Servings: 16 bites
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 24 minutes
*Your Chef will lead you through all the techniques, so prepping ahead of class is optional
Ingredients for the dough:
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 tablespoon honey or barley malt syrup
- 1 tablespoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 3 cups (about 15 ounces) all-purpose or bread flour
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 8 ounces Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, cut in 16 – ¼ inch cubes
Ingredients for cooking the pretzels:
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
- 4 – 6 cups water
- 1/2 tablespoon pretzel or kosher salt
Ingredients for the beer cheese sauce:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 cup light beer, such as a pilsner or amber
- 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons yellow mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- To make the dough: In a large bowl stir together the warm water, honey and yeast. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast has dissolved and is foamy on top of the water. (If this doesn’t happen within 5 minutes, your yeast is probably dead and you should start with a new package.)
- Stir the flour and salt into the yeast mixture until a shaggy dough forms then work in the softened butter. Knead the dough, either in the bowl or on the countertop, until a smooth ball forms- about 5 minutes.
- Lightly grease the bowl before placing the dough in, turning to coat it. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or cling film and place it in a warm, draft-free spot (the inside of the oven with the light on or the top of the fridge are both great options). Allow to proof for about 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and line two sheet trays with parchment paper.
- Bring 4 to 6 cups of water to a boil in a wide, deep-sided pan or pot.
- Turn the dough out onto the countertop, letting gravity do its job. Use a bench scraper or knife to divide the dough into 16 even pieces. Form your hand into a claw and shape each dough piece into rounds, using the palm of your hand and the countertop to create a tight ball. If the dough is too sticky to work with, sprinkle a bit of flour on the countertop. Flatten each ball into a disc, place a cube of cheese in the middle then pull all the edges up to create a purse. Pinch the dough to seal, rolling it on the countertop again if needed to smooth out the seam.
- Stir the baking soda into the boiling water, being careful as it will bubble up. Lower to a simmer and place 3 or 4 bites in the water; cook for 1 minute on each side before using a slotted spoon or spider to place on the trays, leaving at least 1 inch of space between each one. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle the tops with kosher salt.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the bites are a deep, golden brown. Serve warm with the cheese sauce.
- To make the beer cheese sauce melt the butter over medium-high heat in a deep-sided saucepot. Once the butter is melted sprinkle in the flour and whisk constantly for 3 to 4 minutes until it just begins to smell a little nutty. Lower the heat to medium and slowly pour in the milk, whisking nonstop to avoid clumps. When you are sure there are no clumps pour in the beer along with the Worcestershire, mustard, cayenne (if using) and garlic powder.
- Remove the pot from the heat before adding the cheese; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, taste and adjust as needed.
The pretzel bites can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven for the best results.
The cheese sauce can be saved in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but it probably won’t last that long! Reheat on the stovetop, adding a splash of milk or water as needed to thin it out.