing. They’re really easy to make and are great for a game day snack or family night.
And when you serve those ah-mazing warm pretzels with a creamy cheddar cheese sauce, it just doesn’t get any better.
What do I need to make Beer Pretzels?
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make Tavern Style Beer Pretzels In Chef Speak this is called the Mise en Place which translates into Everything in its Place.
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed the cooking process, but it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
Do I have to use beer to make the pretzels?
No, you don’t. You can use a non-alcoholic beer or simply substitute the same amount of water, sparkling water, or milk for the beer.
What kind of beer should I use to make beer pretzels?
It really doesn’t matter what type of beer you use for the pretzels, I used an amber ale for mine, but feel free to use a wheat beer, or Guinness stout or your favorite craft beer.
In other words, use what you like to drink.
How do I make Tavern Style Beer Pretzels?
Using a saucepot or the microwave, heat the beer to 105 -110 degrees.
*If you get the beer too hot it can kill the yeast. Too cool and it will take longer for the dough to rise.
In a large bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warmed beer. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together. Cover with a kitchen towel and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
**If the mixture hasn’t foamed, the yeast is dead and you need to try again with new yeast. If it doesn’t foam the recipe will not work.
While the beer mixture is resting, mix the sea salt into the flour.
Start by adding two-thirds of the flour into the beer mixture. Work the flour in with a large spoon until blended. Add the remainder of the flour and work it into the dough until fully incorporated.
Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead for 6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place the pretzel dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Can I use a Stand Mixer to make the pretzels?
Yes, you certainly can. I was away from home and my three mixers when I decided to make the pretzels. So I went old-school and made them by hand. Feel free to use your mixer. They weren’t hard to make but a mixer would definitely make the process easier.
Here is the process for the stand mixer:
- Whisk together the beer, yeast, and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow to sit for 5-7 minutes to activate yeast, then add the melted butter.
- Attach dough hook to stand mixer. Add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until dough starts to come together. Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue to mix for 3-5 minutes until the dough is smooth and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
- Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature in a warm draft-free area of your kitchen for one at least one hour, or until the dough has doubled in volume.
Once the dough has doubled, punch the dough down and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Divide and shape the dough into 8 balls.
**Alternatively, you could work the dough out to an 8-inch by 14-inch sheet and cut it into eight strips.
Chef Dennis Tip:
Keep the dough covered with plastic wrap as you work with individual pieces so the dough doesn’t dry out.
To make the iconic pretzel shape, start by forming the rolled-out dough into a “U”. Cross the two ends over each other twice, leaving a circle at the other end.
Take the ends and secure them to the bottom of the circle. Place the formed pretzel on a parchment-lined (or lightly greased) baking sheet. Keep the pretzels covered with plastic wrap while you repeat with the remaining strips of dough.
**Allow shaped pretzels to rest for 15-20 minutes.
After the pretzels have rested, it’s time for the boiling step. Add 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a deep skillet or large pot and bring to a boil.
Carefully add the pretzels 2 at a time and cook for 30 seconds. With a ladle or large spoon pour the water over the tops of the pretzels as they cook.
**Carefully remove the pretzels with a slotted spoon or spatula and drain well on a wire rack or paper towels.
Brush the pretzels with the egg yolk wash, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt or pretzel salt. Use as much or as little salt as you like.
What ingredients do I need to make beer cheese sauce?
While the pretzels are baking, start making your beer cheese sauce.
As with the pretzels, you don’t have to use beer in the cheese sauce, but it does add a nice flavor. And all the alcohol will burn off as the cheese sauce cooks.
**If you decide against adding beer, use can replace the beer with milk.
Start the cheese sauce by adding the beer and milk to a small saucepan. Once the mixture gets hot, add in the cream cheese, using a wire whisk to blend the cream cheese into the liquids.
Next add in the cheddar, mozzarella, and the optional seasoning. I like adding mozzarella to the sauce because it adds a stretchy quality to the finished cheese sauce.
**I honestly like the cheese sauce without the seasoning, but it is a way to add some heat or other flavors to the sauce.
The only thing left to do is enjoy those delicious beer pretzels and cheddar cheese dipping sauce. I promise there won’t be a pretzel left in the house after you serve these beauties to your family and friends.
Chef Dennis Tip:
If you want to make your pretzels a little more decadent, brush them with melted butter right after they come out of the oven. They’ll be even better than your favorite mall pretzel!