Sesame Pretzel Focaccia with Dijon Beer Cheese.
This pretzel focaccia is seriously changing my life!
This bread. Oh my WORD. It’s like a soft pretzel but a million times better.
The sesame pretzelness of this focaccia reminds me so much of my favorite pretzel croissant from City Bakery (which sadly closed! wah!), which was perfectly flakey and also had a few sesame seeds on top.
There is a (very!) faux version in The Pretty Dish, using puff pastry and it does the trick if you want to make one.
But now! Now we have this.
OH MY GOSH.
This is so unbelievably delicious. You make a focaccia bread as you normally would and then do the whole baking soda + water thing by brushing it on top of the dough. It creates the pretzel-ish top and flavor that we so crave and love.
And of course! The beer cheese! Dijon beer cheese to be exact.
I’ve made tons of beer cheese things on the blog over the years. It’s no secret that I love basically ANYTHING beer cheese.
Making this dip for the focaccia is out of this world. It’s rich and creamy and a bit tangy and so decadent. The pretzel focaccia doesn’t NEED a dip, but it’s deliciousness is definitely enhanced by this one.
When you get a soft pretzel and you have to choose between mustard and cheese dip, I can NEVER choose. I always want both.
So I made both. Into one!
Cheese and mustard and probably two of my favorite things in the whole world, so combining them into a dip is just UNREAL. The taste is fantastic. It almost reminds me of a croque monsier in a weird way since it has mustard and cheese sauce. And that’s always a good thing!
I’m not sure I can even fully report how much Eddie loves the focaccia. You know how they say there are two types of people – those who like to eat in moderation and those who prefer to splurge all in one day? Eddie is the latter and usually saves indulgent treats for the weekends. But as I tested this recipe during the week, he couldn’t stop eating the bread and was freaking out over just how GOOD it is. The temptation was strong.
Even though I’m not a serious bread person (I could take it or leave it, aside from a good piece of sourdough), serving this in the focaccia sticks is my desired way to eat. But I did see suggestions to use it to make a sandwich and that just sounds fabulous. I admit that I didn’t even try it, because it disappears like crazy every time I make it.
I hope the same happens for you!
Pretzel Focaccia with Dijon Beer Cheese
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 packet (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 3 cups warm water
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- ½ cup boiling water
- flakey sea salt, for topping
- sesame seeds, for topping
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup beer
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 12 ounces freshly grated gouda
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives
Stir the flour, salt and yeast together in a large bowl. Slowly add in the warm water while stirring constantly until a dough forms. It will be sticky! Once the lumps are gone and the dough is combined, cover it and place in a warm spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours.
Brush an 18x13 inch sheet pan with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Drizzle on the oil and brush it all over the pan too. Turn the dough out onto the pan and press it out with your hands until it covers the sheet pan.
Place the baking soda in a large bowl. Bring ½ cup water to a boil (I use an electric tea kettle for this) and pour it over the baking soda. It will get foamy - this is why you want to use a bigger bowl that you’d expect.
Brush the mixture (you won’t use all of it - reserve it to use later) on the top of the dough. Then place the sheet pan in a warm place and let it rise again for an hour. It will be a little bubbly too.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Brush the top of the dough again with the baking soda mixture. Bake the bread for 10 minutes. Remove the pan and brush it with the remaining melted butter. Sprinkle with the flaked salt and sesame seeds. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown (like a soft pretzel!) and the edges are a bit crisp.
Let the bread cool slightly (you can make the beer cheese while it cools!) before slicing it. Serve!
To make the beer cheese sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add butter. Once sizzling, whisk in flour and stir for 1 to 2 minutes until golden and fragrant and bubbly. Stir in beer, whisking well to combine.
Reduce heat to low and add cheese, stirring until totally melted and smooth. Whisk in the dijon. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of chives.
Puhlease make this your weekend plan.