Ham and Cheese Stuffed Soft Pretzels
5 ½ cups bread flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp instant dry yeast
2 tsp kosher salt
4 tbsp Tillamook Extra Creamy Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cup warm water (around 110°F/45°C)
18 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
½ cup whole grain mustard
8 thick slices deli ham, folded in quarters
2 cups grated Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Egg wash, as needed for finishing
Coarse or flaky salt, for finishing
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix the flour, sugar, yeast and salt to combine, 30 seconds-1 minute.
Add the butter and water and mix on low speed until the dough comes together, 3 minutes. Raise the speed to medium and continue to mix until the dough is very smooth, 4 minutes more.
Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until noticeably puffy and nearly double in size, 1 – 1 ½ hours.
Divide the dough into 8 even pieces (about 130 g each) - keep any dough you’re not working with covered to prevent drying out.
Shape the dough: line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one piece of dough at a time, cup your hand over a piece of dough and roll it in a circular motion on the work surface to form it into a tight round. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets, and press down to flatten the dough. Use your fingertips to further flatten the center of the pretzel, leaving the outer edge puffier than the center.
Cover the shaped pretzels with greased plastic wrap and let rise until noticeably puffy, 30-45 minutes.
Make the soaking mixture: bring the water to a simmer in a large pot over medium high heat. Once it comes to a boil, stir in the baking soda. Reduce heat to low. Working in batches, add the shaped pretzels to the water and let soak for about 1 minute, using a slotted spoon or spider to gently flip the dough halfway through soaking.
Remove the soaked pretzels and return to the parchment lined baking sheets, leaving at least 1 in/2.5 cm all around each piece. Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
Spoon 1 tbsp whole grain mustard into the center of each pretzel, and spread in around the flattened center and slightly up the sides. Place a folded piece of ham in the center of each pretzel, and top with 35 g / ¼ cup shredded cheese.
Egg wash the outer edge of the pretzels and sprinkle with coarse or flaky salt. Bake, rotating the pans half way through baking, until deeply golden brown and the interior temperature is at least 195°F/90°C in the thickest part, 22-25 minutes.