As a blogger that does this for a hobby and not my full-time job, it’s sometimes difficult to find the time I’d like to devote to this blog. If I had it my way, I’d exclusively work here – cooking all day, everyday? Yes please! But alas, that’s not in the cards for me at this point. I love to travel, love to shop and looovvve to go out to eat and indulge myself in the full shebang of drinks and dinner once or twice a week. It also helps that I actually enjoy being in a business setting day to day, love the people I work with and love our clients I get to interact with… I just wish there was more time in the day, but don’t we all?
Working during the day only allows weeknights and weekends to cook and photograph food, and since weekends tend to be rather busy in the summer, most nights I come home from work and cook for my husband and I… AND the blog. And while I get to dream up and execute creative dinner ideas that I call “blog worthy,” it leaves me less time to cook and bake the things that are building up on my more labor intensive list of must make dishes.
Things like homemade croissants, complex desserts, slow-roasted meats and homemade pastas.
Everything bagels are one of the things that have been on my to-do list for MONTHS. So when I had a free afternoon yesterday, I dove right in.
And guess what? It was SO easy, and bonus? Not the least bit time-consuming.
After perusing through the Internet a bit, I finally settled on this Alton Brown soft pretzel recipe for the base and put my own everything seasoning mixture together.
If you have a stand mixer, the dough is pretty much fool proof. Wake the yeast up with a little warm water and sugar; dump the flour and butter in, and then let the machine do all the work for you.
I think it goes without saying that if there are soft pretzels, there will be cheese, right?
Now, I don’t do nacho cheese, it totally grosses me out. You see, my very first job when I was twelve or thirteen years old was in the concession stand at a softball field. I was privy to how all that ballpark food we enjoy so much is really prepared… Do you know where I’m going with this?? When I witnessed nacho cheese coming out of an aluminum can, looking like yellow glue, I almost lost my lunch – and as you can imagine, I haven’t been able to even look at it since.
So today in place of that processed stuff, we’ve classed it up a bit with an aged Monterey jack, mild hatch peppers and pale ale beer. It’s made like a traditional fondue – the cheese is grated, coated in a little bit of flour and then slowly melted into the beer until cohesive and oh so dippable. (Yes I realize this is a made up word)
Meet your new best friend….
Cheesy, boozy fondue.
Love at first dip…
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 10 cups water
- scant ⅔ cup baking soda
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons course salt
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 1 cup aged Monterey Jack cheese or aged cheddar, shredded
- ½ cup fresh mozzarella, shredded
- ½ cup pale ale beer
- 1 hatch pepper
- 1 tablespoon flour
- In the bottom of a stand mixer, combine water, sugar and salt. Sprinkle yeast over. Let set for 5 minutes until foamy. Add in flour and melted butter. Using the dough hook, mix the dough until combined on a low speed, Increase the speed to medium and mix for five to seven minutes until dough becomes smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Rinse bowl off and then grease with canola oil. Place dough in the bottom and coat with oil. Cover with a towel and place in a warm, draft –free place. Let rise for one hour.
- Once the dough has risen, cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll dough into an 18-20 inch rope. Shape into pretzels.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large stock pot to a rolling boil. Add baking soda. Place pretzels one at a time in the water and baking soda mixture. Cook for 45 seconds, flipping halfway through.
- Transfer pretzels to a greased baking sheet. Whish egg and water together in a small bowl. Brush pretzels with egg wash and then sprinkle liberally with everything seasoning mixture. Bake until golden brown, about 13-15 minutes
- Fondue: In a small saucepan, heat beer over a medium heat. Toss shredded cheese with 1 tablespoon flour. Reduce heat on stove to low and add diced peppers and cheese coated in flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy.
Pretzel dough recipe from Alton Brown via Foodnetwork.com