Beer Pretzels & Jalapeno Jack Dip
Originally posted January 31, 2013. Updated 1/5/2021
In this household, nothing says "love" like soft, chewy bread products!
So, for this Valentine's Day, I give you my beer pretzels recipe.
While this recipe can definitely be used to form more traditional pretzel shapes as well - of course! - I find it to be a lot of fun to get a bit seasonal with it.
Jalapeno Jack Cheese Dip
What better to go with beer pretzels, than jalapeno jack melty cheese dip?
This accompanying recipe works up quickly and easily, and really satisfies. Comfort food at its finest, when paired with a fresh from the oven pretzel!
I like to make the dip as the pretzels are baking, so it’s all good to go when the pretzels are out of the oven.
Trust me, the way the pretzels look and smell as they come out of the oven make it difficult to not just tear into them immediately, so it’s best to be prepared!
How to Make Heart Shaped Beer Pretzels
Homemade soft pretzels may seem intimidating, but they’re actually really easy to make.
Just take it one step at a time, and you’ll have fresh pretzels coming out of your oven in a few hours! (Most of that time is just waiting, btw. These are not labour intensive!)
Start Your Yeast
The recipe starts out with sugar, yeast, and beer. This is one of the most important parts of the recipe, so make sure it’s all in place!
- The beer has to be warm, but not hot. You want to encourage the growth of the yeast, without killing it.
Cool beer won’t “wake up” the yeast the way warm does, and it won’t rise as much / quickly.
Hot beer will kill the yeast.
The sugar feeds the yeast.
Make sure to use yeast that has been properly stored and is fresh. Very old yeast doesn’t always work.
Anyway, you mix the three together and leave it for a few minutes, and this is what you should see:
When it’s all foamy like this, you’re good to go!
If your yeast doesn’t foam up in 10 minutes, something went wrong - either the water was too hot /not warm enough, or the yeast was no good.
No foam means start over again.
Make Your Pretzel Dough
You can do this by hand, or - like I do - in a stand mixer.
However you do it, just mix together your flour, salt, butter, and foamy yeast beer, until it’s well incorporated and relatively smooth.
Once it’s all together, you’ll knead the dough. This develops the gluten in the dough, making the dough soft, stretchy, and perfect.
In a stand mixer:
Affix a dough hook and just let it go on medium speed for about 7 minutes or so, until it’s smooth and stretchy.
I start timing once the mixing is done, and all of the extra flour has been “cleaned” off the mixer bowl:
Once the dough has come together - and you have all of the flour incorporated into it - dump it out on a clean work surface and knead it.
Basically, I’ll use the heels of my hands to push down and stretch the dough, fold it over, and repeat for about 15+ minutes.
It’s a great way to get out some anger, aggression, frustration, or ~feelings~ in general, but it is labourious... so I generally use the stand mixer!
Anyway, whichever way you go:
When it’s ready, it’ll be smooth and stretchy.
You can test readiness by pinching off a small bit of dough, flattening it a bit, and stretching it. If you can stretch it really thin without tearing, it’s done!
Proof your Dough
“Proofing” is just letting the dough rise.
You’ll want a warm - not hot - area to do this.
As I tend to keep my house nice and cool, I generally cheat at this: I’ll turn the oven on for a few minutes to warm it up a bit, then turn it off and use it as a proofing oven.
Let it rise - undisturbed - until it’s doubled in volume. Give it a good 45 minutes - 1 hour for this, but don’t leave it much longer than that without checking on it.
OVERproofing the dough - letting it rise too long / too far - will result in deflated dough, and hockey puck pretzels.
Once your initial proofing is done, punch it down and divide it out.
Forming Your Pretzels
Punching the dough down removes some of the air, so it’s easier to work with.
From there, you’ll divide it out to relatively-equal portions.
I usually go with 6 for nice big pretzels, but you can do 8 if you’d like them a bit smaller.
Once they’re divided out, roll each lump of dough into a thick “snake”. Form each into a heart shape, and pinch ends to seal:
Let them rise for another 10 minutes, as you get things ready to proceed.
