For Soft Pretzels With More Bite, Swap The Water For Beer

Though setting out to make pretzels at home may seem like an ambitious, time-consuming culinary project, sometimes the best rewards come from the greatest efforts. Such is the case with warm pretzels taken fresh out of the oven. Golden brown and perfectly salted, the crust of a crunchy pretzel gives way to a soft, pillowy interior that is perfect to eat as is or when dipped into your favorite kind of mustard, cheese, or pretzel accompaniment.

For those moments you can't make it to the store to buy pretzels already made for you, you can put a recipe together at home that tastes just like a creation taken out of a Bavarian kitchen. To make the dough needed to fashion the pretzel's famous shape, sweetener and yeast is required. But for an added tangy taste and chewy bite, consider using beer as part of the liquid needed to make the pretzel dough. 

A hoppy addition

Adding a splash of beer won't turn your beloved pretzel snack into boozy bread, but the hoppy ingredient will add subtle complexity to a basic batch of wheat dough. You can experiment with the amount of beer you use in your recipes, but even replacing half of the water you usually use to make pretzel dough and using beer instead can provide nuanced layers to the dough — long before the braided pieces get anywhere near a hot oven.

While there are plenty of flavor variations for pretzels after they've been baked — sprinklings of salt, fried pieces of crispy onions and garlic, or the sweet cinnamon and sugar combination — a bit of beer can help your pretzels taste like the original European recipes. Plus, with a generous coating of your favorite European-style butter, you'll have a tough time stopping at eating just one. Serve with a pint of smoky Rauchbier, and you may convince yourself you're feasting in Europe.