What We’re Cooking | Beer-Infused Pretzels
German Beer Day is coming up on April 23 and nothing’s better than a piping-hot pretzel, fresh from the oven, paired with a cold German brew. Fortunately, making your own pretzels is ridiculously easy.
This simple recipe uses a short ingredient list, most of which you probably already have in your kitchen. To sweeten the deal, I swapped beer for most of the water, with tasty results.
I also skipped the complicated-looking process of looping the dough into the traditional pretzel shape in the interests of keeping things easy. Instead, I simply sliced it into bite size pieces. However, if you are more kitchen-ambitious, feel free to try your luck at twisting!
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast
- 1 cup beer, warmed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp brown or white sugar (brown adds depth of flavor)
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
- 3 3/4 cups flour
- 9 cups water
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- Sea Salt
- Parchment Paper
Step 1: Mix ½ cup warm water with yeast, let sit at least a full minute.
Step 2: Add beer, salt, sugar and butter. Mix together.
Step 3: Mix in 3 cups of flour. You can mix by hand or with a mixer. Keep adding remaining flour until dough is no longer sticky. To test when it’s ready, poke the dough with your finger. If it bounces back you’re ready to move to Step 4.
Step 4: Knead the dough for three minutes and shape into a ball. Let dough rest 10 minutes.
Step 5: While dough is resting, preheat oven to 400°F and combine the 9 cups of water and baking soda. Bring to a boil. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a pinch, you can just grease the sheets but the dough may stick to the surface.
Step 6: Roll dough into ropes approximately 1/2 inch thick. Cut ropes into bite-sized pieces.
Step 7: Boil pretzels in baking-soda water for 30 seconds. Remove and drain with slotted spoon.
Step 8: Place the bites on your prepared baking sheets and sprinkle with sea salt.
Step 9: Bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
Step 10: Crack a beer (if you haven’t already) and enjoy! These pretzels go well on their own or with spicy mustard or cheese dip. Or come up with your own favorite dip.
For my test batches, I used two beers from Copper Kettle Brewing: IPA and Citrus Paradisi, a hazy citrus IPA. Though neither of them is German-styled, the results were yummy anyway.
The IPA produced a pretzel that’s close to traditional with added depth of flavor. The Citrus Paradisi added some tang to the final result, like a touch of sourdough. I prefer the Citrus Paradisi version, though a tasting with friends produced about evenly split preferences.
While I used IPAs, you could conceivably use any style of beer to up your pretzel game. The only rule of thumb I’ve noticed is that relatively neutral beers get diluted in the dough. As a result, you won’t notice much difference in flavor rather than just using water. However, like drinking beer, it’s worth cooking with various styles to figure out which one tickles your taste profile.
Prost und guten Appetit!
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