IT’S NATIONAL PRETZEL DAY! I love celebratory days like these. They’re great excuses to eat this delicious food and feel (slightly) less guilty. And these little suckers…are a taste of a heaven. At least in my world. A mixture of cheese, ham and pretzel – I mean, come on – it’s delicious. It’s not a lot of effort, but it IS a lot of time. But, it is SO worth the time this takes.
I made the pretzel dough in my bread maker. I’m sure you can do it without a bread maker, but if I’m you and I want to make this, I would go to Target and buy a $30 bread maker. It will be worth your investment. I pull mine out at least once a week, usually to make pizza dough.
Anyway, I throw the ingredients into the bread maker, make the pretzel dough(it takes 1 1/2 hours) and go about my day. You could make the dough a day before. I totally understand if this is entirely too many steps for you to accomplish in one day. When I make something like this, I make enough to freeze some so I don’t have to go through this process the next time I’m craving it.
Here is a link to a pretzel dough recipe that doesn’t use the bread maker. I have not personally used this recipe, but you would follow the recipe until it gets to the part where you shape the pretzel dough into the pretzel shape. From there on, come back to this site. Here is the bread maker-less recipe:
After the dough is ready and I want to do the next step, which is about a 30 minute process, I separate the dough into little balls. You can make your balls however big or small you want them, just know that they will rise quite a bit. I chop up my leftover smoked ham into tiny little pieces, get out my shredded Swiss and cheddar and I’m ready to go.
Take your little pretzel ball, stuff it with some ham and cheese – I can’t really tell you a measurement because it depends on how big your ball is. I will say you need to make sure that you can close the pretzel all around the cheese and the ham. So stuff it as much as you possibly can. If you over stuff them, it’s not the end of the world. They just may not look as pretty.
Ok. Now you get to take a break. Put them on a cookie sheet, cover them with a (clean) dish towel and let them rise for an hour or so. Now, if you’re me, and you made a ton, then this would be the time you can take some aside, throw them in a Ziploc bag and freeze them for another day. Or if you’re REALLY hungry and want to make them all, put them all on to rise.
After they have risen, you have a couple of things to do and you have to move quickly. So…preheat your oven to 425, get out a cookie pan (or a couple, depending on how many of these you have), and get a big pot of water and bring it to a boil. What you’re doing next sounds crazy, and you can skip it if you want, but I don’t recommend skipping – it really makes a difference. You are going to BOIL these bad boys first.
a. helps them rise even more and
b. gives them more of the brown crust that pretzels get.
You are only going to boil each one for about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Get each one out with a slotted spoon and lay it on the sprayed cookie sheet. Then get out the egg wash, brush each roll with the egg wash (this also helps the brown pretzel color form), and sprinkle some sea salt on top of them while the roll is still wet. Now it’s time to cook these yummy guys.
These will bake for anywhere between 15-30 minutes – depending on the size of them. When the tops start browning, you can take them out and let them cool.
These get eaten at my house, faster than they cool. They are adored by everyone. I would say they’re great for a party, but watching my boys eat them, I’m scared at the amount you’d have to make for an actual party. Regardless the reason you make them, I promise you will enjoy.
Hot Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites
- For pretzel dough - in breadmaker
- 1 1/4 ounce package dry active yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 egg white slightly beaten
- coarse salt
- For the filling:
- 1 1/2 cups of chopped smoked ham
- 1 cup cheese of your choice - I used a combination of swiss and cheddar
- Make the pretzel dough however you have decided to make it - by hand or by machine.
- Divide your dough into small balls - I would say no bigger than a golf ball.
- Stuff the ball with maybe 1 tbn of ham and 1/2 tbn of cheese, making sure to close the edges well.
- Boil your pretzel bites in hot water for no more than a minute, taking them out and putting them straight on a sprayed cookie sheet.
- Brush your egg wash over the tops and sprinkle some coarse salt over the top of the bites.
- Bake at 425 for at least 15 minutes, or until the pretzels turn brown and crusty on the top.