For the Pretzel Dough
1/2 cup water, warmed (between 105°F and 110°F)
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin ale
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 ounces Beecher's Flagship cheese, shredded (1 cup)
Coarse salt to taste
For the Baking Soda Bath
1/2 cup baking soda
9 cups water
Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare two baking sheets each with greased parchment paper.
Activate the yeast. In a standing mixer, whisk warm water, yeast, and brown sugar together. Cover with a towel and let rest for about 10-15 minutes. Once yeast is activated, you will see foam on top of the mixture, and even a few small bubbles.
Add melted butter, pumpkin beer, and salt. Whisk until combined.
Add 3 cups of flour – one at a time, stirring until combined. 1/2 cup at a time, add the remaining 1 cup of flour and stir until mixture is well combined. Dough should be thick and balling in the center of the bowl, not spreading to the sides and sticking. If it is still sticky, add an extra 1/4 cup flour at a time as needed.
On a lightly floured surface, start kneading mixture. Add half the shredded Flagship and knead for 4-5 minutes until dough is smooth. Once it no longer sticks heavily to the table or your hands, cover with a towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
While the dough is resting, make the baking soda bath. In a large pot, bring water and baking soda to a boil.
When dough is done resting, use a pizza cutter or a large knife to cut into 12 equal sections (about 1/3 cup each). Roll each section into a long rope, about 18 inches long and ½ inch thick.
Twist each rope into a pretzel shape. Bring the ends of the rope together to form a circle. Twist the ends and then bring them back down towards you to create the shape. The tighter the knot shape, the more cheese it will hold on top.
Dip each pretzel in the boiling baking soda bath for 25 seconds, do not exceed 30 seconds. Remove from the bath with a slotted spoon and let water drip off for a few seconds, then place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt as desired. Up to 6 pretzels per sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from heat, brush with extra melted butter and top with remaining Flagship.
PROTIP: A stand mixer is recommended, but hand mixing is an option – and doubles as a great workout for the forearms.