The very first time I ever attempted to make pretzels was after a long day at work a couple of years ago. I was tired but had been browsing pictures of pretzels all day and I just craved one. They surprisingly didn’t take much time at all and definitely satisfied my craving. They were gone in a day. While the classic pretzel shape is something that everyone loves, I found that the pretzel bites I made were gone much faster; I’m pretty sure it had to do with their size and the fact you could just pick one (or two or three) up passing by and pop them in your mouth.
I have since made pretzels dozens and dozens of times and I knew I wanted to make pretzels for this blog, but I needed something special about them to share. I was racking my brain with ideas and cheese and steak just sounded like the obvious choice. I am a sucker for a good cheesesteak so I thought that stuffing them inside an already delicious pretzel would make them even better.
The cheese gets so melty and gooey and oozes out a little and the steak gives these the best flavor. Really spring for a nice roast beef if you can; I get a Boar’s Head London Broil and the flavor cannot be beat. One time when at the deli counter, I asked for a suggestion on a rare roast beef, and they immediately said this one right off the bat. They let me sample a few, but this one was definitely the best – and I’ve been buying it all the time ever since. Roast beef in those plastic containers you find near the cheese section doesn’t even compare. If that’s all you can find, then don’t let that stop you from making these, but just try and find a really good roast beef – you won’t regret it.
As always, not only are these pretzel bites incredible when they are first out of the oven, but they freeze well to boot. You can pop out a couple of frozen pretzel bites, place them on a baking sheet, and a few minutes later you’ll have the best snack (or, let’s be real, meal). I’m already planning on having these for lunch…and possibly dinner.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- Vegetable oil, for bowl
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 1/2 -2 cups cheddar, shredded
- 1 1/2-2 cups monterey jack, shredded
- 1 1/2 cups rare roast beef, chopped coarsley
- 1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 Tbsp water
- Begin by making the pretzel dough. In the bottom of a mixing bowl, place the warm water in and add the sugar and salt. Sprinkle the active dry yeast on top and let sit for 5 minutes until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, combine the mixture on low speed. Change the speed to medium and knead the dough for about 5-6 minutes until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the bowl. Remove the dough, pour a little oil into the bowl and spread around, then return the dough ball to the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough sit in a warm place for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper with a light spray of cooking spray or silicon baking mats and set aside.
- In a large pot, combine the water and the baking soda and bring to a boil.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cheeses and the roast beef and toss until combined.
- Take the dough and divide into 16-20 pieces. Take one of the pieces on a lightly oiled surface and, using your fingers, shape in the form of a disc. Place some of the filling in the middle, then take two of the opposite sides and bring them up and pinch together, then take the other two opposite sides and bring those up and pinch those together. Lightly roll into a ball. Repeat with remaining dough balls and cheese mixture.
- Take the stuffed pretzel bites and place them in the boiling water for 30 seconds. You can do 2-3 at a time. Remove them from the water and place on the baking sheets. Brush them with the egg and water mixture and top with kosher salt. Repeat with remaining pretzels.
- Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, keeping a close eye on them. Serve immediately, or let them cool down completely and store them in freezer bags and place in the freezer. When ready to re-heat, take the pretzel bites out and place on a baking sheet and heat at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the filling has been completely re-heated.
Pretzel recipe from Alton Brown