Soft Pretzels + Pepper Jack Dip

Welcome back to QCK!

What small luxuries are you missing from normal life? For me, it’s going to the movie theater. Movie nights at home are great, but it’s not the same. But I’ve been working hard to recreate the feeling at home, starting with the snacks.

Which is why today, I’m sharing my recipe for my favorite movie snack, soft pretzels. I’m also giving you an upgrade by sharing the best pepper jack cheese sauce.

I’ll admit I was slightly intimidated when I decided to take on this project, but each step turned out to be so much easier than I expected. On top of that, this dough is an absolute dream. It’s soft, pillowy, and easy to work with. It’s like therapy, but free and less emotional.

Variations

These are super delicious with pepper jack sauce, but it’s also just a really great pretzel recipe on it’s own. Which means you can go ahead and add any toppings you like.

  • Cinnamon Sugar: Skip salting the pretzels before putting them in the oven. When they’re done baking, brush with butter and evenly coat with cinnamon sugar. You could also make a simple icing to go with or even better, the cream cheese frosting from my cinnamon roll recipe.
  • Garlic Parmesan: In a small bowl, combine 1/2 C Parmesan, 2 Tbsp Garlic Powder, and 2 tsp Salt, and 1 Tbsp Melted Butter. Bake the pretzels 4-5 minutes, remove from the oven and add the parmesan mix, continue baking 4-5 minutes.
  • Everything Bagel: This one seems pretty self explanatory, just omit the salt and sprinkle with Everything Bagel seasoning.

Shaping

To get the classic pretzel shape, start by rolling each piece of dough into a 28-30 inch log. Once it’s rolled, place it in a U shape. Twist one end over the other, then twist again. Then flip the twist down so each end is touching the bottom of the original “U”.

If you don’t want a traditional pretzel shape, you can also easily make sticks or pieces. Rather than making the U shape, simply roll logs and cut them to the desired length.

Tips and Tricks

  • If you’re tight for time, you can make the rising period go by faster by resting the dough in a warmer place. I place mine in the microwave. You can also place it in the laundry room with the door shut while running the dryer.
  • When rolling the dough into logs you don’t want a floured surface. You need a little bit of traction to get a nice log. If your dough is sticking too much you can use a little flour. If it’s sticking a lot, the dough is too wet.
  • If you don’t want a spicy cheese sauce, simply omit the jalapeño and substitute pepper jack for cheddar cheese.
  • Don’t rush the cheese sauce, you want the flour to fully cook out or you’ll have a gritty sauce.
  • You can make the pretzles smaller and fatter or big and skinny depending on your preference. You can also have big, fat pretzels by making 4 or 5 instead of 8.
  • When blooming the yeast, you want the water to be just slightly warm. If it’s too hot it will kill the yeast.
  • If salt comes in direct contact with yeast, the yeast dies. Be sure to combine the salt and flour well before adding the yeast mixture.

Recipe

Prep: 15 MinsBake: 8-9 MinsTotal Time: 1 HourDifficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C Warm Water
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Package (2 1/4 tsp) Instant Yeast
  • 1/2 C (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1.5 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 4.5-5 C All Purpose Flour
  • 2 C Water
  • 1/4 C Baking Soda
  • 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted
  • Kosher or Pretzel Salt, for sprinkling

For the Pepper Jack Dip

  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 C Heavy Cream
  • 1/3 C Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 1 Small Jalepeño, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine warm water, brown sugar, and yeast. Set aside until foam starts to form on top. About 5 minutes.
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, or large bowl with a wooden spoon, combine flour, salt and butter.
  3. Add yeast mixture and stir until a smooth, pillowy dough begins to form.
  4. Knead it into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl.
  5. Cover with plastic and rest 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
  6. In the mean time, bring the water and baking soda to a boil, being sure to stir until the baking soda fully dissolves.
  7. Set aside and cool to lukewarm.
  8. Pour the water/baking soda into a 9-inch pan, or any pan large enough to soak a pretzel but not too large that the water will only be a thin layer.
  9. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  10. Start the Pepper Jack Dip by melting 2 Tbsp of butter in a small sauce pan, whisk in flour and cook until the mixture is bubbling.
  11. Whisk in heavy cream and bring to a simmer, making sure to stir occasionally to avoid scorching.
  12. Whisk in pepper jack, jalapeño and garlic powder until cheese is melted. Salt to taste.
  13. Thoroughly grease a baking sheet. Set aside.
  14. Remove the dough from the bowl and cut into 8 even pieces. Cover and rest 5 minutes.
  15. Working one at a time, roll each piece into a 28-30 inch log. Then form a U-shape. Take the two ends of the U and twist one over the other, then twist again. Fold the two ends towards the bottom of the U. Press the ends and the bottom together so the pretzels don’t fall apart.
  16. Place one pretzel at a time into the water/baking soda, and soak for two minutes. You can either spoon the mixture over the pretzel or flip after one minute.
  17. Place on a greased baking sheet.
  18. Sprinkle with desired amount of salt.
  19. Bake 8-9 minutes or until golden brown.
  20. Remove from tray and place on a wire rack, brush each pretzel with melted butter until the butter is all gone.
  21. Serve warm with cheese sauce.
  22. Reheat leftovers in the microwave or oven.

As always, I hope you enjoyed this recipe! If you tried it out let me know in the comments. For more recipes check out my homepage and follow along on Instagram. Don’t forget to like, follow, comment and share. Thanks for reading! 

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