Oh crap. Pretzels are going to take over the world. Or my blog. Probably both. I’m about to head off on a little adventure with Tillamook and I’ve got cheese on my brain.
The last time I’d had a soft pretzel was when I was pregnant with number 2 and was out of the hospital for a few days at our friends’ house. I was so sick I couldn’t even stand to hold up a blow dryer to blow my hair dry so my sweet friend, Lisa did it for me. Then I knew that I always felt the most like eating right after being on the tubes so I needed to try to get a little nutrition in my sick little body. A soft pretzel with cheese sounded lovely. I can’t remember if I finished, but it certainly didn’t stay in me long. I felt horrible barfing it up in their bathroom. The next time I had one it was a dairy free version since our new baby was having issues with pretty much everything I ate. And they were good, but they weren’t this cheese stuffed pretzel and trust me, this is awesomeness.
These pretzels blow Annie’s in the mall out of the park. Dude, do not tell me you don’t secretly love those hot, salty, bready pieces of deliciousness dipped in oh, so very fake cheese. Gosh, I can taste it sitting here!!! The outside is like all chewy and salty and wonderful, and the inside is like pure squishy, soft flipping perfection, but then, oh my gosh, then you hit the cheese. It’s blasted wonderful! It’s so melty! And, and, it’s not fake cheese! It’s the real deal!!!! And when you tear a piece off, it like stretches with the bread like an awesome piece of pizza. HECK YES!
Ok, I got a little distracted. Back to the recipe. So, start with the pretzel dough. It’s actually really easy to make, and rises really well. I hate when dough takes forever to rise. It makes me anxious. I just keep checking on it wondering if anything is wrong or it’s just taking a while to rise. Once the dough has doubled I section it out into 8 wedges so each pretzel is the same size.
Grab a piece of dough and roll it into a long rope. Press the rope out flat and sprinkle cheese right down the center. Grab either side of the rope between your two fingers and pinch the rope closed. Press down lightly so there isn’t an edge poking up.
And then holding each end twist into a pretzel. Or like me, halfway make the pretzel and then be so excited you forget to cross the arms. Oh well. The next part is key, boil water with baking soda and drop the pretzel in. Use a large metal spoon to keep pushing the hot water over the top, remove from the pot and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with course salt or kosher salt and bake until browned and amazing. Enjoy!
Cheese Stuffed Pretzel
- 1½ cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 Pot Water
- ⅔ cups baking soda
- 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water, whisked together (for egg wash)
- Coarse salt, for sprinkling
- Combine the water and sugar in a standing mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, until the mixture begins to foam and grow. Add the butter and stir to combine.
- Add the flour and salt together and whisk to combine. Pour in the liquid and use the dough hook attachment to mix on low speed until all of the ingredients are combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the mixer and place it in a clean, oiled bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm spot until the dough has doubled in size, about an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and drizzle with a little oil.
- Fill a large pot with water and the baking soda. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
- Meanwhile, place the dough on a slightly oiled counter and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope, lay it on the counter and press out flat. Sprinkle with cheese right down the center. Pinch either side up over the cheese to close. Hold each end in one hand and make a u-shape with the rope, cross them over each other, bring it down, twist, and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Drop the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 or 2 at a time for about 30 seconds, constantly spooning the hot water over the dough. Remove them from the water using a large, flat spatula and place right on the oiled baking sheet. Brush the top of each pretzel with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake until dark golden brown in color, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.