100 Ways to Use Beer in Food and Drinks: #11 – Pretzels

HOT pretzels. Sorry Philadelphia, I know you like SOFT pretzels, cold from the food cart, but no thanks. I like a crispy outside with a warm and soft interior—not soggy all over. In time, I found a way to fulfill my high standards (call me a snob for wanting a hot pretzel) while also making them out of a beer dough. And you should too.

A word of advice: do NOT make these in the midst of a heat wave .  I thought I was doing the right thing, trying to cook seasonal foods, but still—an oven in the high nineties did not please anyone. Luckily the pretzels made up for it.

I was on a strong homebrew streak, with four cases done within the same week, so I finally had a choice of brews to use. I chose my Dark IPA for the beer-dough. The Dark IPA has a malty undertone that added a little sweetness to the dough, while the bitterness of the hops gave it a slight kick. The final product was very tasty and I’d definitely do it again.

BREWvarian Hot Pretzels

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 cup dark IPA
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 10 cups hot water
  • Course sea salt
  • 1 egg yolk

First, in a smaller bowl, add yeast, sugar and warm water. Stir and let it sit for 5-10 minutes or until the yeast is foaming. This is known as “proofing”  the yeasties to make sure they’re alive and kickin’. Then, once the yeast is foaming up well, add it into a larger bowl with your brew, inducing more frothing action.

Next, add the salt and flour to the large bowl and mix until the dough is pulled away from the bowl. Preferably, mix with a dough hook, which I discovered through this project. I have a newfound appreciation for kitchen-aid mixers. If you don’t have one, get your girlish hands ready and knead the dough for nearly 10 minutes.

Take the dough out of the bowl and put onto floured surface. Clean the bowl, dry it, then oil it with vegetable oil. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Let it sit for about an hour or until it rises.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Put the ten cups of water into a large saucepan (at least 8 qt) and add the baking soda. Bring to a boil.

*The next part is the most difficult and time consuming part. Which is why after four tries, I made pretzel nuggets instead of all-out pretzels.

Get out your dough and separate into equal sized balls of dough. Use flour or vegetable oil to make sure it won’t stick and roll into a long strip of dough. If you’re making regular pretzels, supposedly it’s a piece of cake to make a “U”, then bring the ends to the bottom of the U while crossing them. OR you can take a knife and cut the small strips into nugget-shaped segments.

Once your water is boiled, put the shapes into the water for 30 seconds with a spatula or slotted spoon, then take them out and place on a well-oiled baking sheet. Mix your egg yolk with about a tbsp of water until beaten. Brush eggwash onto each piece, then throw in the oven for about 12 minutes or golden brown.

A long process? Yes. Worth it? Definitely. You’re welcome.

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