Cristina Ferrare's Soft Pretzels With Jalapeño Cheese Sauce


Soft Pretzels


  • 1½ cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4½ cups
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • ⅔ cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Truffle salt, cayenne salt, smoked chili salt, lime salt, an herb salt


  1. Combine the water, sugar, and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl, and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  3. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan.
  4. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 24 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 6-8 inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
  5. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 3 at a time so as to not crowd the pretzels, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Jalape ñ o Cheese Sauce


  • 1 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoons flour
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely minced
  • 1 cup Colby Jack cheese
  • ½ -1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Add flour and whisk to combine, cooking about one minute until smooth.
  3. Add milk, whisking to incorporate.
  4. Add jalapeño.
  5. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir frequently until thickened, about 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.
  7. Add cayenne pepper to taste.

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