Easy Cheese Pretzel made with homemade soft pretzel dough, stuffed with cheddar cheese and crunchy seasonings on top.
Homemade Soft Pretzels
Cheese stuffed pretzels were born from my Homemade Soft Pretzels, a soft pretzel recipe that I could make with my eyes closed. I've made hundreds of them and eaten approximately 62% of said pretzels. Pretzels are a favorite football appetizer, movie night snack, or rainy day food. These are BEAUTIFUL. Stuffing bread with cheese is a long-time favorite pastime, and I'm sharing some of my secrets with you.
How do you make pretzels from scratch?
I use active dry yeast, which can be substituted with instant yeast if that is what you have on hand. I also use milk to enrich the dough, so the pretzels stay fresh for longer.
The best way to start a “sponge” for a yeasted bread is by mixing together the warm liquid of choice and sugar first, then adding the yeast and letting it sit for about 5 minutes until it foams. In this case it’s 2% milk that’s about 110 F°. Any warmer and the yeast will begin to die.
After combining the pretzel dough ingredients, I knead by hand or in a stand mixer with the dough attachment for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic the best dough mixing words. I then cover the dough and let it rest at room temperature (approximately 75 F°) for 1 hour or until dough is doubled in size.
Then the fun part! Rolling out the pretzels. I use a 1/3 cup to measure out 13-14 equal portions of dough. I cover them and work with one at a time so the rest don't dry out too quickly.
Roll the dough into about a 4 by 8 inch rectangle, then place the cheese in the middle. Carefully fold the edges of the dough over the ends of the cheddar cheese sticks.
Do you have to boil pretzels before baking?
YES. The chewy soft pretzel texture we know and love comes from the short boil right before baking. Once practiced a few times, it's so easy. Boil each pretzel for 20-30 seconds, drain for a few seconds above the water, then transfer directly to a parchment paper lined baking sheet using a flat slotted spatula. The parchment paper will help soak up excess water.
Then brush with a beaten egg, sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning (THE BEST) or salt flakes, and pop into the oven for 8-9 minutes at 450°. The beaten egg helps give the pretzels their lovely golden color.
What is everything bagel seasoning?
Everything bagel seasoning is a mix of white and black sesame seeds, dried minced garlic and onion, poppy seeds, and flakey sea salt. It can be found at many major grocery stores in the United States or ordered online.
Pro Tip: I keep cheddar cheese sticks or mozzarella cheese sticks on hand, those would work perfectly for this recipe.
If not, simply use 16 oz cheddar cheese sliced into about 14 sticks, 1/2 inch wide by 6-7 inches long. Place them on a plate or small tray so they aren't touching, cover and freeze the cheese sticks to help prevent leakage.
I actually like the crispy cheesy bits that leak out, but be sure to freeze the cheese if you don't like your cheese to leak during baking.
More Snack Recipes to try:
- Strawberry Pop Tart Cookies
- Cheddar Garlic Biscuits
- Chocolate Gooey Chex Mix
- Biscoff Filled Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Cheese Pretzel Sticks
- 16 oz cheddar cheese, sliced into 14 sticks. (½ inch by 6-7 inches)
- 1-½ cups warm milk (100-110 F°)
- 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
- 4- 4½ cups all purpose flour
- 10 cups water
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg beaten for brushing onto pretzels
- 1-2 Tablespoons Everything Bagel seasoning (optional)
- Place cheddar cheese sticks onto small tray or plate (not touching), cover with plastic wrap and put into freezer to chill. (This helps prevent leakage while baking.)
- In a large measuring cup, combine warm milk and sugar and mix well. Add yeast and let sit for 5 minutes, until foamy.Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl combine salt, oil, and 4 cups flour. Once the milk and yeast have proofed for 5 minutes, pour into flour mixture.
- Mix in a stand mixer with a dough hook or by hand for 5 to 8 minutes, until dough becomes smooth. Dough should not be very sticky and should pull away from the sides of the bowl easily. (If it is very sticky, add flour 1 or 2 Tablespoons at a time (up to ½ cup) and mix until smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl easily.)
- Place dough in oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.While dough is rising, prepare 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper, prepare the baking soda bath by combining water, baking soda, and salt in a large pot and bring to a slow boil, and preheat the oven to 450 F°.
- Use ⅓ cup measuring cup to divide dough into 13-14 equal pieces. I don't divide all at once, I prefer to roll out one pretzel at a time so the dough doesn't dry out too fast.
- Roll pieces into 4x8 inch rectangles. Place cheddar cheese stick in the middle towards the top of the rectangle. Fold sides over the ends of the cheese stick. Then roll the cheese stick sleeping bag style into the dough. Roll gently a few times to seal the ends and bottom shut.
- Gently lower the pretzels one by one into the baking soda bath and boil for 20-30 seconds. Lift them out with a flat spatula and place on the parchment paper prepared baking sheets.
- Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning (or salt) if preferred, and bake for 8 minutes (no longer than 10) at 450 degrees F° until golden brown. Cheese may leak a little, this is fine.
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