soft pretzels with white cheddar cheese sauce

i was poking around pinterest yesterday when i found a recipe for garlic rosemary pretzels with white cheddar cheese sauce at tasty kitchen. i probably haven’t had a soft pretzel since we gorged ourselves on junk food at the corner store before ballet class in middle school. i remember us eating pounds of fudge before going to class for an hour; probably not the smartest decision, but hey, what do you expect of middle schoolers?

its pretty funny how people these days will go out of their way to attempt to make home-made versions of the junk food of their childhood because even though there’s no high-fructose unsaturated trans-fat gmo shit in here, you’re fooling yourself if you think this is a healthy snack. or lunch.

soft pretzels
1 package yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
mix and let stand 5 minutes

add
3 1/2 cups flour
with a stand mixer: mix first 2 cups with the paddle mixer. switch to the dough hook and add the last 1 1/2 cups and mix on low for about 5 minutes. dough should be smooth and elastic.

put in a bowl and coat with olive oil. let stand for 40 minutes or until roughly doubled in size.

transfer dough to lightly floured counter. save your saran wrap! cut into 8 pieces and cover the pieces you aren’t working with in the saran wrap.

preheat the oven to 425 and bring 2 quarts of water with 2 teaspoons of baking soda to a boil.

roll each piece out with your hands so that it is about 18 inches long. i found the best way to do this is start at the middle and work your way out, repeating until you get it long enough. shape dough into a pretzel and use a dab of water to help seal the areas you press it together. you don’t need a floured counter for this step. it just makes it harder to get the dough to stick together in its new pretzel shape.

put the shaped dough onto alightly floured sheet pan and cover with saran wrap while you work.

when the water is at a rolling boil, one pretzel at a time, put it gently in the water, let it boil for 15 seconds and flip to the other side for 15 seconds before removing it and putting it back on the baking sheet.  i set a timer to 10 minutes so that i could watch the seconds count down rather than try to approximate or count in my head.

transfer boiled pretzels to a fresh lightly oiled pan and coat with
1 teaspoon olive oil and
1 egg whipped together
top with sea salt.

bake for 12 minutes in oven. you can immediately transfer them to a cooling rack.

white cheddar cheese sauce
melt just under medium heat
1 teaspoon butter

add and mix in well
1 tablespoon flour

add
1 cup whole milk
stir often until mixture thickens. you want it to coat the spoon or spatula and stick rather than quickly running off.

add
1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

if you want your cheese sauce to instead taste like the oh-so-delicous day-glo orange cheese sauce from a can, just add some of your favorite hot sauce. and maybe use cheddar instead of the expensive stuff.

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