My husband has been asking me for soft pretzels lately and coincidentally so have my readers! Of course, it’s made with beer but the challenge is what beer goes well with the type of pretzel you have imagined in your mind? Well, I like a savory pretzel with a hint of rye so one of our favorite local breweries, Noble Ale Works, just happened to have a perfect beer to make these pretzels with: Cuddle Puddle! Now, if you have never heard of this beer, googling the name “cuddle puddle” might produce some interesting results as I discovered. Turns out that a “cuddle puddle” refers to a snuggle pile of ravers getting ripped on E or the “wet spot” created after some super happy fun-time in the bedroom…either way I am sure Evan is snickering about it secretly every time he hears someone talk about it. This was also a collaboration brew with Taps so perhaps the hijinks are to blame on them as well.
But I digress because this beer is perfect for a soft pretzel. It’s malty with a hint of honey and rye with influences of toast and hops that make it perfect to add to this recipe. If you aren’t local and don’t have access to this beer, any Altbier would work nicely.
1 package of active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups of beer warmed to 110 degrees F
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
4 1/2 cups of AP flour
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
10 cups of boiling water
2/3 cup baking soda
Topping of the pretzel:
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon of water
Sea Salt for dusting
1. Heat beer to 110 degrees and mix in the yeast and sugar and salt and let stand until bubbling and foaming slightly. FYI: adding salt to hot beer will cause the beer to foam to sprinkle a little at a time and let the foaming go down before adding more.
2. In a stand mixer with the dough hook, add the flour, butter and beer and mix together until the dough pulls from the edges of the bowl. If the dough is too dry, add a few 1/2 teaspoons of water (or beer) at a time until the dough pulls from the edges and starts forming a smooth lump of dough. The mixing process should only take about 5 minutes.
3. Put the dough in a ball form and place in a clean pre-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. If you spray the top of the dough ball and press the plastic wrap down to tough the dough, you won’t have crusty pieces of dough and it will rise better. Make sure to let it rest in a warm area. Let rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Heat your oven to 450 degrees F. Put the water and baking soda in a large pot and turn on high to get a rolling bowl. While you are waiting for your water to boil, take your dough out of your bowl and place onto a slightly floured surface. Using a dough cutter, cut into eight equal pieces of dough. Roll-out each piece into long logs and be sure to pinch together any open cracks to keep the log uniform and gently press any large bubbles out. When each log is sufficient in length (about 18-24 inches), fold the dough into pretzel shapes by starting with a u-shape and folding one side over the other and using a little water to hold the arms down.
5. Boil the prepared pretzels one at a time for about 30 seconds. Once all the pretzels are boiled, brush with the egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets once during the cooking process so the color is even. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
These turned-out great. Immediately after making them I went over to Noble and gave them to my husband and his co-workers. They LOVED them. You know when guys like your baked goods when it’s silent and all they are doing is chewing and nodding. I was fortunate enough that Evan (head brewer of Noble) and Brad (brewer) were there to try them and they really liked them as well. I got to snap a pic of them enjoying them!
I hope you all try this recipe. It’s easy and a big crowd-pleaser. The only bummer is they get hard and stale quick so eating fresh is the best way to enjoy these. Cheers!