Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cheesey Soft Pretzels

I'm a huge cheese lover. Although I will admit that I am slightly lactose intolerant, I am proud and happy to say that cheese never really affects me. (Thank you cheese and stomach!) Soft pretzels is one of my favorite snacks - I mean, you cannot go wrong with soft pretzels. You can enjoy the sweets and the savory! It all started when one of my friend was telling me about her adventure to Disneyland and I immediately thought of two snacks at Disneyland: The Mickey-shaped soft pretzels and the hot fudge sundae. As much as I love my hot fudge sundae, that day I started to crave some soft pretzels so I decided to make my first soft pretzels! Some may say that soft pretzels should be plain, especially when it's your first time baking. But, I decided to be a little adventurous and decided to make a cheesey soft pretzels - enjoy!

Servings: 12 soft pretzels

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar 
  • 2 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 Tablespoons active dry yeast 
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2/3 of 8oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese (It's about 1 1/2 cups) 
  • 1 egg (for egg wash) 
  • 1 Tablespoon coarse salt for sprinkling 
  • Pot full of water and 1/3 cup of baking soda 
  • In a medium bowl, mix the lukewarm water and sugar and mix. 
  • Sprinkle the active dry yeast, stir and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes until the mixture begins to grow and foam. 
  • Add the vegetable oil, and mix well. 
  • In a large bowl, add the flour and salt together and mix well. 
  • Pour the wet mixture in about 2-3 increments and begin to mix. 
  • Knead the dough either using a mixer for about 4-5 minutes OR you can knead by hand (which took me an hour but so worth it!!)
    **At first when you knead with your hand, it will be a little dry but as you continuously knead, it will start to form it's shape. 
  • Remove the dough and place it in a new bowl that is slightly oiled. Cover the bowl using a kitchen towel and let it sit for about an hour. 
  • Once you notice that the dough is risen, preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and let it sit. 
  • Fill a large pot with water and baking soda and bring it to a boil. 
  • Using a cutting board, divide the dough in 12 pieces and roll out each piece of dough into a 10-11 inch rope.
  • Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough so that it is completely flat. Sprinkle the cheese right down in the center of the dough. (this determines how cheesey your pretzels will become!) 
  • Pinch the dough and cross over the dough so that the cheese is completely stuffed in the pretzels. 
  • Hold each end of the dough rope and make a U-shape with it, cross it over, bring it down, and press onto the bottom of the U to form a pretzel shape. Place it on the baking sheet and continue on with the rest of the dough. 
  • Once the water is boiled, drop it in the water one at a time** for about 20-30 seconds. Remove from the water using a large scum skimmer (so that you don't take the water with you when remove the pretzels) and place it on a towel to remove excess water. Then place it on the baking sheet. 
  • Once you complete the boiling water, brush each of the pretzels with egg wash, extra cheddar cheese, and coarse salt. 
  • Bake for about 12 minutes until a dark golden brown color. 
  • Transfer to a cooling rack for about 3-5 minutes (they will still be nice, warm, and ooey gooey!) 
**important note

Stuffing cheese inside the dough. 

Folding the dough to make sure that the cheese won't fall out.

After the egg wash, sprinkle more cheese!

The finished product - look how the cheese on the inside of the dough melted.

I think many of us like to be in our comfort zone - and this time, I definitely went out of my comfort zone by baking soft pretzels. I often times like to bake something sweet, and something muffin or cake-like. Baking a savory snack and getting positive feedback from family and friends definitely increased my confidence level, that it's OK to try something new - the worst case scenario is that it's not going to taste well. But you just gotta try it again and continue to perfect it (:

With that being said, from my kitchen to yours, Happy Baking!


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