Spicy Cherry Pretzel Knots

Makes 30 knots


For the knots

½ cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
1¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
¼ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons golden brown sugar (packed)
¾ teaspoon sugar
1½ teaspoons vegetable oil
¼ cup spicy mustard
1⁄3 cup dried cherries, chopped fine
2 cups bread flour
1½ teaspoons salt
Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray

For the poaching liquid

8 cups water
¼ cup amber beer
¼ cup baking soda
¼ cup golden brown sugar (packed)
¼ cup cracked mustard seeds
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-2 tablespoon pretzel salt or 1-2 tablespoon coarse sea salt

For egg glaze

1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon spicy mustard
¼ cup water blended with 1 tablespoon dried cherries


Place ½ cup warm water in medium bowl. Stir in yeast; let stand until dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add buttermilk, both sugars, and vegetable oil; mix well. Mix flour and salt in processor. With motor running, add yeast mixture, mustard and dried cherries and process 2 minutes. Spray large bowl with nonstick spray. Scrape dough into bowl (dough will be very sticky). Spray sheet of plastic wrap with nonstick spray; cover bowl with plastic, sprayed side down. Refrigerate dough until slightly puffed and light, about 1 hour. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, and then spray parchment with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface. Spray hands with nonstick spray. Divide dough into 30 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, roll into 5-inch long rope. Tie in knot, leaving room on each end sticking up through the center. Tuck other end under, if needed. Transfer pretzels to prepared baking sheet, knob side up. Cover pretzels with plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick spray. Refrigerate until puffed and light 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, place 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 450°F. Bring 8 cups water, beer, baking soda, and brown sugar and mustard seeds to simmer in large wide pot (liquid should reach depth of at least 1½”. Carefully invert each pretzel into liquid in pot, allowing to slide off paper. Poach 10 seconds. Using skimmer or slotted spoon, turn pretzels over; poach 10 seconds longer. Lift from poaching liquid, allowing pretzel to drain well. Transfer to prepared sheets. Brush with egg mixture oil and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake pretzels 15 minutes, until pretzels are deep brown. (Rotate baking sheets halfway through baking time.) Transfer pretzels to rack; let cool to room temperature.