Although I've only made soft pretzels once, I absolutely LOVE them! I love how soft they are and the taste of the pretzel dough.
For shaping the rolls, I cut 8 mozzarella sticks in half and stuck them in the freezer while I divided the dough into 16 pieces and rolled them into 12-inch ropes. Then, I took 2 cold and hard mozzarella halves out of the freezer and wrapped the dough rope around the cheese. I boiled the 2 of them for 30 seconds at the same time and then put them on the parchment covered baking sheet. I worked 2 at a time so the mozzarella would stay cold before it was submerged into boiling hot water.
I froze the mozzarella sticks because I didn't want the cheese to melt and seep out of the rolls. I didn't have a problem with this when I boiled them, but after they came out of the oven a few of the had melted cheese on the outside. Not many of them did have this problem and the ones that did didn't have much cheese at all on their exterior.
This was a fine little problem to have because they were absolutely delicious, so easy to make, and the leftovers made a great snack.
Pretzel Mozzarella Rolls
makes 16 rolls
adapted from Joy the Baker
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
small amount of vegetable oil
1 cup baking soda
1 large egg, beaten + a splash of water, for the egg wash
8 mozzarella sticks
salt and pepper, to top
Combine warm water and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook. Sprinkle the yeast across the top of the water and allow to dissolve for about 5 minutes. After the yeast dissolves, add the flour, salt, and melted butter. Mix this mixture on low speed until just combined. Increase speed to medium and mix until smooth, soft and forms a ball around the dough hook.
Remove the dough from the bowl and scrap all the dough bits out of the mixer bowl. Oil the bowl with a little bit of vegetable oil and place dough back in the bowl. Sprinkle the dough and sides of bowl very lightly with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled in size, 1-1 1/2 hours.
Once the dough has risen, preheat oven to 425F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and lightly brush with vegetable oil. Cut mozzarella sticks in half, put in a bowl, and place in the freezer to harden. You don't want your cheese to melt everywhere.
Bring a large pot of water with the baking soda to a boil. Place dough on a lightly oiled surface. Divide dough into 16 pieces and roll into 12-inch long ropes. Wrap a rope around half of a mozzarella stick and place in the boiling baking soda water for 30 seconds. Then, carefully remove with a slotted spatula. Place on prepared baking sheet, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I roll my dough out into ropes all at once, take 2 mozzarella halves out of the freezer, roll the dough rope around the mozzarella, and boil 2 at a time. I fit 8 rolls on each baking sheet.
Bake until golden brown, 12-14 minutes. Serve and enjoy!