Homemade Soft Pretzels

Take your baking to the next level with these epic homemade pretzels. This recipe is a great project to do on a night in with friends or family! Plus, this mustard cheese sauce is an absolute game changer.

Ingredients
Makes 12 pretzels
SOFT PRETZELS
Flour
8 cups
Water, warmed to 90F
2 3/4 cup
Active dry yeast
4 1/2 tsp
Salt
3 1/2 tsp
White sugar
2 tsp
Olive oil
4 Tbsp
Water, for pretzel bath
4 cups
Baking soda, for pretzel bath
4 Tbsp
Butter, melted
3 Tbsp
Flaked salt
For sprinkling
MUSTARD CHEESE SAUCE
Butter
1/4 cup
Flour
1/4 cup
Milk
2 cups
Smoked Cheddar cheese
1 block
Stoneground mustard
1-2 Tbsp
Salt and pepper
To taste

1. Start your dough at least 8 hours ahead of when you plan to make pretzels. I made this recipe for 12 pretzels because if you are going through the effort of make them from scratch, you might as well make enough so you can share or freeze them for another day. The dough is usable up to 72 hours in the fridge, so you can always make it several days ahead of time or before you head to work.

2. In the largest bowl you have, combine flour, salt and sugar together and mix until evenly incorporated. 

3. Warm water to ~90F and use some of it to mix into the active dry yeast to activate. TIP: You can use a mason jar to shake up the yeast and some warm water and it will help activate it quickly.

4. Pour the warm water and the activated yeast into the dry mixture. Add olive oil and stir and knead until the dough is mix well. If the dough is too try, you can add a tad bit more of warm water to give you a more doughy consistency. 

5. Cover dough with a lid or cling wrap and set in the fridge for ideally 8 hours.

6. Remove from fridge and let the dough warm and rise for an hour. 

7. Flour your counter and flip the dough out and using a knife or dough scraper, cut your dough into 12 even dough balls. Lightly flour the tops of your dough balls and cover with a dry kitchen towel. This will allow the dough to rise, warm up, and proof a little more so it will be easier to roll into pretzels.

8. Preheat oven to 450F and start a pot of boiling water. Once water is boiled, add the 4 T. Baking soda and stir until dissolved.

9. Start with one dough ball at a time and roll the dough by hand into a 16 inch rope. Ideally leave the middle of the rope a little thicker than the ends. Bring the two ends of the rope together and twist 2-3 times around and then fold and lay the ends of the rope on the thicker U. TIP: If you notice your rope is too floured, use a little water to help fix the ends to the pretzels. 

10. Once your pretzels are all rolled out, stick them twist side down into the pretzel bath for 45 seconds and then use a spatula to flip on the other side. Remove and place on an oiled baking sheet that parchment paper. Brush melted butter over the twisted side of the pretzel and generously sprinkle flaked salt.

11. Bake pretzels for ~15 minutes or until they have a nice dark brown color. Remove from heat and let cool.

12. While pretzels are baking you can get started on the cheese sauce. Use a sauce pan and melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk into a roux for 3-4 minutes until the mixture starts to turn light tan and smells delicious. Gradually pour in your milk while whisking vigorously. Add grated cheese, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste and stir until cheese is melted and fully incorporated. Serve with pretzels as a dip and enjoy!