Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ham & Cheese Pretzel Bites

These are bite size rolls that are crammed with ham and cheese...who doesn't love the ham and cheese combo?!   I took these to a cookout and served them with spicey brown mustard as an appetizer.  Everybody loved them!  They were really good the day after too.  We ate them cold, but they didn't look as pretty, so I would recommend making them the same day they will be served.  These could be eaten warm, at room temperture, or cold.  Go make them for your next picnic!

First make the dough by combining the yeast, brown sugar, water, milk, and 2 1/2 C. flour in the bowl of a stand mixer.  When a dough has formed, switch to the dough hook or knead with your hands.  Add the remaining flour until the dough is tacky, but not sticky.  Let rise, then divide into four equal pieces.  Roll out into a rectangle.

Dice up the ham and cheese.  You can use shredded cheese if you like.

Spread filling evenly over the 1/3 of the dough.

Roll up very tightly and seal the edge.  Slice the log into twelve pieces and transfer to a baking sheet.  Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling.

Bring six cups of water to a boil in a large pot.  Add the baking soda and reduce heat to a simmer.  Boil the pretzel bites.

Bake at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes until puffed and golden.

Melt some butter and get out the salt.

Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Serve with spicy brown mustard.

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites
For the dough:
1½ tsp. instant yeast
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
¼ cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
2½-3 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
½ cup small diced ham
½ cup shredded or cubed sharp cheddar cheese
To finish:
6 cups water
4 tsp. baking soda
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt (or pretzel salt), for topping
To make the dough, combine the yeast, brown sugar, water, milk, and 2½ cups of flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix until a dough has formed.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until a soft, elastic dough forms.  Add the remaining flour a 1-2 tablespoons at a time until the dough is tacky but not sticky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size and bubbles on the surface, about 1½ to 2 hours.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide into 4 equal pieces.  Stretch or roll one piece of the dough into a 12 x 4-inch rectangle.  Sprinkle some of the diced ham and the shredded cheese over one third of the dough closest to an edge, lengthwise.  Roll up tightly, filling edge first, so that the filling is tightly sealed inside.  Slice the log into 12 pieces and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Repeat with the remaining 3 portions of dough, and the remaining filling.
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Bring the 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.  Add the baking soda and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.  Boil the pretzels in batches, cooking for about 2o seconds and turning once. They should be slightly puffed.  Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to transfer them back to the baking sheet.
Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Brush the warm pretzel bites with the melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Source: Annies Eats, originally adapted from Gourmet, October 2009

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