Make freezer-friendly homemade ham & cheese pockets with this easy recipe!
- 1 and 1/3 cups (320ml) warm water (between 100-110°F, 38-43°C)
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (7g) Platinum Yeast from Red Star instant yeast (1 standard packet)*
- 1 Tablespoon (13g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil, plus more for pan and brushing on dough
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 and 1/2 cups (about 450g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk
- 8 slices cheese or 2 cups shredded (I use sharp cheddar)
- 16 thin slices deli ham or 2 cups cubed ham
- Whisk the warm water, yeast, and granulated sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes. *If you don’t have a stand mixer, simply use a large mixing bowl and mix the dough with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula in the next step.
- Add the olive oil, salt, and flour. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough for 5 minutes (for a visual, watch me do it in the video above). The dough can be a little too heavy for a mixer to knead it, but you can certainly use the mixer on low speed instead. After kneading, the dough should still feel a little soft. Poke it with your finger – if it slowly bounces back, your dough is ready to rise. If not, keep kneading.
- Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray—just use the same bowl you used for the dough. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 60-90 minutes or until double in size. (Tip: For the warm environment on a particularly cold day, heat your oven to 150°F (66°C). Turn the oven off, place the dough inside, and keep the door slightly ajar. This will be a warm environment for your dough to rise. After about 30 minutes, close the oven door to trap the air inside with the rising dough. When it’s doubled in size, remove from the oven.)
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Once risen, punch the dough down to release the air. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a sharp knife, slice dough in half. Then slice each half into quarters. You’ll have 8 pieces of dough, as shown in the photo above. Flatten each piece with your fingers or use a rolling pin. You want each piece of flattened dough to be about 6 inches long and 4 inches wide. They don’t have to be perfect rectangles, as you can see in my photos! Transfer flattened dough to the baking sheets. Place the cheese (I fold the slice in half) and ham (2 slices for each) on top of the dough on one side, then fold the other side over top. Pinch the edges to seal as best you can. Use a fork to crimp the edges. Brush the tops and sides of each pocket with egg wash, then slice 2-3 slits in the tops for air vents (use a super sharp knife to do that).
- Bake the pockets for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Make sure to rotate the baking sheet once or twice during bake time. Remove pockets from the oven and allow to cool on the pan until ready to handle and serve.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: The pockets can be made through step 5 then covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Then bake as directed. You can also freeze the baked pockets, which is what I do. After the pockets cool, wrap them individually in aluminum foil and freeze. Then microwave for 2-3 minutes on high or bake at 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes. No need to thaw. To make just the dough ahead of time, see freezing and thawing instructions in my pizza crust post.
- Overnight/All Day Instructions: Prepare the dough through step 3, but allow the dough to rise for 8-12 hours in the refrigerator. (If it needs to be in the refrigerator for longer, use cooler water in the dough which will slow the dough’s rise and allow for more time.) The slow rise gives the dough wonderful flavor! When ready, continue with step 4. If the dough didn’t quite double in size overnight, let it sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes before punching down (step 5).
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Stand Mixer or Glass Mixing Bowl with Wooden Spoon/Spatula | Dough Scraper | Baking Sheet | Silicone Baking Mats or Parchment Paper | Pastry Brush
- Yeast: Red Star Platinum yeast is an instant yeast. You can use active dry yeast instead. The rise time will be at least 90 minutes. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
Keywords: ham & cheese pockets