These are classic soft, salted pretzels in different shapes that are so easy to make! The mustard, beer, & cheese dip can be an interesting partner to go with it, but totally optional.
Writing all my NYC travel diaries has reminded me that I have this Pretzels with Mustard Dip Recipe waiting to spring out on the blog. In the history of my home baking, I’ve never met a pretzel recipe I didn’t like. But I also cannot deny that this is the best batch of pretzels I’ve made thus far. It’s a bit of a variation from Alton Brown’s super famous homemade soft pretzels (which I’ve written about on the blog twice already, second time even with a video).
I’ve got a couple of recipes I want to try out still, but so far I really have to say at the moment, this particular version is the best.
We all know how soft pretzels can get after spending a long time out in the open– They get tougher and harder as they cool down. And while you can normally reheat them to softness, they’re not the same as freshly-baked ones. But this! This had amazing texture at room temperature AND the day after. So just imagine the texture it has while warm and toasty.
It started out as an experiment to try this curious beer-mustard-cheese dip I came across, but clearly I had more fun making the pretzels in different shapes. Most people would say they get the most out of food when they’re consuming it. I have to say that would be the case with this recipe, but I’ll make sure you get as much of a kick making these pretzels too.
Before anything let’s take the obligatory crumb shot, just because these soft pretzels are divine inside and out. 😀
So there are three easy shapes I’m going to “demonstrate” to you, and all of them start out with a rope of dough, rolled out into a 1/2″ thickness.
First, make a U-shape with the rope. Holding both ends of the rope, twist them over each other twice.
Bring the twisted rope down towards the bottom. Press both ends onto the bottom of the U to seal.
For a simpler version, you can make a U-shape then just hold both ends of the rope, and then cross them over each other towards the opposite direction. Again, press onto the bottom of the U to seal. (The procedure pics can be found in the recipe box below!)
This one is easy and reminds me of a twisted candy cane. Take one piece of rope and fold in half. Taking both ends between your fingers, twist the dough tightly.
Pinch the edges together to seal, and that’s it! This is the shape that’s most perfect for dipping, in my opinion.
If the twist is too long for your liking, you can fold the dough in half again and twist the bottom portion of dough towards the top. I prefer it long though!
This one is like an extended version of The Twist, except with a… ahem… twist. First you hang the rope of dough on your finger, making sure the dangling ends of the rope are equal. Then twist the dough a couple of times with your finger acting as a sort of anchor point.
Now slip your finger out and insert the end of the twisted dough into the hole where your finger was.
And here you’ve got yourself a knotted ball of dough! This one is a cute shape. 🙂
It’s nice seeing all these shaped dough side by side on the tray. Normally I don’t get too excited about my homemade pretzels until I plump them up in baking soda water, but seeing them like this I was already raring to get them in the oven until golden.
Just a little note on the pretzel size: I don’t typically like to make giant pretzels, but you can adjust how you divide the dough depending on how big you want your pretzels to be. I divided mine into 12 and found them to be just the right size.
I almost forgot to talk about the dip part of this Pretzels with Mustard Dip Recipe. When I made the dip, it was super thick for some reason. Almost like jello actually! I wonder if it’s because the bottom of my saucepan has started to thin out, but I think it might be because of too much flour.
The original recipe called for 1-1/2 Tablespoons and I feel like just 1 Tablespoon should be enough to help this mixture form. Also I don’t recommend adding less cheese than indicated– except if you like your dip to taste predominantly of beer rather than cheese.
I can’t say it’s my favourite dip for the pretzels, but it was an interesting experiment for me. It was the first time I had a beer dip for pretzels. I do think that in the future I would go for just a simple cheese dip, or even a salsa with lots of cilantro! Okay, now I’m craving for pretzel and salsa.
Soft Pretzels with Boozy Cheese & Mustard Dip
Makes 12 to 24 pretzels, depending on size
For the dough
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast, or 2 teaspoons insant yeast
- 1 teaspoon + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided use
- 1 ¼ cups warm water, around 110°F/43°C
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 3 Tablespoons melted butter
- ½ cup baking soda
- 8 cups water
- Egg wash, if desired (mixture of egg and ½ teaspoon water)
- Flaky sea salt, for topping
For the dip
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 to 1 ½ Tablespoons all-purpose flour*
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup stout beer
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 115 grams cheddar or parmesan cheese, grated*
- salt and pepper, to taste
Make the dough
- 1. In a measuring glass, mix together yeast and the 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand about 5 to 10 minutes, until foamy. (Skip this step if using instant yeast and just add it into the mixer bowl with the flour.)
- 2. In the bowl of the stand mixer, use a wooden spoon to mix together the flour, 2 Tablespoons of sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center and add butter and yeast mixture. Stir the ingredients together until a shaggy dough forms and most of the wet ingredients are incorporated into the dry. Attach the bowl to the stand mixer.
- 3. Using the dough hook, knead the dough on medium-low about 5 to 8 minutes until smooth and no longer sticking to the bowl.
- 4. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment.
- 5. In a large stockpot, bring 8 cups of water to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, take the risen dough and turn out on a lightly floured surface. Divide into 12 or 24 pieces, depending on size preference, and roll each piece in to long ropes about ½” thick.
- To make a classic-shaped pretzel: Make a U shape with the rope, then holding both ends of the rope, cross them over each other towards the opposite direction. (For a prettier version, you can also also twist the ends of the rope over each other twice, then bring the ends down.) Press onto the bottom of the U to seal.
- To make twists: Take one piece of rope and fold in half. Taking both ends between your fingers, twist the dough tightly. Pinch the edges together to seal. If the twist is too long for your liking, you can fold the dough in half again and twist the bottom portion of dough towards the top. Insert the bottom end into the top hole and press to seal.
- To make knots: Fold the rope of dough in half around your finger, then twist the dough a couple of times. Slip your finger out and insert the end of the twisted dough into the hole where your finger was.
- Place all your shaped dough onto the baking trays and set them close to the boiling pot of water.
- 6. Once the water is boiling, add in the baking soda. There will be a bit of fizz before it settles down. Use a spatula to gently place your pretzels one by one into the water for 30 seconds. They will plump up and develop a slightly shiny skin. Return to the baking tray and repeat with the rest of the pretzel dough.
- 7. Brush the pretzels with egg wash and sprinkle with a bit of flaky sea salt. Bake in preheated oven for about 8 minutes, or until browned to your liking. Pretzels are ALWAYS best consumed the day they are made.
Make the dip
- 8. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly about 2 minutes, until flour is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the sour cream and beer.
- 9. Allow the mixture to simmer then add mustard. Whisk the mixture occasionally until it begins to thicken, about 3 minutes. Add the grated cheese by the handful, whisking until each batch has completely melted before adding the next. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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