Bottom of the Barrel Oktoberfest Pretzel Bites & Beer Cheese Dip
Oh Autumn, how we love the signals of your arrival. Changing leaves, cooler temperatures, aromas of cinnamon and spice dancing in the air. Those are just some of the lovely things about fall, but here at Mr. Beer, a couple of other things come to mind. The Fall season brings us the most beer-centric holiday that many of us celebrate all around the world, reaching far beyond its original cultural borders!
While enjoying all that fabulous beer, you’re probably going to get kind of hungry, just a guess! We don’t know your life, but we sure know the following recipe will cure whatever hunger pangs that might “ALE” you this beer-fest season!
What could possibly be a more appropriate form of sustenance for such a holiday than “Beer pretzel bites” and “Beer cheese”?! The answer? Pretty much nothing.
This recipe allows you to incorporate your homebrew into the perfect beer-drinking accessory so that you can be the talk of the party, neighborhood, or office; perhaps the only person you feel the need to impress is reading this, now. Either way, these delicious little golden balls of dough will hit the spot, especially smothered in delicious beer cheese! HEYO!
Pour yourself a beer, pull on your best lederhosen or Dirndl, crack your knuckles, and MAKE THIS YEAR’S OKTOBERFEST, DELICIOUS!
Here are a couple of handle tips from us, but we’re sure you already knew this stuff:
*These recipes were originally created with remaining beer from the bottom of the fermenter after bottling, but bottled homebrew or commercially produced beer also works, great. The nice thing about using homebrew is that you will have more flavor, and better proofing.
*Beers that would be great to utilize: Oktoberfest, Bohemian Pilsner, Weiss beer, Golden ale, Classic American light, American ale, Canadian blonde, or bewitched amber
*Give yourself enough time, and plan!
*Relax, have a homebrew.
“Bottom of the Barrel” Oktoberfest Beer cheese Pretzel bites and dip.
For the Beer cheese dip:
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup of beer (You can use beer you have bottled OR you can use the liquid remains from your keg)
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- .5 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- .5 teaspoon garlic powder (more if you like that kind of thing)
- .25 teaspoon smoked Paprika
- .25 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- 2 cups of good quality, shredded cheddar cheese. (Treat yourself)
Start by melting your butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Be careful not to burn the butter.
Once the butter is fully melted, begin adding your flour, while stirring constantly to form a roux. This takes about one minute.
In a slow stream, pour in the milk and continue to whisk.
Next, whisk in the beer, lowering or raising the heat to keep the temperature fairly consistent.
Continuing to stir, add in your Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and salt
Lastly, add the shredded cheese while stirring a bit at a time, until the mixture because smooth and incorporated. We don’t have time in our lives for chunky cheese.
What would a proper beer cheese be without a vehicle to drive it right into your mouth? Enter: “Bottom of the Barrel” beer pretzel bites!
Are You hungry yet? NO? GREAT! Can I have your portion?
“BTB” Pretzel Bites:
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 12 ounces warmed beer about 110 degrees (you can use what’s leftover in your LBK, or you can use already bottled beer)
- 2 tablespoons honey or sugar
- 3 ¼ cup AP flour
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ cup baking soda (yes It’s really that much!)
- 1 large egg
- *additional coarse kosher salt for topping the bites
How to make them:
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and or cooking spray.
Pour beer into the bowl of a stand mixer (You can hand mix this if you do not have a mixer.) Sprinkle yeast over top, add honey and stir. Allow yeast to bloom for 5-10 minutes. Once it is nice and foamy, it is ready. (You can also use a couple of tablespoons of your beer trub in with the bread yeast as well)
Fill an 8-quart pot with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat (you will utilize this a little later in the process). In a small bowl beat egg and 2 tablespoons water with a fork. Set aside. Wash a section of countertop for rolling out dough. Do not flour it or it will be harder to roll out the dough.
Add flour and salt to mixer. Knead for about 3 minutes until the dough comes together in one ball. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time as needed, if the bread is too sticky to come together. The dough should be tacky when you pull it out of the mixer, not sticky.
Place dough on the countertop and form dough into a ball. We are going to cut this ball into about 64 even pieces. First-quarter the ball of dough. Roll each quarter into an 18-22” strand. Cut that into 4 equal pieces. Then cut each piece into 4 equal pieces. You can use a bench scraper or a knife. When you are done you will have 64 pieces… Or you know, something like that. Hey, they’re your pretzels!
Now, this next part is a little piece of culinary magic for ya!
** PLEASE CONDUCT THIS NEXT STEP WITH EXTREME CARE AND CAUTION. BOILING HOT BAKING SODA IS VERY CAUSTIC AND CAN DAMAGE YOUR SKIN AND EYES. PREFORM SODA WASH IN A WELL-VENTILATED AREA. WE WANT YOU TO LIVE FOREVER**
The “soda bath” will give your pretzel bites that hallmark pretzel texture and color! All your friends will say “How did you this, please share your great knowledge?!” and you can reply “SCIENCE! GET SOME!”, while beating your chest with beer-fest pride!
Carefully, add baking soda to boiling water. USE CAUTION: IT WILL BUBBLE UP. Reduce heat to medium. Place dough bites into boiling water about 10 at a time. It will bubble up, so use extreme caution.
Remove with a slotted spoon after 30 seconds. Place on parchment paper to cool and repeat until all bites have been boiled.
Arrange all pretzel bites on parchment so they are not touching. Brush egg wash onto each one and sprinkle with coarse salt. (pretzel bites are known for their anti-social nature)
Bake for 7-9 minutes until the tops are browned.
Remove them from the over, pat yourself on the back.
Last, tell your family you’re leaving and taking your beer cheese creation with you and eat it all yourself while enjoying your finely crafted homebrew and keeping watch for interlopers…. Or you know, share them with people you love and bask in the glory of your culinary accomplishment!
PROST! *said through a mouth full of cheese and pretzel bites*