Homemade Pretzel Bites with Sriracha Beer Cheese

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I’m a sucker for anything cheesy, and beer cheese is a particularly guilty pleasure of mine. It’s quick and easy to make, and it tastes absolutely delicious with everything from tortilla chips to French fries to the soft pretzels I’ll be posting about today. I’ve already written down a recipe for spent grain pretzels, but this one is for mall-style soft pretzels made with regular flour and is easily accessible for everyone. It’s a great snack to munch on during a video game binge (Kingdom Hearts 3, anyone?) or while watching the Superbowl, and is a definite crowd-pleaser because who doesn’t love bread and cheese? Losers, that’s who. 

This recipe makes 24-28 soft pretzel bites and about 2 cups beer cheese. 

Pretzel Bite Ingredients:

  • 1 packet (2 ¼ tsp) dry active yeast
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 ¾ cup warm water
  • 7 tbsp melted butter
  • 5 cups unbleached flour (all-purpose)
  • 2 ½ tsp salt
  • 10 cups cold water
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Sriracha Beer Cheese Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp unbleached flour (all-purpose)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup water
  • 8 oz (about ¾ 12oz can or bottle) beer, any kind
  • ¼ cup sriracha
  • 2 cup grated pepper jack cheese
  • 1 tsp salt

Pretzel Bite Directions:

  1. Add sugar, yeast, butter, and 1 ¾ cup warm water to the largest bowl you own and mix until combined. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the yeast has formed decent foam raft on top of the liquid.
  2. Add flour, and salt. Mix with a spatula or your hands until a smooth dough has formed, about 15-20 minutes depending on how fast you work (aka how strong your arm is). Once the dough gets thick and begins to form a large singular mass, I recommend using a press-and-fold motion, scraping the sides every so often to make sure everything is properly combined. (NOTES: If necessary, add a little bit of water [dry dough] or flour [wet dough] while you’re kneading. You may also want to remove the dough from the bowl and knead it on  lightly-floured surface if you don’t have the leverage to properly knead it in your bowl.)
  3. Knead until the dough is soft and elastic, but not sticky to the touch. 
  4. Once you have a decent ball, add light oil along the edge of the bowl and roll your dough so that it is coated. Do not knead the oil into the dough! This is only to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the bowl while rising.
  5. Cover the bowl with a dishtowel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot for 1 ½ – 3 hours, or until the dough doubles in size. (I usually put mine in the largest sunbeam I can find and move it as the hours go by so it stays warm.)
  6. Preheat your oven to 425F.
  7. Begin boiling 10 cups cold water in a medium sauce pot.
  8. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Tear off golf ball-sized chunks of your dough and roll into small balls with your hands. (NOTE: Be careful not to crush the dough too much while you’re tearing/rolling, because that will squish out all of the air bubbles that have formed inside the dough and result in a very dense pretzel.)
  10. Once the water has boiled, slowly add baking soda ¼ cup at a time. It will foam up, so be careful not to burn yourself!
  11. Boil your dough balls in the water/baking soda mixture in small batches for 30 seconds each batch, and remove carefully with a slotted spoon. (Tip: Line up your boiled dough on the baking sheets as soon as they’re out of the water, as they are very susceptible to sticking together when wet!)
  12. In a small bowl, beat 2 eggs. Brush the tops of your boiled dough balls with the egg wash. Season each with salt.
  13. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, checking every so often to ensure that none are burning. The tops should be a nice golden brown!
  14. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Serve while warm!

Sriracha Beer Cheese Directions:

  1. In a medium sauce pan on medium heat, melt butter until it has completely liquefied, stirring occasionally to ensure it does not burn. 
  2. Once melted and lightly simmering, add flour, heavy cream, water, beer, and sriracha, stirring constantly as you add ingredients. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes. 
  3. Remove from heat and immediately add cheese and salt, stirring constantly until it has completely melted and the sauce is smooth. 
  4. Serve immediately and top with additional sriracha!

The pretzels will keep in the fridge for three days or frozen for up to six months, and reheat well in the microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel. The beer cheese keeps for up to a week, and reheats wonderfully in the microwave as well. 

Homemade Pretzel Bites with Sriracha Beer Cheese

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Pretzel Bite Ingredients:

  • 1 packet 2 ¼ tsp dry active yeast
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 ¾ cup warm water
  • 7 tbsp melted butter
  • 5 cups unbleached flour all-purpose
  • 2 ½ tsp salt
  • 10 cups cold water
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Sriracha Beer Cheese Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp unbleached flour all-purpose
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz beer any kind
  • ¼ cup sriracha
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese grated
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese grated
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

Pretzel Bite Directions:

  • Add sugar, yeast, butter, and 1 ¾ cup warm water to the largest bowl you own and mix until combined. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the yeast has formed decent foam raft on top of the liquid.
  • Add flour, and salt. Mix with a spatula or your hands until a smooth dough has formed, about 15-20 minutes depending on how fast you work (aka how strong your arm is). Once the dough gets thick and begins to form a large singular mass, I recommend using a press-and-fold motion, scraping the sides every so often to make sure everything is properly combined.*
  • Knead until the dough is soft and elastic, but not sticky to the touch.
  • Once you have a decent ball, add light oil along the edge of the bowl and roll your dough so that it is coated. Do not knead the oil into the dough! This is only to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the bowl while rising.
  • Cover the bowl with a dishtowel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot for 1 ½ – 3 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.**
  • Preheat your oven to 425F.
  • Begin boiling 10 cups cold water in a medium sauce pot.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Tear off golf ball-sized chunks of your dough and roll into small balls with your hands.***
  • Once the water has boiled, slowly add baking soda ¼ cup at a time. It will foam up, so be careful not to burn yourself!
  • Boil your dough balls in the water/baking soda mixture in small batches for 30 seconds each batch, and remove carefully with a slotted spoon.****
  • In a small bowl, beat 2 eggs. Brush the tops of your boiled dough balls with the egg. Season each with salt.
  • Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, checking every so often to ensure that none are burning. The tops should be a nice golden brown!
  • Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Serve while warm!

Sriracha Beer Cheese Directions:

  • In a medium sauce pan on medium heat, melt butter until it has completely liquefied, stirring occasionally to ensure it does not burn.
  • Once melted and lightly simmering, add flour, cream, beer, and sriracha, stirring constantly as you add ingredients. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and immediately add cheese and salt, stirring constantly until it has completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
  • Serve immediately and top with additional sriracha!

Notes

  • *If necessary, add a little bit of water [dry dough] or flour [wet dough] while you’re kneading. You may also want to remove the dough from the bowl and knead it on  lightly-floured surface if you don’t have the leverage to properly knead it in your bowl.
  • **I usually put mine in a sunbeam.
  • ***Be careful not to crush the dough too much while you’re tearing/rolling, because that will squish out all of the air bubbles that have formed inside the dough and result in a very dense pretzel.
  • ****Line up your boiled dough on the baking sheets as soon as they’re out of the water, as they are very susceptible to sticking together when wet!
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