I have always wanted to make pretzels.
In fact, I bought yeast for it. Over 5 months ago.
So I decided to make them for appetizers for the barbecue we threw. They turned out absolutely delicious and everyone said they were addictingly good. But sometimes when you make something you realize that they probably weren’t worth the effort.
They were a pain in the butt to make. They started off fun, watching the dough rise, but as soon as I started boiling them, they just kind of went down hill from there. They deflate and the cheese oozes out.
As you can see, they don’t look very pretty afterwards.
Even as I baked them, the cheese just oozed out even more. Also don’t bake them on aluminum foil as the bottoms will stick and then you’ll just have to pull the tops off. So again, it wasn’t very fun making these. If I make pretzels again, I’m definitely not going to try stuffing with cheese.
It’s a lot easier to just set out chips and dip.
But they were very good and everyone did love them!
Ham & Cheese Pretzel Bites
Recipe adapted from Pennies on a Platter
Makes 48 bites
1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast (or instant yeast)
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp packed brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup warm water (110-115˚F)
1 cup warm milk (110-115˚F)
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
1/2 cup finely chopped ham
1/2 cup shredded cheese of choice (I used cheddar)
6 cups water
4 teaspoons baking soda
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1-2 tbsp coarse salt
1. Combine the yeast, 1 tsp brown sugar, and warm water in a large bowl. Set aside until foamy, 5-8 minutes. (If using the instant yeast, you can skip this step and just add it to the flour.)
2. In another bowl, stir together the remaining 2 Tbsp brown sugar and warm milk until dissolved.
3. Add 2 1/2 cups flour and milk mixture to the yeast. Stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Add the remaining flour as needed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times, forming a smooth ball.
3. Brush the inside of a large clean bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm, draft free area for about 2 hours, until dough has doubled in size and bubbles appear on the surface.
4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust your hands and rolling pin with flour. Roll one of the four sections into a 12×4-inch rectangle.
5. With the long side facing you, gently press 1/4 of the ham and cheese into the bottom third of the dough, and roll as tightly as possible, starting with the end that has the filling. Cut into 12 1-inch pieces and transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining 3 portions of the dough.
6. Let rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes. (Again, if using instant yeast you may choose to skip this step as it only requires one rise.) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F.
7. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the baking soda and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Boil pretzels in batches, cooking about 20 seconds each, turning once. They should be slightly puffed. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them back to the baking sheets.
8. Bake until puffed and golden-brown, about 15 minutes.
9. Brush warm pretzel bites with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.