Cheesy Pretzel Twists

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (300ml) warm water, plus 9 more cups for step 5
  • 1 packet Red Star Platinum instant yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 Tablespoon (20g) honey
  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) melted unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3.75 - 4.25 cups (470 - 530g) all-purpose flour + more for work surface
  • 18-20 cheddar cheese sticks (about 4.5 inches each)1
  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling
  • optional for topping: 4 Tablespoons (60g) melted unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Whisk the yeast into the 1 and 1/2 cups warm water. Allow to sit for 1 minute. Some clusters of yeast may remain. Add honey, melted butter, and salt. Whisk until fairly combined. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon (or dough hook attached to stand mixer) until dough is thick. Add 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add up to 1/4 cup more. Poke the dough with your finger - if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes, then shape into a ball. Place in a large greased mixing bowl. I usually use nonstick spray to grease it, but olive oil works too. Cover and let the dough rest in a warm area for about 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  4. Use a sharp knife to cut off a handful of dough. Roll into an 18-inch log, about 3/4 inch thick. Coil extremely tightly around a cheese stick. You do not want any cheese to be exposed. Pinch to seal the edges. Repeat with the remaining cheese and dough.
  5. Combine 9 cups of water with the baking soda in a large pot or dutch oven. Bring to a rapid boil. Drop 2-3 pretzel twists into boiling water and let sit for 20 seconds. Remove with a spatula and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Make sure the pretzels aren't touching.
  6. Brush beaten egg over each pretzel. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and brush each pretzel with melted butter. Serve warm.

Make ahead/Freezing: The prepared pretzel dough can be refrigerated for up to one day or frozen in an airtight container for three months. Thaw frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight. Refrigerated dough can be shaped into pretzel twists while still cold, but allow some extra time for the pretzels to puff up before the baking soda bath and baking. Baked pretzel twists freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat in the oven at 300°F (149°C) until warm.

Recipe Notes:

Cheese is bound to seep out a little, but to avoid a total cheese explosion-- make sure you wrap the cheese up extremely tight. No cheese peeking out from under the dough! If the unused ball of dough rises a lot while you're working on coiling the pretzels, make sure you punch it down to remove any air bubbles.

  1. I used these cheese sticks, which are about 4 - 4.5 inches long. They can be found at any major grocery store. You can also use string cheese or slice your own.

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