Sunday, February 09, 2014


yields 8 giant pretzels

Soft Beer Pretzels
1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup beer
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
Canola oil, to grease bowl
3 quarts water, for boiling the pretzels
2/3 cups baking soda, for boiling the pretzels
1 egg, beaten, for brushing before baking
Coarse sea salt 
Spinach, Artichoke, and Bacon Dip Filling
2 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk
1 ounce cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup (about 5 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (6.7 ounce) jar grilled artichoke hearts or you can sub marinated artichokes, chopped
To make the pretzel dough, combine the water, brown sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the melted butter, beer, salt, all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour to the mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
Coat a large bowl with canola oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size. This will take about 1 hour.
About 10 minutes before you're ready to roll out the dough make the filling. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until all fat is rendered and bacon is crispy, stirring often. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place to drain on a paper towel. To the same skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Whisk in flour until it makes a paste. Cook over medium-low heat for a minute or two, then pour in milk. Stir and cook one minute, if your paste gets too thick splash in more milk.
Add cream cheese, mozzarella, parmesan and pepper. Stir until cheeses are melted. Stir in the greek yogurt until smooth. Chop artichokes and spinach and add to the sauce. Add the bacon, stir to combine.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Divide the pretzel dough into 8 equal balls and roll each out into a rectangle (about 11x3 inches). Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons spinach and artichoke dip along the length of each piece. Starting with the opposite side, roll the dough up into a log, enclosing the toppings inside. Pinch the seams together and then very gently roll the dough with your hands to form an even cylinder and fully enclose the filling.
Take the two ends of each filled cylinder and form into a circle that is overlapped by a couple of inches of dough on either side, twist the ends and lay over the opposite side to form a pretzel shape and press to seal. Slowly add the baking soda to the boiling water. Boil the pretzels in the water solution, 2 at a time for 30 seconds, splashing the tops with the warmed water using a spoon. Remove with a large flat slotted spatula or a spider. Place 4 pretzels on each baking sheet, brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with sea salt. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown.
Remove pretzels from oven and let cool five minutes. EAT!! Or if needed you can reheat the pretzels at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes.
bacon recipe courtesy of: Tieghan, Half Baked Harvest, August 29, 2013

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