I love pretzels.
It’s more than love, really. If there is such a thing as a “food soul mate,” pretzels would be it for me. Ever since Elementary School, I would eat one pretzel a day. In high school, they went around selling the soft pretzels every Wednesday as school ended. 25 cents each or 5 for a dollar. I would get the 5 and half of them would be gone by the time I got off the bus. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I would go to the local pretzel shop when they closed because I knew they’d give me extras. I’d order one and leave with a bag of pretzels and a few pretzel dogs. They closed that place down last year and I almost cried.
Okay, fine. I did cry. But it was more of that dramatic single tear down your face kinda thing.
It was then that I actually around that time I started making my own soft pretzels at home. The first pretzels I made looked and smelled incredible… but the taste…. ugh, it was the worst thing ever. I think it was because I tried using whole wheat flour? I don’t know, but every pretzel after that was much better. It did take a while for me to figure out how to get that nice, hard skin good soft pretzels have. Mmm… that’s always my favorite part. I would eat the inside of the pretzel and save the outer part for last.
At first I would try to boil them longer …. the dough got too soggy… then I tried just lightly brushing the dough with the water…. not enough color. THEN, I discovered the secret… refrigeration! If you leave the pretzels in the refrigerator for about an hour, it will develop a nice skin that will brown wonderfully after a quick soak in water.
Here I am yammering on and on about pretzels, let me say a couple of things about these brie and spinach stuffed pretzel rolls. They have that wonderful texture and chew you get from store-bought pretzels and the brie and spinach stuffing is so gooey and cheesy and oh my gosh, the whole thing just melts in your mouth! I highly recommend using pretzel salt, but if you can’t get your hands on any, kosher salt will work. The flavor and smooth creaminess of the brie is what really makes these rolls delicious, but you can substitute the brie with any cheese that melts well.
Now, enough gibber jabber and go make yourself some stuffed pretzel rolls!
- 2¼ teaspoons dry active yeast
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 8 oz brie (without the rind)
- 1 cup spinach, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons pretzel salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried garlic
- In a small bowl, mix the yeast, salt, sugar and water in a bowl. Lightly mix to dissolve the sugar. Allow the yeast to proof for about 5 minutes. You should see a nice layer of froth over the water. If not, try using fresher yeast.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour and butter using a pastry cutter until the mixture looks like large crumbs.
- Mix the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and combine well. Turn out into a floured surface and knead about 5 minutes. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 30 - 45 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 10 pieces and roll out each piece into a circle about 4 inches in diameter. Place an even amount of the spinach and brie in the center of the rounds. Top with ground pepper and a pinch of dried garlic. (powdered garlic will work too)
- pinch the edges together so the mixture will not melt out. Lightly roll each roll to smooth it out.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the rolls on. Put the sheet in the refrigerator uncovered for about an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Boil water in a large pot and add baking soda - be careful to not let it overflow. You should use 1.4 cup baking soda for every cup of water you use. Boil both sides of the rolls for exactly one minute each and place back on the baking sheet.
- Lightly sprinkle the pretzel salt over each roll and bake for about 15 minutes, or until a nice deep brown.