These Dill Pretzels with Cider Cheese Dip have been fermenting in my brain like a crock of sauerkraut for years. Way back in 2013 I made a batch of bagels and topped a few with flaky sea salt and fresh dill, they were far and away the favorite flavor of the batch. I remember thinking "oooh, that'd make for a really yummy pretzel flavor" and I've thought the same thing every October since.
This year, I'm not letting autumn slip away again without making some kind of soft pretzel recipe. Thankfully, I've been reminded, time after time, that the homemade pretzel recipe needs to happen. After climbing a steep 9 mile hike while in Yosemite last month, we found respite in tall, frothy mugs of beer and a giant Bavarian pretzel the size of a BMW steering wheel. It was served with a beer cheese dip that was good, but could use a little zhoosh. In the moment, that German pretzel and beer cheese dip was exactly what I needed, and once again reminded me of my pretzel making plans.
Then my sweet and saucy Bavarian friend, Constanze, came down to visit from Seattle - twice in a month. When I mentioned my homemade pretzels plans to her, I knew I wouldn't hear the end of it until I actually baked a batch. So I got started while she was in town. Funny enough, as if it were the salt to my homemade pretzel, my parents booked a family trip to Leavenworth, a Bavarian town in central Washington. We leave this Friday for Oktoberfest and I was determined to nail down the Dill Pretzels with Cider Cheese Dip before we head for the hills.
This Dill Pretzels with Cider Cheese Dip recipe is everything you want for fall, indulgent and comforting.
I ended up baking at least 8 batches before I finally landed on this recipe for Dill Pretzels with Cider Cheese Dip. Crazy right? It took some serious recipe testing to get that perfect balance between the chewy, deep mahogany exterior and the lighter, airier center. Thankfully I had Constanze here to taste test and confirm that I was on was on the right autobahn with this Dill Pretzels with Cider Cheese Dip recipe. She went on and on about the homemade pretzels but was even more taken with the Cider Cheese Dip, which ended up being prima!
The pretzels are fun to make and shape with the long roll out and fancy looking, but super easy, twist method. My recipe subs in baking soda for a lye bath because let's be honest, none of us want to deal with that toxic mess in our home kitchens.
The dill pretzels are remarkably chewy from the blend of Bob's Red Mill Bread Flour and Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Flour. But the interior is still light and airy from the crisp and dry hard cider. I glaze these babies up with butter right when they come out of the oven and top them with crunchy sea salt flakes instead of the traditional coarse style pretzel salt that can grind between your teeth. The sea salt flakes lend a nice light crunch without overpowering the pretzels. Then they get topped with a hearty shower of freshly chopped dill to add an herby freshness that combines with the sea salt flakes and evokes a flavor reminiscent of dill pickles. These twisted sisters are sturdy enough to really get in there and scoop up copious amounts of the Cider Cheese Dip, which is great news because, you're likely to lose your lederhosen over this velvety smooth and flavorful dip.
Now let's discuss that dip. This Cider Cheese Dip starts with a simple shallot roux but the magic comes in when a splash of dry and bubbly Brut hard cider gets mixed in. It gives the base of the sauce a full flavor similar to a white wine sauce. Then comes the cream and Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese, followed by a zip of spicy brown mustard, plenty of S&P and a heavy handed sprinkle of fresh chives and dill. It's rich, thick, creamy and a dream date to the chewy Dill Pretzels. This hearty combo of Dill Pretzels with Cider Cheese Dip will have you yodeling from the mountaintops, at least between bites.
I've included a whole series of images and 2 recipe videos (yay!) below to walk you through every little step of the pretzel making process. Don't let the length of the post intimidate you, pretzels are super easy to make, especially when someone is showing you the pretzel ropes, like this. ? ?
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These Dill Pretzels get their signature chew from blending a mix of Bob's Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour and Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Flour.Print