Introduction: Stuffed Pretzels With Cheese Dip
This time I am going to walk you through the steps of making of savory stuffed pretzels with cheese dip. A truly cheesy recipe, with three kinds of cheese in the filling and also three in the dip. My favorites, but feel free to change any of them to your favorites.
Pretzels are made with a simple pretzel dough that comes together in no time and are loaded with cheese (I used fresh goat cheese, mozzarella and cheddar), butternut squash cubes roasted with sage, air-dried ham, sun-dried tomatoes and blueberries. Neither the ingredients used for the filling, nor their ratio is set in stone (as a matter of fact I feel inclined not to give any quantities here), add them according to your preference.
- 350 g all-purpose flour
- 200 ml milk
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 g active dry yeast
- 30 g softened butter
- sun-dried tomatoes
- air-cured ham (prosciutto)
- cheese (mozzarella, fresh goat cheese, cheddar)
- 200 g piece of butternut squash
- 10 -15 sage leaves
- salt, pepper
- olive oil
- sesame seeds
- sage leaves
Boiling and baking:
- 2 liters water
- 110 g sodium bicarbonate
- 1 egg yolk and a tablespoon of milk to make egg wash
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ of a large onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 450 ml milk
- 1 small chili
- salt, pepper to taste
- 220 g cheese (parmesan, cheddar, blue cheese)
- digital scale
- stand mixer with dough hook attachment
- baking mat
- rolling pin
- baking tray
- parchment paper
- sharp knives
- cutting board
- slotted spoon
Step 1: Proofing the Yeast
Tip flour into the bowl of a stand mixer, make a well in the middle, pour in half of the lukewarm* milk, add sugar and yeast. Using a spoon, cover the top of the milk with a thin layer of flour. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let it sit until cracks appear on top of the flour.
*Make sure that the milk is lukewarm, but not too warm, or otherwise you are likely to end up killing yeast instantly.
Step 2: Making the Dough
At this point, add the rest of the dough ingredients (remaining milk, butter) save for the salt*, start mixing until it comes together. Now add the salt and keep mixing for 2 more minutes (until the dough is soft and silky and it climbs up the dough hook).
*Yeast and salt do not get on well, that is why salt should be added a bit later.
Step 3: Knead and Rest
Dump the dough onto the countertop and form it into a ball.
Dust the mixing ball with flour, place the dough into it, dust the top of the dough with flour, cover the bowl and let it rest for about 60-90 minutes (depending on environmental circumstances like temperature and humidity) until it at least doubles in volume.
Step 4: Roasting Squash Cubes
While the dough is rising there is plenty of time to prepare the ingredients of the filling and to make the cheese dip.
Preheat the oven to 190 °C.
Peel squash and cut it into small cubes (1.5 cm maximum). Finely chop 10-15 large sage leaves (put the small ones aside for decoration).
Line a baking tray with parchment paper, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and scatter the squash cubes on top. Season with salt and pepper, add chopped sage and mix. Organize the cubes in one layer and place in the preheated oven. Roast for 30-40 minutes until soft and tender.
Step 5: Prepare Rest of the Filling
Chop cheese and ham into small pieces.
Step 6: Cheese Dip
Finely chop the onion, garlic and chili. Cut cheese into small cubes (as for blue cheese you can break it up with a fork).
Add butter into a saucepan and cook on medium heat until it melts. Add onion and sauté until translucent. I suggest to add salt at this point to stop onion from burning.
Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes while stirring. Heat milk.
Step 7: Cheese Dip 2.
Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and becomes light brown (about 2 minutes). Add the hot milk and keep mixing until the sauce thickens. Pull off the heat, season with salt and pepper, add chili, half of the cheese. Combine and finally add the rest of the cheese and combine.
Step 8: Shaping the Dough
We're almost there, but first, you need to make some preparations for baking:
- Prepare boiling water solution. Pour approximately 2 liters of water into a pot, add 110 g baking soda, bring it to boil.
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
- When the dough has doubled in volume, transfer it to a lightly floured surface.
- Flatten with your fingers into a disc.
- Divide it into 8 parts.
- Roll each piece of dough into a ball.
- Roll out each into an even rope of about 20-25 cm length.
- Switch to a rolling pin and flatten it further until you have a 45-50 cm long, 4-5 cm wide oval piece of dough.
Step 9: Filling
Spread a line of the filling ingredients along the middle (be careful not to over-stuff it!) and pinch the edges together.
Step 10: Shaping
Make a U-shape.
Cross the ends and twist them once or twice.
Fold them over and press both ends with your finger.
Step 11: Boiling
It's time to give the pretzels a quick bath in order to achieve the chewy texture, but before starting, you need to have ready:
- simmering baking soda solution,
- clean kitchen towel,
- baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Gently submerge the pretzels into the simmering water with a slotted spoon and cook for 60 seconds, turning them half way (or pressing them under water level).
When they are ready, remove them from the water and place on a clean kitchen towel to get rid of excess water.
Step 12: Finishing Touches
Transfer them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Prepare egg wash: whisk an egg yolk with one tablespoon of milk, and brush the pretzels.
Place small sage leaves on top and sprinke with sesame seeds.
Step 13: Bake and Enjoy
Bake them in the preheated oven for about 12-14 minutes. Cooking time may vary according to the oven.
Serve with cheese dip. Enjoy!
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