Buttery, cheesy soft pretzel rolls that are great for appetizers, snacks, dinner rolls and school lunch box.
Happy Monday folks!!!
Schools are back in session….Yay😉
And now, dealing with the daunting task every morning….
Packing a homemade, quick and not to mention a delicious lunch.
I mean, something all their friends want a share of.
I bake these (on a relaxed day), eat for dinner/ snack and freeze left overs.
Thaw a few in the morning, pack with some jarred marinara along with some carrot/celery sticks, grapes and/or pretzels.
Been a family/kid favorite for a long time and HUGE hit every time I make.
(Its bread wrapped around some cheese, how bad can that be, right?)
(scroll over photos for cations)
Skill level – Advanced
Cheese Stuffed Soft Pretzel Bites
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons yeast
3 tablespoons packed golden brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup water, lukewarm (plus additional 1-2 tablespoons if required), refer notes_1
Baking soda bath
8 cups water
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons baking soda
1 block (about 3/4 pound ) mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (or) 4 mozzarella sticks, each cut into 6 pieces
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds (optional)
1. Into the bowl of your stand up mixer, whisk together bread flour, salt, yeast and brown sugar. Add room temperature butter and 1 cup lukewarm water. Stir together with a spoon, until everything is moistened. Attach the dough hook and knead dough on high for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. (If dough looks very firm, then add additional 1 to 2 tablepsoons lukewram water, to get a soft dough).
2. Transfer dough onto a counter and shape into a loose ball. Brush the bottom and sides of the (now empty) stand up mixer bowl, with melted butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place the dough and toss around once, to coat the dough on all sides with the butter/oil. Wrap tightly with a clean kitchen towel, let rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.
3. Have two baking pans, lined with parchment paper and set aside.
4. Transfer dough onto the kitchen counter and cut into 24 equal pieces. Cut mozzarella into 1/2-inch cubes.
5. Pat each piece of dough into a small disc and place the cheese in the middle. Wrap dough around and pinch edges well to seal. (Pinching well to seal all sides is crucial for the cheese not ooze outside. Apparently, I didn’t do a good job in sealing all of my rolls. We have one leaky guy. But, you will obviously do a better job than me!). Shape them into balls. and place on the prepared baling sheets. Cover baking pans with kitchen towels and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
6. During the last 10 minutes of rising, prepare the baking soda bath and preheat oven to 400 degrees F (210 degrees C).
7. For baking soda bath, bring about 8 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Once it comes to a rolling boil, add baking soda (the water will boil vigorously for 1 second and then subside). Have a wire rack ready on the side.
8. Drop 3 dough balls at a time into the boiling water and let cook for 15 seconds. Gently turn them over (use a slotted spoon) and let cook for another 15 seconds. Remove the balls, one at a time and place on the wire rack. (Dough will look wrinkly, but will puff up and look amazing after baked, so don’t you worry)
9. Place dough balls on the preapared baking sheets (spacing them at least an inch apart). We are going to bake one sheet at a time. So, cover one baking sheet with kitchen towel and set aside. On the other pan, brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle some sesame seeds (if using). Place baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, until deep golden. Place baking sheet on a wire rack to cool.
10. Repeat process (brush egg wash, sprinkle sesame and bake) with the remaining sheet pan.
Serve hot with marinara sauce.
Makes 24 rolls
1. The dough needs to to be soft, but not too soft. Begin with 1 cup water and check the dough after about 20 seconds of kneading. If it feels firm, then add 1-2 tablesooons water.
2. Luke warm water is 105F – 115F. An easy way to check without a thermometer- sprinkle few drops of water on the inside of your wrist. It should neither feel hot nor cold.
3. Rolls can be made without any cheese. Cut pieces of risen dough, shape them into balls and proceed with the recipe.
4. Makes perfect school lunch for kids served with marinara on the side.
5. Freeze them for later. Place leftover rolls in a zip lock bag, seal well and freeze. Remove as many as you’d like, place in a single layer in a microwavable plate, cover with a damp paper towel (not dripping wet, just damp will do) and microwave for 30 – 60 seconds (depending on the number), until hot.