One-by-one, these incredible homemade mozzarella stuffed rosemary and parmesan soft pretzels will disappear before your eyes! Made with a simple soft pretzel dough and loaded with fresh herbs and Italian cheese – these are a must make.
Happy Wednesday everyone! I’m writing this post nestled up on our sofa with an extra fuzzy blanket, a cup of Mexican hot cocoa (want that recipe?), and a great view of the soft powdery snow flakes currently dancing down from the sky. It’s pretty sweet.
We’ve been having pretty fabulous Winter weather so far, and you know what that means, right? I’ve been craving cozy comfort food like c-r-a-z-y. Cold + rain + snow + gloom = endless bowls of spicy sriracha ramen; bountiful batches of flawless chocolate chip cookies; and daily salted caramel white chocolate lattes.
Leftover Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary and Parmesan Soft Pretzels will also do the job! I’m a bonafide pretzel fanatic and I’m proud.
Homemade soft pretzel dough. Made with yeast. Yes… yeast. I know. It can be a tricky little devil. But let’s talk it out!
There’s a myth out there that working with yeast is scary, impossible, and down-right-difficult. I asked a few of my girlfriends what they thought about working with yeast, and my friend Jenelle said she doesn’t even bother with recipes that include yeast because she firmly believes (from one too many bad experiences) yeast = doomed and damned. Oy! We must shake this myth, guys.
So how can you make yeast your friend? Quite simply —> pay attention. When I first started working with yeast, 9 out of 10 times failures occurred when I was not fully focused on how the yeast needed to be handled. Yes, I too once feared the yeast!
1) Don’t kill the yeast. I see this happen all the time. I teach a baking class on the weekends and many times I’ll see a student add boiling water to a bowl, then toss in the yeast. YIKES. Want to know what happens? The yeast… it dies. Sad right?!
Moral of the story: You do not need hot water to activate the yeast. What you want is warm water. I usually just let my faucet run hot for 10 seconds or so, then measure out the amount needed and do the “touch test”. If you’re new to yeast – or cooking in general – a cheap kitchen thermometer is also a great way to guarantee your water is at the correct temperature.
2) Yeast reproduces best between 70° and 80° (F). This simply means if your house is pretty cold (and many are come Winter), crank on the stove for a few minutes – just to warm it up – and then let your dough rise in there. (Don’t forget to turn the stove off before placing the dough inside to rise!) If your house happens to be too warm, find a cooler place for it to rise. I find my hallway closets are always cool. Whatever works, right?
3) Know what kind of yeast you need. There are two types of dry yeast: Active Dry Yeast and Rapid-Rise Yeast. Though there are some minor differences in shape and nutrients, Rapid-Rise Yeast is almost the same as Instant Yeast and Bread Machine Yeast. This is where things can get confusing…
These two types of dry yeast can be used interchangeably – but there are some limitations. Bread Machine Yeast is faster-rising and is specially formulated to be used for bread machines; its texture is finely granulated to hydrate easily when combined with flour. Active Dry Yeast may also be used in bread machines, but the results may not be as consistent. When it comes to rapid-rise yeast, the real advantage is the rising time is half that of the Active Dry – and it only needs one rising. Some experts believe you sacrifice flavor and texture by speeding up the rising process (as the yeast does not have time to develop its flavor), but I am a huge fan. Rapid-Rise Yeast is also more potent than Active Dry Yeast, meaning it can be mixed in with your dry ingredients directly. In this recipe I use rapid-rise yeast.
In this recipe – like many others that include yeast – the yeast is combined with hot water, sugar, and salt, then left in a warm place to rise for about 10 minutes. It’s so simple! And if you follow the tips and tricks shared above, you’ll have no issues! If you’re still feeling nervous about this step, feel free to write out your questions and concerns in the comment section and I’ll do my best to address them in a timely manner. I’m here for you 🙂
The real beauty of stuffed pretzels is you have complete control on what goes in them. I am constantly dreaming up new filling ideas! For this recipe I chose to stuff the soft chewy pretzels with mozzarella, parmesan, and rosemary. It’s very important to use fresh rosemary here as the dried variety won’t add the same flavor to the dough. If you can’t find fresh rosemary, I would suggest leaving it out. I tested this recipe with dried rosemary and all I can say is blech 🙁 It just doesn’t do these pretzels justice.
1) Combine the mozzarella and parmesan in a small bowl, then pop it in the freezer for 20 minutes. This freezing trick helps the cheese melt slowly. Slow melting cheese = less cheese leakage during the baking process.
2) Resist the temptation to overstuff your pretzels. I know this is hard to resist! I am constantly fighting the urge to overfill them. But overstuffed pretzels will burst while baking. And once they burst the cheese will leak out. Womp womp.
If your cheese does happen to leak out of a few pretzels, it’s not the end of the world. I usually just fork it up and drizzle it on top of the pretzel. Improvising with hot gooey cheese isn’t the worst way to spend a few minutes 😉
Be sure to bake the pretzels for the full 16 minutes. Sometimes I even bake mine a little longer… I like the outside to get really brown and toasty. The dough is so thick and soft that baking them for a few extra minutes will have no effect on the doughy interior.
Once removed from the oven, brush them with butter and sprinkle with extra rosemary and parmesan cheese. Serve with honey mustard, marinara sauce, or just eat them plain! These also freeze like a dream 🙂
Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary and Parmesan Soft Pretzels
- 1 and 1/2 cups warm water (between 110-115 degrees F)
- 1 package Rapid Rise yeast
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 and 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 4 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
- Cooking Liquid:
- 10 cups water
- 3/4 cup baking soda
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- Egg wash:
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons melted butter (optional)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch of salt
- For the dough:
- Combine water, yeast, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Let stand for 10 minutes, or until mixture begins to foam.
- Add the rosemary, flour and butter and knead on medium-speed for 12 minutes.
- Cover dough with a warm damp cloth and place in a warm area of your house to rise for an hour, or until dough has doubled in size.
- Assembly and Cooking:
- Combine the shredded mozzarella cheese and parmesan in a small bowl. Place the bowl in the freezer until needed.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- Add water and baking soda to a large pot or dutch oven; bring to a boil.
- In the meantime...
- Divide dough into 8 equal rounds.
- Roll each round out into a 16" rope.
- Roll each rope out so it's 4 inches wide.
- Remove cheese from freezer. Add 2 tablespoons of cheese filling evenly along the rope.
- Tightly roll the dough back into rope, jelly roll style, pinching the edges together.
- Make a U shape with each rope of dough, holding the ends.
- Cross the ends over each other, pinching ends onto the bottom of the dough.
- Place pretzels - one at a time - into the boiling cooking liquid. Cook for 30 seconds each. Remove pretzels with a slotted spoon, allowing any excess water to drip back into the pot before transferring to prepared baking sheet.
- Once all pretzels have been boiled, brush the tops of each with egg wash.
- Place pan in the oven and bake for 16-18 minutes.
- Allow pretzels to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before touching.
- If using the extra topping:
- In a small bowl combine the cheese, rosemary, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Brush the top of each pretzel with melted butter, then sprinkle on topping. Eat at once 🙂