Soft Pretzels Two Ways

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Baking Soda Bath:

1 cup baking soda

Pretzels:

One 8-ounce tube refrigerated crescent dough

1 large egg beaten with a splash of water

Flaky salt, for sprinkling

Cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling

Obatzda (Beer Cheese), recipe follows, for serving

Glaze, recipe follows, for serving

Obatzda (Beer Cheese):

8 ounces Camembert or Brie, at room temperature, chopped into large chunks

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup wheat beer

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, plus more for topping

1 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more for topping

1/2 teaspoon ground caraway seeds, optional

1 small yellow onion (or 1/2 large), chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar, plus more if needed

2 to 3 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  1. For the baking soda bath: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Spread out the baking soda on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Set aside to cool. This can be prepped ahead and stored in an airtight container for several weeks. (Even though the baked baking soda isn't as strong as lye, what is traditionally used for making pretzels, it could still potentially irritate your skin, so avoid touching it with bare hands once it's out of the oven.)
  3. To make the baking soda bath: Place the baked baking soda in an 8-inch square baking dish and add 2 cups of water. Gently whisk it to dissolve the baking soda. (It likely won't all dissolve; a few baking soda chunks are totally okay as long as you remove any that stick to the dough.) Set aside.
  4. For the pretzels: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Unroll the dough with a long edge facing you. Cut twelve 1-inch vertical strips.
  6. One at a time, twist 6 of the strips a few turns, then form into circles and press the ends together. Transfer to one of the prepared baking sheets, leaving room between each circle. These will be the savory pretzels.
  7. Cut the remaining 6 strips into 1-by-2-inch rectangles and transfer to the other prepared baking sheet, leaving room between each rectangle. These will be the sweet pretzels.
  8. Working in batches using gloved hands, tongs or a slotted spoon, immerse the pretzel dough pieces in the baking soda bath for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate or pan lined with a paper towel and pat them dry; place them back on the baking sheet.
  9. Brush the dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle the circles with flaky salt and the rectangles with cinnamon sugar. Bake until deep golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes for the rectangles and about 15 minutes for the circles.
  10. Serve the savory pretzels with the Obatzda (Beer Cheese) and the sweet pretzels with the Glaze for dipping.

Obatzda (Beer Cheese):

  1. Combine the cheese, butter, beer, cream, chives, paprika, caraway if using, onion and some salt and pepper in a food processor and blend to combine until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Top with additional paprika and chives.

Glaze:

  1. Add the sugar, milk and vanilla to a bowl and whisk until smooth. If too thick, add more milk as needed. If too thin, add more powdered sugar. Serve with sweet pretzel bites!