When it comes to food weaknesses, soft pretzels are up there for me along with anything potato related and bubble tea.
I make a lot of quickly thrown together yeasted breads like this, and while it may seem daunting I encourage you to give them a try. They’re not as complicated as you think!
I stuffed these with a higher moisture buffalo mozzarella, feel free to use any cheese you like, considering that the more moisture, the more likely they’ll explode/leak about in the oven. It’s all part of the experience though, and the nicer cheese you use, the better cheese pull you’ll get. If you want a fool-proof easy experience though, use cheese strings and cut them into uniform pieces, I won’t judge you.
Makes 24 medium sized pretzel balls, good for about 4 people.
What you need:
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 packet rapid rise yeast
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp oil
- 3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 8 oz mozzarella or favourite cheese, divided into 24 cubes
- 10 cups water
- 1/3 cup baking soda
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp flaky sea salt or pretzel salt
- In the bowl of a large standing mixer, place water, yeast, honey and oil. Allow a few minutes for yeast to activate.
- Add flour, salt, and knead for 5-7 minutes or until dough has come together and smooth. It will still be slightly tacky but it will not stick to your hands/utensils. Adjust flour or water amounts if you’re heavy handed either way.
Coat dough and sides of bowl with a small amount of oil, cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hr.
Before you start forming your pretzel bites, turn the oven on to preheat to 425 and prepare a large pot over medium heat with your bath mixture of water, baking soda and honey.
Prepare the pretzel bites:
- Prepare a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, gently brush or spray with oil, set aside.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and with your hands or a bench scraper, divide into 24 balls. You can use a scale for this if you want them to be prefect but I just eyeball them.
- Flatten dough into a disc and place one cube of cheese in the middle. Pull sides up around the cheese to seal, gently roll in your hand and place onto baking sheet seam side down. Be mindful how much flour you have on your work surface. You don’t want things to stick, but too much will prevent you from sealing your pretzels.
- Repeat until all are finished.
Water bath time!
- Turn your baking soda/water bath up to high heat and bring to a boil.
- Place 4-5 pretzel bites in at a time for 30 seconds. Make sure you roll them around so each side is coated.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and place back on prepared parchment
- Once all have taken a dip, brush each gently with your egg wash and sprinkle with salt.
- With a sharp knife or bread lame quickly and gently make a slice across each, trying not to cut too deep and hit cheese. (if you’re not comfortable with this step you can skip it, it just gives it more of a “pretzel” look)
- Place in oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until they are dark brown and have bubbled out cheese here and there.
Let cool a bit and serve with your favourite dip like mustard, marinara or queso!