Cheese Stuffed Soft Pretzel Rolls – When the softest pretzels rolls are stuffed with cheddar cheese, it’s impossible to turn them down!
So last winter, I set out to make a less dense version into some pretzel rolls; rolls that would be the perfect soup dipper or even better as the vessel for a great sandwich or burger. They turned out pretty good but too pretzel-y.
Does that make sense? I know, how can a pretzel roll be too pretzel-y? But they were kind of dense and I didn’t love them.
Good pretzels should have good structure and a tight crumb. The dough needs to “hefty” enough to stand up to the amount of handling you’ll do with it to first knead, then cut, roll, and shape it.
But dense pretzel dough, though structurally sound, is not what you want.
These pretzels rolls though: O.M.G. With lots of exclamation points after the G! After my two not-so-successful attempts of tweaking other recipes last year, I came across this one recently and jumped all over it when the weekend finally arrived.
There was nothing about this recipe I would have changed. The main difference between this recipe and the others is that this one calls for more yeast. The extra yeast gives the dough a bit more lift and helps to keep it a bit softer and less dense.
Seriously, these cheese stuffed soft pretzel rolls are everything they should be – soft and chewy, with a crumb that resembles an outstanding dinner roll and that distinctive slightly crusty pretzel shell when you bite into it.
How to Stuff Pretzel Rolls
The process to make these rolls is the same as for regular soft pretzels, using quick boil and bake method.
But I decided to push these pretzel rolls to the next level. I served them with some bacon cheddar ale soup and I had a feeling that some cheese stuffed into the rolls would be a pretty good idea.
I simply sliced up some sharp cheddar cheese, placed the cheese in the middle of a slightly flattened dough round, and folded the dough up around the cheese. Then I boiled and baked the pretzel buns off.
It was a simple addition that sort of took the rolls over the top – how could bubbly cheese oozing from freshly baked pretzel rolls ever be considered a bad thing? Nope. Never.
How to Store Pretzel Rolls
IF there are any rolls left over after you serve them, you can store them in a zip-top bag in the fridge for up to 3 days. And they reheat well so there’s no need to feel like you have to finish them all up the day you make them.
How to Reheat Pretzel Rolls
To reheat pretzel rolls, wrap them in lightly greased foil and bake at 300° F for about 15 minutes. This will warm them up nicely without drying them out. Feel free to sprinkle a little more coarse salt over the tops before serving.
For the dough:
- 1 tbsp instant yeast
- 2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
- 2 cups warm milk (about 100-110° F)
- 1 ½ cups warm water (about 100-110° F)
- 2 tsp salt
- 6 ½ - 8 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
For the filling, water bath, and extras:
- 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into sixteen ½-ounce pieces
- 3 quarts water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ¼ cup baking soda
- Coarse salt or pretzel salt
- Mix the yeast, oil, milk, and water together in a very large bowl. Stir in the salt and 2 cups of the flour with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Mix in another 4 ½ cups until a soft dough forms. If the dough seems more like a thick batter, gradually stir in more flour by the half-cup up to a total of 8 ½ cups, until a soft dough forms. You may not need this much flour so use the range offered here as loose estimate.
- Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough with your hands for 3-4 minutes, until it is smooth and just slightly tacky. Transfer the dough ball to a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot for 1 ½ to 2 hours until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Light grease the paper or lightly spray it with cooking spray.
- Divide the dough on a work surface with a dough scraper into 16 equal-sized pieces, lightly flatten each piece with your fingers, place a piece of cheese in the center.
- Wrap the dough up around the cheese.
- On the work surface, gently roll each piece into a ball. I find it easiest to roll the dough into balls on an un-floured surface but try to keep the dough you aren't rolling on a very lightly floured surface (to keep it from sticking) and under a lightly damp towel (to keep it from drying out).
- Transfer the dough balls to the baking sheets - eight dough balls per sheet. Loosely cover the dough with lightly greased plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest in a warm, draft-free spot for 15-20 minutes.
- At this point, you can freeze the dough on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Once completely frozen, transfer them to a large zipper bag and continue to freeze until you need them. Use within 2 months.
- While the dough rests and the oven preheats, bring the water, sugar, and baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Before gently lowering two or three pieces of dough into the boiling water, gently reshape them if needed into a smooth balls. Boil only 2-3 pieces at a time for about 1 ½ minutes, flipping halfway through. If boiling the frozen pretzels, add them to the water directly from the freezer - do not thaw them - and boil for a total of 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, drain the water off each piece before transfer the pieces back to the parchment paper. The dough will probably look fairly misshapen and bubbly but don't worry - this will work itself out in the oven.
- With a sharp knife or razor, score two or three shallow slices in the tops of the rolls - try not to cut too deeply or the cheese will ooze out in the oven. Sprinkle the tops of the rolls with some salt. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until the tops are a deep golden brown. If the rolls were frozen, bake for an extra 1-2 minutes.
Storage and Reheating: Store leftover rolls in a zipper bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
The pretzel rolls are best served fresh and warm from the oven but they can also be reheated in the oven at 350° F until warmed through.
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
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