Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary and Parmesan Soft Pretzels

/// December 17th, 2014

Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary and Parmesan Soft Pretzels 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.

Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary and Parmesan Soft Pretzels 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. 

Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary and Parmesan Soft Pretzels 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.

Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary and Parmesan Soft Pretzels Alright, friends. Let’s cut to the chase and get down to business.

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.

Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary and Parmesan Soft Pretzels Today I’m so excited to tell you that yeast is your friend! And if you just get to know it a little more, I promise you’ll soon see it and its full potential.

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!

Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary and Parmesan Soft Pretzels Here are a few tips to help ease any yeast fear:

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 :)

Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary and Parmesan Soft Pretzels Now that we’ve addressed the yeast issue, let’s talk fillings!

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.

Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary and Parmesan Soft Pretzels For the cheese filling I have two tips!

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.

Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary and Parmesan Soft Pretzels 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 😉

Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary and Parmesan Soft Pretzels What a beautiful sight… oozing cheese is just gorgeous!

Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary and Parmesan Soft Pretzels 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.

Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary and Parmesan Soft Pretzels 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

Ingredients

  • Dough:
  • 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
  • Fillings:
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Egg wash:
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Toppings:
  • 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

Instructions

  1. For the dough:
  2. 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.
  3. Add the rosemary, flour and butter and knead on medium-speed for 12 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. Assembly and Cooking:
  6. Combine the shredded mozzarella cheese and parmesan in a small bowl. Place the bowl in the freezer until needed.
  7. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  8. Add water and baking soda to a large pot or dutch oven; bring to a boil.
  9. In the meantime...
  10. Divide dough into 8 equal rounds.
  11. Roll each round out into a 16" rope.
  12. Roll each rope out so it's 4 inches wide.
  13. Remove cheese from freezer. Add 2 tablespoons of cheese filling evenly along the rope.
  14. Tightly roll the dough back into rope, jelly roll style, pinching the edges together.
  15. Make a U shape with each rope of dough, holding the ends.
  16. Cross the ends over each other, pinching ends onto the bottom of the dough.
  17. 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.
  18. Once all pretzels have been boiled, brush the tops of each with egg wash.
  19. Place pan in the oven and bake for 16-18 minutes.
  20. Allow pretzels to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before touching.
  21. If using the extra topping:
  22. 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 :)
http://bakerbynature.com/mozzarella-stuffed-rosemary-parmesan-soft-pretzels/

Holy YUM!!! These Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary & Parmesan Stuffed Soft Pretzels are insanely delicious. Step-by-step pictures make it easy!



28 thoughts on “Mozzarella Stuffed Rosemary and Parmesan Soft Pretzels

  1. leah hammerschlag

    do the pretzels need to be baked immediately after they are boiled? If not, how much time can elapse between boiling and baking? thank you

    Reply
    1. bakerbynature Post author

      Hi Leah. I recommend baking right after boiling for best results. You could probably get away with leaving them out for an hour before boiling, but I wouldn’t go any longer than that :)

      Reply
  2. Jen

    I made these on Saturday – YUM! Thanks for the recipe! It was my 1st attempt at making soft pretzels. I will definitely make them again.

    Reply
    1. bakerbynature Post author

      Hey Jen! So proud of you :) Making soft pretzels can be intimidating, but once you do it a few times it becomes second nature. Thanks for letting me know you tried and enjoyed this recipe.

      Reply
  3. Adielkarat

    How much weight is 1 package of yeast?
    And if I don’t have rapid rise yeast, which yeast I can use and is the weight the same?

    Reply
    1. bakerbynature Post author

      Hi Deb. You could try kneading the dough by hand, but it will be very labor intensive and take you around 25 minutes. I’ve never made these without a dough hook so I can say for sure the results will be the same.

      Reply
  4. Paul

    I’m Hungarian. No matter how hard I try I don’t understand what is 4 1/4 cups?

    Isn’t that just 1 cup? 4 * 0.25 is 1, right?

    Haha!

    Reply
  5. Julie

    I just made them. Actually, they are just about to come out of the oven. They smell fantastic! And look pretty. How do I freeze them?

    Reply
    1. bakerbynature Post author

      Hi Julie. Just place them on a plate and transfer them straight to the freezer and “flash freeze” them. Once they’re frozen solid – about an hour – you can transfer them into a freezer safe bag or container. To reheat, bake at 300 degrees for 8-10 minutes 😉

      Reply
  6. Sarah V.

    I can’t wait to make these! One question – can I make the dough in advance, freeze it, and then thaw it? Then roll, stuff, boil and bake? If so, at what point do I put the dough in the freezer?

    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    1. bakerbynature Post author

      Hi Sarah. I have no experience with freezing the dough before boiling, so I can’t say for sure if it would work. You can freeze the pretzels after baking, then reheat them one at a time.

      Reply
      1. Sarah V.

        That sounds like a better idea, so I’ll go ahead and make them, and then freeze. Thanks much for the reply! I plan to make them for my “ladies’ night” birthday party next month:)

        Reply
  7. Michelle Oakes

    We just made we just made these last night and loved them. We did run into a problem with the parchment paper. The pretzels sucks and I’m so completely, we had to peel off the bottom layer of the pretzels to free them. Is there a way to avoid this in the future?

    Reply
    1. bakerbynature Post author

      Hi Michelle. So happy you’re loving these pretzels as much as we do! I’m sorry you ran into an issue with the parchment paper sticking :( Parchment paper shouldn’t stick (although wax paper definitely does), but to be on the safe side, next time I recommend you lightly spray the paper with non-stick spray 😉

      Reply
  8. Adrienne

    These look delicious! I’ll have to try making them. That is so interesting that yeast scares people, I’ve never even thought of that, but I grew up on a farm making bread/rolls, etc from scratch and we wouldn’t have survived without yeast! The boiling involved in pretzels has always intimidated me, but it looks totally worth it :)

    Reply

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