Mozzarella Stuffed Pretzels

If you’re ever in need of a serious pick me up (and I don’t mean caffeine to perk you up), go for these mozzarella stuffed pretzels. Whether it’s a lazy day, feeling a little blue, or anything else that has you a little down in the dumps? These pretzels are the solution. They take a while to let the dough rise, but as in life… all good things take time. I’m telling you, they are cheesy, warm, salty, just all things happy in life.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp active dry yeast
2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup baking soda
12 string cheese sticks, mozzarella
2 tbsp butter, melted
very coarse sea salt, for garnishing

ADC-303
12 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Directions
Are y’all ready to start this long journey towards making the best soft pretzels in the entire world? Think a pretzel mozzarella stick. And we are doing it completely by hand, the ol’ nitty-gritty way. Let’s get to it!

In a large glass bowl, mix together the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let it sit for 5 minutes until it starts to foam up.

Once it’s nice and foamy, add the salt, bread flour, and melted butter. And don’t worry… it looks like a lot of butter but it’s DEFINITELY worth it. Mix it all up with a spatula or large spoon until it starts to come together into a dough. Dump it out onto a clean, large work surface that is sprinkled with some extra bread flour, then knead that baby! Knead and knead and knead until the dough is nice and smooth, not sticking to your fingers. Make note that if you have to add more flour, this dough should be very soft so don’t add too much.

Once you’d kneaded the dough for about 10 minutes (I know, it’s a lot), transfer it back to the cleaned, lightly oiled large glass bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap, then a towel and let it rise in a warm and dark place for about an hour. You want it to have doubled in size.

Once you’ve waited an hour for your dough to rise (waiting is the hardest part!), preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and line your casserole dish with parchment paper. Get a large pot and fill it with about 10 cups of water and add the baking soda. Bring it to a boil, then bring the heat back down to medium so that the water stays very hot but isn’t bubbling much.

Lightly flour your clean work surface again, and knead out the dough for a few minutes, then divide into 12 equal pieces. Use your hands to roll out each piece of dough into long ropes, like you used to do with PlayDough as a kid. Make sure they’re long enough to wrap around the string cheese sticks. Starting at one end, wrap the dough around the string cheese until you get to the end. Make sure you pinch the dough together wherever it meets! Otherwise the dough will separate and your cheese will go everywhere (learn from my mistakes). Repeat the wrapping process with the rest of the dough and cheese.

Carefully place the pretzels into the hot water, 1 or 2 at a time. Lightly boil for about 30 seconds, making sure to flip it over after about 15 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large slotted spoon or spatula. Place the boiled pretzels on a plate or pan. Put a few in the casserole dish at a time, probably around 6. Lightly brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with just a bit of the course salt. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until the tops are a nice caramel brown color.

Carefully remove them from the casserole dish and immediately brush with MORE butter and sprinkle with salt (insert evil smile here). Re-line the casserole dish with parchment paper and put the rest of the boiled pretzels into the dish. Repeat the butter, bake, and salt process until all of the pretzels are done.

Make sure you let them cool COMPLETELY before you try to eat them, because the cheese will be melted and very hot. Try with different sauces that you like or just on they’re own.

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