Prepare your Baking Sheet
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Set prepared pan aside.
This is also a good time to start preheating your oven.
Boil Your Pretzels
As your pretzels are rising for the second and final time, you’ll get ready to boil them.
Get a large pot of water boiling.
Once the water is boiling, add baking soda, stirring well to combine. Turn the temp down enough to keep it at a gentle simmer.
You want to cook the outsides of the pretzels gently, not brutalize them.
Once the water is simmering and 10 minutes are up, gently drop 2 or 3 pretzels into your pot.
Allow them to cook for a minute, then gently flip them and allow them to cook for another minute.
Use a big slotted spoon to remove them from the water and allow them to drain well, before placing them on your prepared baking sheet.
Adorn Your Pretzels
Whisk together your egg and water. This is an egg wash, and it gives a great texture and finish to the pretzels - don’t skip it!
Brush the egg wash over as much of the pretzels are exposed. Tops and sides - you don’t need to flip them to get underneath, though.
Generously sprinkle the tops with coarse sea salt.
Bake Your pretzels
Put your pan in the oven and bake until they’re golden brown.
Just don’t over bake them, or you’ll end up with hard pretzels! As soon as they go golden, take them out!
Let them cool a LITTLE when you remove them... but otherwise, you can dig in while they’re still warm.
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Heart Shaped Beer Pretzels with Jalapeno Jack Dip
Heart Shaped Beer Pretzels
- 1 ½ Cups Warm - not hot - Beer
- ¼ Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Active Dry Yeast (about 2 ¼ tsp)
- 5 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- ½ tsp Salt
- 4 oz Unsalted Butter Melted
- Olive Oil
- 3 L Water (3 Quarts)
- ¾ Cup Baking Soda
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 Tbsp Cold Water
- Coarse Sea Salt
Jalapeno Jack Dip
- 1 Cup Milk
- 12 oz Jalapeno Jack Cheese Shredded
- 2 Tbsp Corn Starch
- Combine warm beer with brown sugar, stir until sugar is almost dissolved. Add yeast, stirring until incorporated.Set aside in a warm place for 10 minutes, or until foamy.
- In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Add melted butter, stirring until well distributed. Pour in yeast/beer mixture, stirring until well combined.
- Turn dough out onto a clean surface, knead for a couple of minutes. Dough should be soft and smooth.
- Pour about 1 Tbsp of olive oil into a large, clean metal or glass bowl. Add freshly kneaded dough to the bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap, set aside in a warm spot to rise for an hour or two, until doubled.
- Once the dough has doubled in size:Pinch off a fist-sized chunk of dough, roll it into a thick “snake”, form into a heart shape, and pinch ends to seal:
- Repeat with remaining dough.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add baking soda, stir until combined.
- Boil the pretzels, a few at a time, for about a minute. Gently stir as they boil, to ensure that the entire surface of each is in contact with the water at some point. Use a slotted spoon to transfer each pretzel to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and/or lightly coated with cooking spray. (you’ll need 2 baking sheets)
- Whisk together eggs and water, brush this mixture across the tops of the pretzels. Generously sprinkle the tops with coarse sea salt.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool for a minute or two before eating. Enjoy!
Jalapeno Jack Dip
- Heat milk in a medium saucepan. In a separate bowl, toss cheese with corn starch.
- Add about half of the cheese to the pot, stirring until melted in.
- Add the rest of the cheese, continue stirring until everything is melted and smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot!
More “Capital B” Baking Recipes
Does the smell of yeast proofing just get cheer your up? Oh, I love the smell of it. Anyway, if you’re looking for more excuses to bake something that involves waiting for rise times, here are a few more recipes!
Apple Cinnamon Buns
Basil, Roasted Red Pepper, & Asiago Bread Braid
Buffalo Chicken Buns
Chai Cinnamon Rolls
How to Make Bagels
Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bagels
Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Pretzel Bites
Maple Walnut Spiced Pumpkin Buns
Paska - Ukrainian Easter Bread
Porter House Grainy Rye Bread
Pumpernickel Everything Bagels
Sauerkraut Balls - Pyrizhky
Spinach Hand Pies