“I’m always looking for new ways to combine fun flavours, and what goes together better than beer and pretzels? Not much that I can think of. That’s why I put them together into one delicious recipe.” —Alyssa Wilhite, Whitehouse, Texas
In a small saucepan, heat beer to 110°-115°; remove from heat. Stir in yeast until dissolved. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, yeast mixture and 3 cups flour; beat on medium speed until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425°. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide and shape into 8 balls. Roll each into a 24-in. rope. Curve ends of each rope to form a circle; twist ends once and lay over opposite side of circle, pinching ends to seal.
In a Dutch oven, bring water and baking soda to a boil. Drop pretzels, 2 at a time, into boiling water. Cook 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain well on paper towels.
Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolk and water; brush over pretzels. Sprinkle with coarse salt if desired. Bake until golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Remove from pans to a wire rack to cool.
Freeze option: Freeze cooled pretzels in freezer containers. To use, thaw at room temperature or microwave each pretzel on high until heated through, 20-30 seconds.
To Make Pretzel Rolls:
Divide and shape dough into 8 balls; roll each into a 14-in. rope. Starting at 1 end of each rope, loosely wrap dough around itself to form a coil. Boil, top and bake as directed.
Yield: 8 pretzels.
To Make Pretzel Bites: Divide and shape into eight balls; roll each into a 12-in. rope. Cut each rope into 1-in. pieces. Boil and top as directed; bake at 400° for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.