I love Super Bowl Sunday. Sure, there’s that thing called football, but I’m in it for the food– the coma-inducing carb and fat feast. This recipe is a variation of one of my favorite bread recipes: pretzel buns. Making bread is a little tricky and tedious but there is nothing like fresh hot bread straight out of the oven, and in this case, fresh hot crusty pretzel bread stuffed with melted cheddar cheese and studded with salty smokey bacon straight out of the oven. The trick here is to not over-handle or over-work the risen dough when stuffing it and to make sure the edges of the dough are thinner around the edges so when you bring the edges together the dough is even. I like to serve this with mustard– the tanginess of the mustard cuts through the richness of these rolls. Of course, you can try stuffing these pretzel buns with anything you want. Next Super Bowl Sunday, I’m going to add little bits of kimchi. Yup.
CHEDDAR CHEESE AND BACON STUFFED PRETZEL ROLLS
- 3 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/2 cups of warm water
- 1 1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
- 2 quarts of water (for boiling)
- 1/2 cup of baking soda
- 1 egg beaten
- Coarse salt or pretzel salt
- 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
- 12 ounces of bacon
- In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, warm water, butter and salt and stir until combined.
- Fit the mixer with a dough hook and add flour and start kneading on low speed until most of the flour is absorbed. Then, turn up to medium. Mix until the dough is evenly moistened, about 2 minutes. Then, turn the mixer to high and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic around the hook, about 8 more minutes.
- Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into the shape of ball. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Cut the dough into 16 even pieces and roll each into a small ball. Arrange the buns onto two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Let stand uncovered in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until slightly risen.
- While you wait for the bread to rise, shred the cheddar cheese and cut the bacon into lardons and sautee until crispy. Drain them bacon on paper towels.
- To stuff the buns, gently stretch the ball of dough into a flat disk and using your fingers pinch the edges of the dough thinner than the middle. Try not to overwork or de-flat the dough too much. Place a heaping spoonful of cheddar and a small heaping of bacon into the middle of the disk and pull up opposite sides of the dough into the center and pinch the dough shut. Place the stuffed bun back onto the baking sheet seam side down. Repeat with all 16 pieces.
- Transfer the buns to the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- When you’re ready to bake the pretzels, preheat the oven to 425 degrees with the rack in the middle position.
- Boil 2 quarts of water in a large pot and once boiling add the baking soda. Be careful and add the baking soda a little at a time, because the baking soda will cause the water to rise and bubble over. Boil the buns for 30 seconds on each side in batches of about 4, or however many your pot can comfortably fit. Remove with a slotted spoon and place back on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Brush each bun with egg wash on all sides and sprinkle coarse salt over the top.
- Score the top of the buns with a very sharp knife, but be very careful to just lightly score the top and not cut through the dough into the center.
- Bake for 17 minutes, rotating them halfway through. The buns should be nicely browned. Serve with mustard and beer.
(images by HonestlyYUM)