Bread #8 for the month of August in the year 2013 that we at "We Knead to Bake" were going to bake was hard pretzels.After moving to the United States - hard pretzels were a delicacy and we used to eat it like the sev gathia (Indian snacks) that you get in India - I distinctly remember the same mention in one hindi movie too ........ sorry cannot recall the name of the movie - but do remember the actor who said it - it was Paresh Rawal.
So when Aparna who pens at My Diverse Kitchen gave us an option to bake soft pretzels if we liked - I said yes to it.
I had a soft pretzel only once at a mall. It was stuffed with cheese and pepperoni and had a nice sprinkle of white crystals of salt on top. I wanted to bake this one. However, could not use pepperoni as we were having guests over and they did not eat pork. So, the idea of the stuffing was some spicy cheese with jalapenos - hence the pepper jack cheese and jalapenos stuffed pretzels came into being in our kitchen.
Loved making these pretzels and stuffing them. We had it with a side of nacho cheese and some marinara sauce.
Again - an awesome bread that we made int eh group - a new learning for me.
I had baked this bread in time for the group - but, due to health reasons I could not write a blogpost and hence it is coming a tad bit late here on my blog. But....... as the saying goes........... its better late than never.
1 1/2 cups warm water, 110 degrees F
2 packages active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup for work surface
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups grated pepper jack cheese
4 jalapenos (seeds and veins removed) - chopped fine
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
Mix the yeast, sugar and warm water and let it sit for about 15 minutes till it gets nice and frothy - this is to proof the yeast.
You can mix this dough by hand too - however, I used my stand mixer. In a food processor or a stand mixer, using the dough blade combine the flour and the salt. Add one egg and the frothy yeast mixture and mix until the dough comes together. Do not over mix, you just want the dough to come together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times with your hands. If dough feels sticky, add a little more flour. Form the dough into a ball and make 12 equal portions of the dough.
Grate the pepperjack cheese and chop the jalapenos and keep them together on your work surface - I divided them into 12 equal portions each (as we were going to have 12 pretzels)
Roll one portion of the dough into a rectangle shape as shown in the above picture. Add one portion of the pepperjack cheese and jalapeno mixture. Roll the strip into a tube and form into a pretzel shape by looping and crossing the ends over each other, then tuck back onto the loop and pinch to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining portions.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, combine remaining egg and milk. Whisk to combine and set aside. In another small bowl take the coarse sea salt. Brush the pretzels liberally with the egg wash, then sprinkle with sea salt. Bake 18-20 minutes until light golden brown. Transfer pretzels to a wire rack to cool. Serve with cream cheese and hot coffee.