Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

These take a bit of preparation time, so make sure you make them enough in advance. You can make these vegetarian by just leaving out the ham and doubling the cheese. These are tasty with a honey-mustard sauce (with diced jalapenos are yummy, too.)

2 1/4 tea. (1 pkg.) dry yeast
2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 cup warm water (110-115˚F)
1 cup warm milk (110-115˚F)
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
1/2 cup finely chopped ham (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar (or 1 cup of cheese and no ham to make them vegetarian)
6 cups water
4 teaspoons baking soda
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1-2 Tablespoons coarse salt

Combine the yeast, brown sugar, and warm water in a mixer bowl. Set aside until foamy, 5-8 minutes. Add warm milk and 2 1/2 cups flour to the yeast. Stir in mixer until a soft dough forms. Add the remaining flour as needed to make the dough not sticky and form into a smooth ball.
Take the dough ball out of the mixer and brush the inside of the mixer bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough back in the mixer bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm, draft free area for 1-2 hours, or until dough has doubled in size.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust your hands and rolling pin with flour. Roll one of the four sections into a 12×4-inch rectangle. With the long side facing you, gently press 1/4 of the ham and cheese into the bottom third of the dough, and roll as tightly as possible, starting with the end that has the filling. Cut into 12 1-inch pieces, pinch the ends shut a bit and transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining 3 portions of the dough.
Let rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 15-30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400˚F.
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the baking soda and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Boil pretzels in batches, cooking about 20 seconds each, turning once. They should be slightly puffed. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them back to the baking sheets. Bake until puffed and golden-brown, about 15 minutes.
Brush warm pretzel bites with melted butter and sprinkle with salt.
Recipe from Pennies on a Platter.

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