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After falling in love with Hofbräuhaus beer cheese and German pretzels a few years ago, we quickly learned how to make them ourselves. A delicious Oktoberfest recipe, these homemade pretzels with beer cheese dip will be a huge hit.
A German recipe everyone will love, these soft pretzels are worth the time and effort required. And don’t skimp on the beer cheese sauce they are served with. It’s just a few extra minutes but really elevates the entire snacking experience!
My husband and I love traveling, although we don’t get to go as often as we should. One place we have been to quite a few times is Cincinnati, OH because we have family there. With a strong German heritage on my husband’s side, we were immediately drawn to a restaurant nearby called Hofbräuhaus.
Every time we go, we make sure to get their homemade pretzels which are honestly to die for. They serve them with a delicious beer cheese and the whole experience is just magical.
I decided to try making homemade pretzels myself to see if I could recreate our favorite menu item in honor of Oktoberfest. Can I just tell you that I did not want to stop eating them when they got out of the oven! This is not the actual Hofbrauhaus beer cheese recipe but it was still pretty good.
How to Make Homemade Pretzels
Looking around online, I found tons of recipes for making homemade pretzels. What makes German pretzels unique is how they are made. In fact, soft pretzels are made with yeast dough and that is very similar to bagels. (Do not try shortcuts like pizza dough beer pretzels or slower cooker-style beer cheese with cream cheese. They are not the same!)
Just like bagels, once the pretzel dough rises, it gets a ‘bath’ before heading into the oven. It’s the rising, bathing, and baking that gives homemade pretzels their unique chewy on the outside and soft on the inside texture.
How Do You Shape Pretzels?
The dough for these homemade pretzels is fairly dense and a tad bit salty. You will mix the ingredients (I highly recommend a Kitchenaid mixer for this!) and let the dough rise once.
The original recipe says you get 12 pretzels but I divided it into 9 pieces and made fairly large ones. Each section of dough is rolled into a 20-inch rope before being shaped into the traditional pretzel shape.
Make a U shape, draw the ends back down towards you, leaving two loops at the top, twist, and press the ends into the bottom of the pretzel as shown.
I have seen videos of people doing this where they are practically throwing the dough up in the air and twirling it around but I am nowhere near that skilled!
The Secret to Homemade German Pretzels
The secret to the shiny, chewy outside of a homemade pretzel is a ‘bath’ before it is baked. Traditional German pretzels used to be bathed in a lye solution but a baking soda bath is the most common way to do it today.
Choose a large pot to boil the water in before adding the baking soda. It WILL bubble quite vigorously so make sure you leave yourself some room so it doesn’t boil over!
Best Salt for Soft Pretzels
After boiling for 10 to 20 seconds or so. sprinkle with salt and bake as described in the recipe below. Next time I do this I am investing in pretzel salt. Here is an affiliate link to coarse pretzel salt on Amazon. I couldn’t find it in any of my local stores.
I had 3 different kinds of salt in my kitchen and none seemed ‘just right’ for decorating my homemade pretzels!
The rock salt was a touch too big so I smashed it with a mallet in a plastic bag before sprinkling it on. Great way to get out a little frustration and anger, however, I think the grains of salt were still a tad too big.
These homemade pretzels were incredibly easy to make and even though they took a couple of hours, most of it was rising or baking. The actual hands-on work is very minimal.
Does Beer Cheese Have Beer In It? Yes, It Does!
The beer cheese is an amazing addition to this snack. It really is a great blend between the beer and cheddar flavors. I seriously wanted to just lick the bowl clean when I was done eating! The beer cheese was inspired by a recipe on the Williams Sonoma website, although I changed it a little bit.
Essentially, you are just making a cheese sauce and replacing some of the milk for beer, and adding some mustard.
If you are looking for Oktoberfest recipes, this one will certainly wow your family and friends. And if it’s no longer October? Make them anyhow! You will not be sorry!
Homemade Pretzels with Beer Cheese
These soft pretzels with German beer cheese dip are soft, tender, and delicious. While making homemade pretzels is time-consuming, it is SO worth the effort, especially for your next Oktoberfest celebration. There is nothing more delicious than fresh-from-the-oven German pretzels dunked in homemade beer cheese.
- FOR THE PRETZELS
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup lukewarm water plus 2 to 3 TBSP extra water if needed for dough
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 3 tbsp butter, softened
- Coarse salt for sprinkling
- FOR THE SODA BATH
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 2 quarts water
- FOR THE BEER CHEESE
- 3 TBSP butter
- 4 TBSP flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3/4 cup beer (the darker the beer, the stronger the beer flavor)
- 12 ounces shredded cheddar
- 1/2 TBSP steak sauce
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add the 2 packages of yeast and 1 tsp sugar to the 1 cup warm water. Let sit 5 minutes.
- In the bowl of your mixer, add 4 cups of flour and the 2 tsp salt.
- Pour the yeast mixture and softened butter into the flour and attach dough hook.
- Mix on medium speed until the dough starts to hold together. You may need to add a few more TBSP water.
- Once the dough has taken shape, mix on medium speed 6 to 7 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the hook and leave dough in the bowl.
- Cover the bowl with a towel and put somewhere warm for 30 to 45 minutes. It should be about double in size.
- Cut the dough into approximately 10 pieces, give or take one or two, depending on how big you want them.
- Roll each dough ball into a 20 inch long rope (approximately). You will want to roll the strip of dough while moving your hands slowly apart from each other to stretch the rope out. Be careful you dont break it.
- Form each dough rope into a pretzel shape and place on a cooking sheet covered with parchment paper.
- Place pretzel dough into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up a bit. Chilling will also help form the 'crust' on your final pretzels.
- To make your bath solution: Place water in a large pot, making sure not to fill more than 3/4 of the way full. When the water is boiling, add the 1/2 cup baking soda slowly. It will bubble and fizz but will settle down.
- One by one, using a slotted spoon, drop your pretzel dough into the water bath. Let it boil for 10 seconds on each side. Remove with slotted spoon and place back onto parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt. When all pretzels are done, bake them in a a 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are lightly browned.
- While pretzels are in the oven, make your beer cheese!
- In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. Add flour and mix until combined. Whisk in milk and beer and cook over medium heat until slightly thickened.
- Add the steak sauce and dry mustard, stirring to combine.
- Slowly add a bit of of the shredded cheese at a time, stirring well to melt. Continue until all the cheese is added and melted. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve pretzels warm with a side of beer cheese and enjoy!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 509Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 3399mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 16g
Nutrition information not always accurate
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire and has worked in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging and freelance writing to share this knowledge with others. Learn more about her HERE.