Pretzel Focaccia with Cheese
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Recipe courtesy of Amanda Neal for Food Network Kitchen

Pretzel Focaccia with Beer Cheese

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 45 min (includes proofing time)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Pillowy focaccia gets a pretzel twist thanks to a simple brush of baking soda water and a generous sprinkle of crunchy pretzel salt. Slice the pretzel focaccia into “sticks” and dip them in warm homemade beer cheese for the ultimate party-time dish.


Pretzel Focaccia:

Beer Cheese:


Special equipment:
a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook
  1. For the pretzel focaccia: Combine 1 3/4 cups of the warm water, the yeast and sugar in a medium bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. Set aside until the yeast is bubbling and very foamy, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, kosher salt, 1/2 cup of the olive oil and the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed until just combined. Once the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium-high and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and stretchy, 5 to 6 minutes. Add a good pinch of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky, then mix again until well combined (do not add more than 2 tablespoons additional flour or your bread may be dry).
  3. Coat the inside of a large bowl lightly with olive oil and add the dough. Turn the dough once or twice to coat it in oil. Cover and set in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Coat a rimmed 18-by-13-inch baking sheet with 1/4 cup of the remaining olive oil. Stir the remaining 3 tablespoons warm water, 2 tablespoons olive oil and the baking soda together.
  5. Scrape the proofed dough onto the prepared baking sheet and begin pressing it out to fit the size of the pan. Brush the baking soda mixture all over the dough (it’s okay if some drips off the sides of the dough and onto the baking sheet). Use your fingertips to make dimples over the surface of the dough, pressingly firmly but not so hard that you make holes through the dough. Sprinkle the dough with pretzel salt.
  6. Cover the baking sheet with another inverted rimmed baking sheet or with plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick spray and place in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  8. Bake until the top of the loaf is deep golden brown and the focaccia is just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Transfer the focaccia from the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. For the beer cheese: Pour the beer into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced slightly, about 2 minutes (it should be about 3/4 cup). Reduce the heat to low and stir in the Worcestershire, mustard powder, garlic powder, cayenne and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Add the cream cheese and cook, whisking continually, until melted and smooth. Gradually add handfuls of the American and Cheddar cheeses, whisking to melt between each addition; do not let the mixture boil. Cook, whisking, until completely smooth and creamy. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
  10. To serve, slice the focaccia into “sticks” or “planks” with a large serrated knife. Slice crosswise into 1 1/2-inch-wide strips, then cut the strips in thirds, creating pieces that are about 1 1/2-by-3-inches. Serve alongside the warm beer cheese for dipping.

Cook’s Note

When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)