Pretzels & obatzda

Time: 1h (+2 hours chilling)


For the obatzda

  • 500g or 1lb camembert cheese (rind removed)
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup mascarpone (or substitute cream cheese)
  • ⅓ cup onion (finely chopped + finely sliced rings for garnish)
  • 1-2 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp caraway seeds
  • 4-8 tbsp wheat beer
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp of chives (finely chopped)

For the pretzel

  • 350 ml or 12 oz amber beer
  • 1 packet (~7g or ¼ oz) dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp butter (melted)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1,5 tsp salt
  • 4,25 cups flour
  • 10 cups water
  • ⅔ cup baking soda
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Coarse salt (to taste)


Start everything with the obatzda cheese sauce because it needs to chill for 2 hours.

  1. Roughly chop the camembert cheese. Combine the chopped camembert, mascarpone and butter, mix it with fork until it’s mixed, but not overly smooth.
  2. Add the chopped onions, half of the paprika, caraway, salt and pepper. Adjust for seasonings as desired.
  3. Add half the beer and stir until combined. Keep mixing in the remaining beer a little bit at a time until the cheese reaches a scoopable consistency.
  4. Transfer to a sealable container or cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 2 hours. Taste and add seasonings again if necessary.

Before serving, let the obatzda sit out for a few minutes until it softens a bit. Then top with sliced onions and chives.

Now the pretzels.

  1. Pour the beer into a small saucepan and warm to about 43ºC or 110ºF.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in yeast until dissolved.
  3. Combine melted butter, sugar, salt, yeast-and-beer mixture and 3 cups of flour in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth. Then stir in the remaining flour until the dough reaches a stoft, sticky consistency.
  4. Place the dough onto a floured surface and knead until it becomes smooth and elastic (it takes about 6-8 minutes). Place kneaded dough in a greased bowl, turning it over once to coat the top.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in warm place. Let it rise for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. Preheat oven to 220ºC or 425ºF.
  7. Remove plastic from the bowl and punch down the dough. Place punched-down dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 8 equally-sized balls. Roll each ball into a 60 cm or 24-in rope and twist to form the classic pretzel shape.
  8. In a separate pot, bring water and baking soda to a boil. Dropping them into the pot two at a time, boil pretzels for 30 seconds. Remove and place on paper towels to absorb excess water.
  9. For the topping, whisk egg yolk and water together in a small bowl. Place boiled pretzels 2 in apart on greased cookie sheets and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with coarse salt to taste and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Cool on a wire rack before serving.



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