I love game day food, but I can’t help but finish my day of game watching, drinking, and eating feeling a little gut guilt. This guilt has inspired me to at least try making some of these tasty treats from scratch (that makes them a little better, right?). These yummy pretzels are the perfect pair to the jalapeño cheese dip.
The soft pretzels are made similarly to bread, so be sure to plan enough time to allow your dough to rise twice (at least an 1 ½ hours).
What you’ll need for the pretzels:
¼ cup honey
2 T. yeast
1 cup water (105-110 degrees)
1 T. salt
2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 T. olive oil
6 cups water
¼ cup baking soda
Begin by making the dough. Mix the honey, yeast, and water together and allow to proof. (See my Whole Wheat French Style Loaf recipe for tips on this.) Meanwhile, mix the flours and salt together and set aside.
After the yeast mixture has proofed, pour it into the bowl of your stand mixer fixed with a dough hook. Set the mixer to a low setting and add the flour mix ½ cup at a time. You may need to stop throughout this process to scrape the sides.
Once all of the flour mix has been combined with the yeast mixture, you will have a crumbly mix of dough. Pour it onto a floured counter top and knead until well combined and the dough begins to blister on the surface. When you remove the dough from the mixing bowl it looks dry and crumbly. It does come together as you knead it. I have tried completing this process in the stand mixer and it never seems to come together. When this dough is ready, it is dense and heavy and doesn’t develop the silky texture of a bread dough.
When the dough is kneaded, form it into a ball. Line a large bowl with the olive oil and roll the dough ball in the oil to cover the surface completely. Be sure all of the dough is covered in the oil to prevent a tough skin from forming. Cover the bowl with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. After the dough has risen, punch it down and allow it to rise in the covered bowl for an additional 40 minutes.
While the dough rises for a second time, combine the water and baking soda in an enameled cast iron pot. After the second rise, remove the dough from the bowl. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and turn on your stove top to bring the water and baking soda to a boil. Meanwhile, section the dough into 12 equal portions.
To shape the dough portions, roll each into a long rope. Shape the rope into a u formation and cross the top ends. Next, pull the end on the bottom up and into the center of the dough knot. Tuck this end underneath. Using the end on top, lightly press the end into the top of the dough knot.
Once each dough portion has been shaped, place it in the boiling water for about 1 minute, turning it half way through. After 1 minute, remove the dough knots from the water and allow to drain for several minutes. Place drained dough balls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Generously sprinkle dough with salt after all dough pieces have been boiled and placed on the pan.
Bake for 13 minutes at 450 degrees. Allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack or serving warm.
And what would a soft pretzel be without cheesy dip. This dip comes together quickly and could easily be prepared while the pretzels bake.
What you’ll need for the dip:
2 T. butter
1 T. flour
1 cup milk
2 jalapeños, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup Colby jack or cheddar cheese
1 T. cayenne pepper
Melt the butter over medium low heat. After the butter has melted completely, whisk in the flour.
Next, slowly add the milk, whisking constantly as you pour it in. Once all of the milk has been combined, add the jalapeños and garlic. Stir this regularly and allow to cook until the mix has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Once the mix has thickened, remove from the heat and add the cheese and cayenne. Serve immediately.
Results: This pretzel and cheese combination was a perfect game day snack.
With the exception of waiting for the dough to rise, this all comes together rather quickly. The dough does tend to take more time to rise than a standard bread recipe. I found it best to provide a very warm environment for the rising process.
What are your favorite game day snacks to make at home?