Thursday, February 18, 2016

ham and cheese pretzel bites... 2 hours and 45 minutes (including dough rising)

the goods:

2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup warm whole milk
3 cups flour
1 packet yeast
1/2 cup finely chopped deli ham
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 teaspoons baking soda
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon kosher salt

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and warm milk until dissolved. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 and 1/2 cups flour. the milk mixture, and the yeast. Stir until a soft dough forms. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour as needed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times, forming a smooth ball. 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 area for 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size and bubbles appear on the surface.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust hands and rolling pin with flour. Roll out one of the sections into a 12-by-4-inch rectangle. 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 at the end that has the filling. Cut into twelve 1-inch pieces and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining 3 portions of dough.
Let rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 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 sheet. Bake until puffed and golden-brown, about 15 minutes. Brush warm pretzels with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt.

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