Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Soft Pretzel Bites

Mmmm....These little cheese-filled bites of yumminess are so good! Great for dunking in mustard, marinara, or cheese sauce...Whatever strikes your fancy!

Soft Pretzel Bites

Adapted from Baking Obsession

Makes about 4 dozen

2 tsp active dry yeast

2 tbls + 1 tsp brown sugar (or honey sucanat)

1/4 cup warm water

1 cup warm milk

3 cups flour (or 15 oz Soft White Wheat flour)

2-3 oz finely chopped (or shredded) cheddar cheese

6 cups water

1 tbls baking soda

1/4 cup olive oil

1-2 tbls coarse salt

Combine yeast, 1 tsp. brown sugar, and warm water. Let sit 5-8 minutes, or until foamy. Place remaining 2 tbls brown sugar in separate bowl with warm milk. Add flour. Knead until dough forms ball (add more flour if necessary). Place in oiled bowl, rolling around so as to coat dough. Cover and allow to rise until doubled (1 1/2 - 2 hours)

Line baking sheet with parchment.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and cut into four pieces. Stretch each piece into a 12-in rope. Roll into 12X4 inch (horizontal) rectangle. Gently press 1/4 of the cheese into lower third section of the rectangle, leaving a 1/2 inch border on bottom edge. Pull bottom of dough over cheese and press firmly to seal. Continue to roll log up, making a tight rope. Cut into 12 pieces, and pinch the sides closed, so the cheese won't fall out. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with 3 remaining dough sections. Allow to rest uncovered for 30 minutes.

Boil water in saucepan. Add baking soda and reduce heat. Cook pretzels in batches for about 20 seconds in gently simmering water until slightly puffed, turning once (if possible). Using a slotted spoon drain pretzels before placing on baking sheets once more. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake pretzels in batches until golden brown and puffed (about 15-17 minutes).

When pretzels are removed from oven brush lightly with butter, if desired. Serve immediately. Enjoy!