Ham & Cheese Pretzel Bites

Thursday, January 6, 2011


OH my!  These are so yummy.

This year for Christmas day we did something a little different.  We had an appetizer party, meaning everyone brought appetizers and then we just ate all afternoon.  My kind of party!

In the past I have made pretzel rolls, which are amazing as well, because Alex loves soft baked pretzels.  In fact, our freezer is rarely without Soft Pretzels…the ones in the freezer section of the grocery, Superpretzel brand.  So this year I decided to try these, not only because we had everything to make them but also because I was sure they would be a hit.  In the end I filled about 2/3 with ham and cheese and then left the other 1/3 filling free.

Again they were delicious and what’s even better it was probably one of the easiest bread dough’s to work with.  And the biggest bonus, all 3 kids gobbled them up!

Ham & Cheese Pretzel Bites                          
(yields at least 48)
For the dough:
1½ tsp. instant yeast
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
¼ cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
2½-3 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
½ cup small diced ham
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

To finish:
6 cups water
4 tsp. baking soda
Kosher salt (or pretzel salt), for topping

To make the dough, combine the yeast, brown sugar, water, milk, and 2½ cups of flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix until a dough has formed.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until a soft, elastic dough forms.  Add the remaining flour a 1-2 tablespoons at a time until the dough is tacky but not sticky.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size and bubbles on the surface, about 1½ to 2 hours.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide into 4 equal pieces.  Stretch or roll one piece of the dough into a 12 x 4-inch rectangle.  Sprinkle some of the diced ham and the shredded cheese over one third of the dough closest to an edge, lengthwise.  Roll up tightly, filling edge first, so that the filling is tightly sealed inside.  Slice the log into 12 pieces and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Repeat with the remaining 3 portions of dough, and the remaining filling.

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Bring the 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.  Add the baking soda and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.  Boil the pretzels in batches, cooking for about 20 seconds and turning once. They should be slightly puffed.  Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to transfer them back to the baking sheet.  Sprinkle with Kosher salt.

Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Source: adapted from Annies Eats, originally from Gourmet, October 2009


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