I’m a little bit of a beer nerd. Not a full blown beer nerd. I can’t pronounce brettanomyces, but I did dabble in home brewing, so, I’m somewhere on the spectrum. The point is, I love beer, particularly Belgian ales and German doppelbock’s. Beer is one of my favorite things to pair with food, particularly because it’s so easy. The sweet malt, bright bitterness, and bubbles make beer a natural pairing with salty, fatty foods. Think cheese, nuts, meat, or any delicious carbohydrate.
Pretzels and beer are a must. The warm, chewy saltiness of a pretzel calls out for love of a good beer. These ones are classic, but for a decadent twist, sprinkle yours with truffle salt instead of kosher salt. It’s pretty out of control.
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups boiling water
1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping
Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and oil and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 15 minutes. Put the dough into a greased bowl container, cover, and sit in a warm place for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt (or if you want to be decadent, truffle salt). Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
INGREDIENTS (HONEY MUSTARD SAUCE)
1/4 cup Colman’s dry mustard
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
Stir together dry mustard, vinegar, 2 tablespoons of water, and honey in a medium metal bowl until smooth. Chill, covered, overnight.
Put oil and mustard seeds in a small frying pan and heat over medium heat, covered. As soon as mustard seeds start to pop, about 3 minutes, remove from heat. Let cool.
Bring a medium pot filled with 1 inch of water to a simmer. To mustard-vinegar mixture, add toasted mustard seeds in oil, egg, salt, and cornstarch and whisk to blend. Set bowl over saucepan and cook, whisking constantly, until mustard thickens, 5-10 minutes.