Pretzels with Pepper-Cheddar Dip

I have a confession to make. I completely suck at making bread. It’s not for a lack of trying. I was on a roll a few years ago trying to get the hang of it but it just never really sunk in. The same thing happened with omlettes but early one Saturday morning I was watching Julia Child on PBS and she was making omlettes. They looked so easy that I got up and decided to try out her method. It totally worked. I Netflixed a bunch of Julia Child programs last year and I think I’m ready to ease my way back into bread making. There are some tools that I’d like to pick up first in order to make it a little easier.

In the meantime, I thought I’d try my hand at pretzels again. I rummaged around in my files and found my mom’s recipe for pretzels and made a few modifications as I worked through it. They turned out quite good if I do say so myself. I can’t wait to make another batch to try with the Cognac Mustard I have resting in the cupboard.
Pretzels with Pepper-Cheddar Dip


Pretzel Dough:

  • 1 c. warm water, approx. 100° to 110°F
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour (more will be needed for work surface)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • Vegetable oil for bowl

Pretzel Bath:

  • 8 c .water
  • 1/2 c. baking soda
  • Coarse sea salt (to taste)

Pepper-Cheddar Dip:

  • 6 ounces grated white cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp white wine
  • 2 tsp cracked black pepper

Pretzel Preparation:

  1. Stir yeast into warm water in a large bowl. Let stand until a a foamy surface develops, about 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, in a smaller bowl, stir together  flour, salt, and brown sugar.
  2. Add flour mixture to yeast mixture. Stir together first with a wooden spoon and then knead dough on a floured surface. Knead dough for 8-10 minutes adding more flour to the surface if the dough sticks.
  3. Wash the bowl in warm water and then oil it. Transfer dough to the dough to the bowl and turn over to coat with oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a draft-free place like the oven. Just don’t forget about it. It will need to sit for 2-3 hours or until it has doubled in size.
  4. After it has doubled, punch down the dough and divide into 4 balls. Roll each ball into a 12-inch-long rope. Cut each rope into six pieces.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450°F and Line baking sheet with parchment.
  6. Next, bring water and baking soda to a boil for the pretzel bath. Add the pretzels, a few at a time, and cook 30 seconds then transfer with a slotted spoon to the parchment lined baking sheet. Quickly sprinkle with salt so that it sticks. Repeat until all pretzels have been boiled.
  7. Bake 8-10 minutes or until browned. They brown quickly at the end so watch them closely. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Pepper-Cheddar Dip Preparation:
Quickly grate cheese and place in food processor fitted with knife blade. Slowly add wine and pepper. Blend for about 2 minutes or until creamy and stopping to scrap down the sides as needed. Serve immediately with the warm pretzels.

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