Soft Pretzel Ingredients:
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 quarts water
- 3/4 cup baking soda
- 1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
- Coarse sea salt
Cheese Sauce Ingredients:
- ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ cup milk
- 8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl and mix until combined with a dough hook mixer. Let the dough sit for 5 minutes.
Add salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a floured flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
Take the tablespoon of vegetable and oil a clean bow. Add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour. (**Warm 2 cups of water for 2 minutes in the microwave. This gets the microwave warm. It makes for a great sealed place for the dough to rise).
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a pan over high heat. Once the water is boiling, add the baking soda.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope and then cut the dough into one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites. In batches, boil the pretzel bites in the water solution. (We did one rope worth of bites at a time.) Boil for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon.
Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 13-15 minutes.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until smooth and all of the cheese is melted.
Mix 1 tablespoon of stone ground or creole mustard with ½ tablespoon honey. Add mustard or honey to taste.
*This is one batch (the amount that fit on one cookie sheet). The recipe made THREE batches, so there are plenty of bites to go around!