Pizza-Stuffed Soft Pretzel Bites
by Rebecca Lindamood of Foodie With Family
Pizza and soft pretzels rule the snack world. The only way they could get any more popular is by combining them into these chewy, brown,
perfect, cheesy, salty, and savory
bites that kids of all ages will love for after-school snacks, parties, or everyday, extraordinary moments.
4 dozen stuffed pretzel bites
- 4 cups (1 pound, 1 ounce, by weight) bread flour
- 1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder (preferably) or sugar
- 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup hot water
- 2 teaspoons SAF or instant yeast
For pretzel boil:
- 2 quarts water
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 48 (1-inch) cubes of mozzarella cheese (about 1 pound of cubed mozzarella or the equivalent amount of grated cheese)
- 96 slices of your favorite pepperoni
- 1 egg, beaten
- Coarse sea salt, kosher salt, or pretzel salt
Optional for serving:
Hot marinara sauce
To make the dough by hand:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, malt powder or sugar, and yeast.
Set the whisk aside and switch to a sturdy wooden spoon. Stir in the milk and tap water until a soft dough forms. Turn onto a generously floured surface and knead, adding small amounts of flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the counter. You do not want a firm dough – it should be fairly slack, a little tacky, and soft, yet smooth.
Place dough in a clean bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, and set aside to rise in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in bulk and puffy, about an hour or so.
To make the dough by stand mixer:
In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, salt, malt powder or sugar, and yeast. Mix on low just to combine dry ingredients. With mixer still on low, carefully pour in the milk and water. Continue mixing on low until you have a smooth, soft, slightly tacky dough. Remove bowl from the mixer, cover with a damp tea towel, and set aside to rise in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in bulk and puffy, about an hour or so.
To make the dough by bread machine:
Add the milk, water, flour, malt powder or sugar, and yeast to the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select the “Dough” or “Dough Only” cycle and hit start. Allow the cycle to complete.
To form stuffed-pretzel bites:
Line two 11 × 13-inch baking sheets with silicone or Teflon pan liners. (I use Silpats.) Place next to your work area. If you use parchment, be sure to grease it generously to prevent the dough from sticking to it as it bakes.
Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface. Use a bench knife to cut the dough into four pieces. Keep three pieces covered with a tea towel while working with the first.
Roll the piece of dough until you have a snake of dough about the circumference of two thumbs squashed together. Use your bench knife to cut the dough snake into twelve equal-sized pieces. Pat the pieces out into ovals that are about 3-inches across.
Lay two pepperoni pieces and one cheese cube in the center of each piece. Pull the dough up together from the sides toward the center and pinch together firmly to seal the dough. Pinch the ends so that the cheese and pepperoni are sealed into the dough.
Transfer the sealed, stuffed dough, seam-side down, onto the lined baking sheets. Make sure to leave generous amounts of room between pieces and rows. They will expand as they rise and when they boil and bake.
When you have dealt with all the dough, cover the pans with tea towels and let them rise in a warm, draft-free place until puffy looking, about 20 minutes.
To cook the pretzels:
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a stainless steel or other non-reactive pan (enameled cast-iron, tempered glass, etc.). When the water boils, add the baking soda. Gently lift the pretzel dough pieces one at a time into the boiling water. (You can boil more than one at a time, but be sure not to crowd the pan as they will expand as they boil. Let simmer for about 45 seconds, then flip the pieces and simmer for another 45 seconds-1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to drain and return each piece to its place on the pan. Continue until all pieces have been boiled and returned to the pan.
Brush all pieces of dough with beaten egg and sprinkle very lightly with coarse salt. Place pans in oven and bake at least until golden brown (at least 15 minutes), but you can bake until they are deep brown – it’s up to you!
Remove the pans from the oven and allow the pretzels to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before moving to a serving dish.
Serve warm or room temperature. We like to serve ours with hot marinara sauce for dipping.