1 package rapid-rise yeast
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour (16 1/2 ounces)
1 cup water, at approximately 110 degrees
Approximately 1 T olive oil
Baking Soda Solution:
Approximately 6 cups water
3 T baking soda
Salt for sprinkling on pretzels
Jalapeno Cheese Sauce
1 T unsalted butter
1 T flour
3/4 cup milk
1 clove garlic, finely grated or minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced
1 cup Colby Jack cheese
1/2 -1 tsp cayenne pepper
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine all ingredients for the dough. Make sure you are using rapid rise yeast, or you will need to proof your yeast before mixing. Mix on low speed until combined and then knead about 5-7 minutes on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Prepare a separate bowl by coating with olive oil, transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat evenly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about one hour or until doubled in size. Punch dough down, recover and let rise approximately 30 minutes more.
In a large low pan (a 12″ skillet with deep sides or a small dutch oven will work perfectly) bring water and baking soda to a boil over medium high heat. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Separate dough into 12 approximately 2 ounce pieces. Roll each piece into a long string, about 20 inches in length. Fold pretzels into shape, twisting the ends over each other and pressing lightly to seal dough into shape. Transfer pretzels, a few at a time to boiling water, cook 30 seconds on each side, turning with a slotted spoon, drain and transfer to prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with coarse salt and repeat until all the pretzels have been boiled. They don’t need much room on the baking sheet as they won’t spread much in the oven. Bake approximately 12-14 minutes until dark golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and serve.
Jalapeno Cheese Sauce
In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine, cooking about one minute until smooth. Add milk, whisking to incorporate. Add garlic and jalapeno. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir frequently until thickened, about 15 minutes. The sauce should begin to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Add cayenne pepper to taste.
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