Pretzels have always been one of my great weaknesses in life. I can’t manage a trip to the mall without a stop at Auntie Anne’s to buy some pretzel nibblers. My favorite meal as a child was a pretzel-crust pizza at a local restaurant. I liked it so much I cried when I had to start ordering from the adult menu! Almost every trip I take to WaWa ends with a soft pretzel in my hand, and I have over 15 different pretzel recipes in my repertoire. Needless to say, I’ve had my fair share of pretzels in my lifetime. And today I want to share with you one of my all-time most favorite and most popular recipes – Ham and Mozzarella Stuffed Pretzel Bites.
I don’t often eat many of the things I cook and bake. I’m always taste testing in the kitchen, but most of my baked goods don’t last too long once I’ve unleashed them on my coworkers or friends. I hardly ever get to try a second helping. I guess that’s a good thing, though! Well, with these pretzel bites, I can be found with a separate bowl hidden away just for myself. They are addictive – buttery, bite sized and soft, perfect just out of the oven. I can guarantee you that if you try this recipe, you’ll be adding it to the menu at your next party or get together! The recipe comes from Pip and Ebby, but for my own version I’ve beefed up the filling and eliminated a few small steps.
To get started, first make the pretzel dough. The dough will have to rise for about 2 hours, and then the prep and baking process will take about another hour and a half. Yes, this recipe is time consuming, but trust me, it is well worth it! Besides, most of the time is inactive and the hands-on work is pretty simple!
To make the dough, warm the milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Pour into a large bowl, and mix with the brown sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Then, add the yeast and 2 ½ cups of flour. I’ve given up hope for using tools on this job – don’t be afraid to use your hands! Mix until a soft dough forms. Continue adding flour as necessary. The dough will be sticky but should be easily pliable. Turn out on a floured surface and knead until smooth. The final dough should not stick to you or your countertop.
Wipe the bowl clean and brush with olive oil. Place the dough ball in the bowl and rotate to coat in olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel and place in a warm place to rise for 2 hours.
While waiting, clean your workstation and prep the filling. Slice the ham into small cubes and separate with your fingers. Place back in the container and keep in the fridge until ready to assemble.
After the dough has doubled in size, coat the workstation in flour and turn the dough out.
Cut the dough into 4 pieces, and set 3 aside. Use your hands to roll the first segment into a log, about 12 to 16 inches long. Press the log flat and widen to about 3 inches. Line the center of the rectangle with ham, then sprinkle with mozzarella. Fold the sides up to create a tri-fold, and pinch to seal. If the dough doesn’t stick, wet your fingers with water and run them along the seam.
Once sealed, use a knife or bench scrapper to cut into bite sized pieces. Expect about 15-20 pieces from each log. Place each piece on a non-stick baking sheet, about 1” apart. Repeat this process with the remaining three pieces of dough. You may not use the entire package of ham or mozzarella.
Once all the pieces are on the baking sheets, allow them to rest for 30 minutes. During this time, preheat the oven to 400° F. Bake for 15 minutes. Immediately after removing the pretzel bites from the oven, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Enjoy while warm and fresh!
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
- 1 packet instant/rapid rise yeast
- 2½ to 3 cups flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 8 ounce package deli sliced honey ham
- 1 8 ounce bag shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1-2 tablespoons coarse salt
- Warm milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Pour into a large bowl and mix with the brown sugar. Stir until the sugar is melted.
- Add the yeast and 2.5 cups of flour to the bowl, mix by hand until a soft dough forms. Add flour as necessary. When the dough is easy to handle, scrape out of the bowl and onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour until the dough is smooth. Wipe the bowl with olive oil and place the dough ball back into the bowl. Rotate the ball to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a dry dish towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, prep the filling by chopping the ham into small cubes. Pull the cubes apart and return to fridge until ready to assemble.
- After the dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a floured workstation. Cut the dough into four equal pieces, set three aside. Using your hands, roll the dough portion into a log about 12-16 inches long. Flatten into a rectangle about 3 inches wide.
- Sprinkle the center of the dough with ham and mozzarella. Fold both sides over the center of the dough and pinch to seal. If the dough does not seal easily, wet your fingers and run them along the seam, then pinch.
- Use a knife or bench scraper to cut the log into bite size pieces, about 15-20 per dough portion.
- Place the cut pieces on a baking sheet about 1” apart. Repeat with the other portions of dough, and allow the bites to rest on the baking sheets for half an hour.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400° F. Once the pretzel bites have rested, bake for about 15 minutes. As soon as they are removed from the oven, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Serve while warm. Don’t worry about the leftovers, I guarantee there won’t be any!