We had a great Oktoberfest themed party this weekend, and one of the most important parts of any party is the food, of course! Aside from beer, the first thing I think of with Oktoberfest is pretzels. So, I used my favorite chef, Alton Brown’s soft pretzel recipe. I am literally going to copy and paste his instructions in here, because there is honestly not one thing I needed to change. The photos you see are my own, however. I also made a Spicy Beer Cheese Sauce for dipping the pretzels in, and I’ll add that recipe at the bottom! These are good any time of the year, too! Sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on one of these = heaven.
Of course, in my opinion, there is nothing better than a freshly made, warm, soft, salty pretzel, which is why I like cooking from scratch. I PROMISE you will be amazed at how easy it is to make them! The first time I ever made my own pretzels, I vowed to never buy frozen or mall shack pretzels again. Not only are they the ultimate pretzel when fresh, they’re also much better for you. Less than 1/2 the fat, you control the salt you sprinkle on, and there’s no mysterious ingredients. Need I say more?
The rest of my Oktoberfest menu will be up during the week, so you can throw an incredible, and tasty Oktoberfest, too!
Homemade Soft Pretzels (By Alton Brown)
Makes 8 Large Pretzels
+ 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
+ 1 tablespoon sugar
+ 2 teaspoons kosher salt
+ 1 package active dry yeast
+ 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
+ 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
+ Vegetable oil, for pan
+ 10 cups water
+ 2/3 cup baking soda
+ 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
+ Pretzel salt (or coarse sea salt)
Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces.
Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope.
Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula.
Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Spicy Beer Cheese Sauce
Makes about 1 Cup
What You’ll Need:
+ 1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese
+ 1 garlic clove
+ 1/2 cup dark beer (Oktoberfest is amazing)
+ 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
+ 1 teaspoon hot sauce (or more, if you prefer it really spicy)