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Homemade Soft Pretzel Rods

Homemade Soft Pretzel Rods with Spicy Cheddar Onion Dip

I love homemade pretzels. Whether they’re rods, bites or twists, they’re the perfect warm and savory snack.

Or a meal, in the case of this recipe. Hello, fifty pretzels! Hello, spicy cheddar dip!

Serve these with some crudités to feel like a good adult who eats their vegetables, and you’ll have a whimsical Saturday night meal.

Homemade Pretzel Rods
Yield 50 pretzels.

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
3 ¼ cups bread flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
9 cups water + 1 tablespoon, divided
½ cup baking soda
1 large egg
Sea salt

Dried, crushed herbs of your choice. (For instance, I love the combination of fennel, onion flakes and sea salt. Go crazy! It’s a pretty inexpensive recipe so it’s the perfect chance to play with spice blends to see what you like. Make your own “house” spice blend and give it a name. Go on. You know you wanna do it.)

In a medium bowl, stir the sugar and yeast together to combine. Add the warm water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the flour and salt together. With the motor running, add the yeast mixture, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and 1 cup of warm water.
When the dough forms a ball, continue to process the dough for 30 seconds. (That’s the “kneading” part of the recipe.)
Grease a large bowl with remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil.
The dough is going to be sticky, but form it into a ball and roll it around in the ball until it’s coated with oil.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place for the dough to rise, about 30 minutes. When the dough has doubled, lightly flour a work surface.
Roll the dough out, until it’s about ½-inch thick. Cut into 4-5 inch strips, about 1 inch wide. (Note: If you want to roll them so they’re more round than flat, that’s up to you. Either way, they’re soft and delicious when baked.)
Divide the pretzels between two rimmed cookie sheets.
Rising Pretzel Rods
Let rise until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Bring 8 cups water and baking soda to a simmer over high heat.
Gently drop the pretzels in (being careful not to overcrowd the pan – you’re going to need to do this in batches) and turn after 30 seconds.
Boiling Pretzel Rods
Let boil for another 30 seconds.
Remove the pretzels with a slotted spoon or spider.
Place the pretzels on paper towels to dry. Only let the pretzels sit for a few seconds, and then place back on rimmed cookie sheets. (They will stick to the paper towels if you let them sit too long.)
Beat egg with 1 teaspoon water.
Brush the pretzels with the egg mixture and season with salt (and herbs if using).
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
Place on drying racks.
Spicy Cheddar Dip
Spicy Cheddar Onion Dip
Yield 1 cup. (Can easily be doubled.)

½ small onion, diced
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon unbleached flour
1 cup half and half
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon cayenne
Chives or scallions, for garnish

In a small saucepan heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat, until the butter is melted.
Saute the onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
Add the half and half and bring to a gentle simmer.
Stir in the cheddar cheese, and whisk constantly until melted.
Add the paprika, cayenne and worcestershire.
Garnish with chives.
Serve immediately with pretzels.

(Photos by Launie Kettler)

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