1 ½ cups warm beer
¼ cup brown sugar
1 ( ¼ ounce) package active dry yeast (about 2 ¼ tsp)
5 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, melted
3 quarts water
¾ cup baking soda
1 tablespoon cold water
Coarse sea salt
- Make the pretzel dough: combine warm beer (or water) with brown sugar, and stir until the sugar is almost dissolved.
- Add yeast, stirring until incorporated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside is a warm place for 10 minutes, or until foamy.
- In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Add melted butter, stirring until well distributed.
- Pour in yeast/beer mixture, stirring until well combined. Turn dough out onto a clean surface, knead for a couple of minutes. Dough should be soft and smooth.
- Pour about 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a large, clean metal or glass bowl. Add freshly kneaded dough to the bowl, turning to coat with the oil.
- Cover with plastic wrap, set aside in a warm spot to rise for an hour or two, until doubled.
- Once the pretzel dough has doubled in size: roll small, walnut-sized balls out of the cheese mixture. You should have about 40.
- Divide the pretzel dough into approximately 40 chunks.
- Preheat oven to 425ºF
- Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add baking soda (BE CAREFUL – it will foam up) and stir until combined.
- Boil the pretzels, about 10 at a time, for about a minute
- Gently stir as they boil, to ensure that the entire surface of each is in contact with the water at some point.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer each popper to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and/or lightly coated with cooking spray. (You’ll need 2 baking sheets).
- For the finishing touch: whisk together eggs and water, and brush this mixture across the tops of the poppers. Generously sprinkle the tops with coarse sea salt.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.