Soft baked pretzels have a special place in my heart. It’s not the crisp and salty golden crust, or the soft, warm middle. It’s the fact that homemade pretzels were one of my first tangles with baking. In the midst of pre-teen angst, I learned how to make pretzels in middle school home economics. Besides learning how to do a backstitch, Home-Ec helps tie the knot on my love for cooking.
But, alas, in my adult years those golden goodies from my pre-teen days seemed to be resigned only to ballgames and mall food courts.
That is until now! 2019 is the year of the pretzel! Have you noticed soft baked pretzels on pub menus all over New England? Pretty impressive for the twisted bready treats to make headway in this world of gluten-free menus. Personally, I’m thrilled to see these simple treats back on the scene.
So, when we had an impromptu snow day, I decided to rekindle my love for making pretzels and then share them with my two boys.
A few “twists” on my pretzels – I topped them with bacon and cheddar and cooked them in bacon fat. I’m a little embarrassed about the last part, but hey, bacon makes everything better!
Of course, I don’t want to forget about the dip! These are perfect with just butter, but since I was already going all out with the bacon fat, why not make some beer cheese dip too? 🙂
Without adieu, here’s how to make your own soft baked pretzels! It’s pretty easy and a fun cooking activity to do with the kiddos!
Bacon Cheddar Pretzels
I used whole wheat flour, only for the purpose of going with a less-processed flour. I’m sure you could use a gluten-free option if you wanted.
- 1 packet of dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups of hot water
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 2 ounces of melted butter
- 4 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
Largepot of water
- cup of baking soda
- egg yolk with a little bit of water
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 strips of bacon, finely diced
- Bacon fat
- Place the hot water, sugar, salt, and yeast into a bowl. Let it sit for about 7 minutes, or until it gets nice and frothy.
- Add melted butter and slowly add flour. I used an electric mixer with the dough attachment on medium speed. Knead the dough for about five minutes, or until it forms one solid ball and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.
- Grease ball of dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place. This can be anywhere from 50 minutes until two hours. Generally, it should become about half the size.
- Preheat oven to 450, put bacon grease on a cooking parchment-lined sheet pan.
- Boil water and baking soda.
- Grab large meatball-sized pieces of dough. Roll and stretch on a clean surface until about 15 inches long. Form your pretzel and plop into the water for about one minute. Put onto the parchment-lined sheet pan.
- Once complete, glaze with egg yolk, sprinkle with cheese & bacon and a touch of kosher salt. The bacon will already be salty, so you wouldn’t need as much as if you were making them plain.
- Bake for about 14 to 17 minutes.
- Get your sauce ready while those little suckers bake.
Beer Cheese Dip
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 3 tablespoons of flour
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 cup of beer
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon of dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
- 2 cups of shredded Gouda
- Melt butter and add flour, whisk to form a roux.
- Add milk, cream, beer, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook on medium and stir frequently until the mixture thickens.
- Add dry mustard, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Slowly add shredded cheese.
- Stir until all melted and lumps are gone.