Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pretzels - Pepper Jack vs. Three Cheese, and the winner was!

I was looking through my Guy Fieri "Food" cookbook and saw this recipe for Pepper Jack Pretzels; they sounded pretty darn good to me.  My daughters' first response was, "You can make pretzels"? Her second one was, "I don't like pepper Jack cheese".  Fine I told her, I'll make two kinds then you can give me your opinion.

College girl and all her gear are back home, and my back is finally settling down from all the moving.  Did I mention all the stairs, and that I'm pretty sure there were rocks packed amongst her belongings. Thanks everyone for your well wishes with the move.  We are still waiting for a date so I can get the second move going.  I've been cleaning like a maniac and just getting everything in order.  The biggest hurdle will be my kitchen; yes I do need every one of those 16 frying pans.

Pepper Jack Pretzels
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
1 1/2 tbsp. active dry yeast
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling out)
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 large eggs
3 cups grated pepper Jack cheese
2 tbsp. milk
2 tsp. kosher salt

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Cover 2 large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  If you have a pizza stone, preheat it in the oven.

2.  In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, combine the warm water and yeast.  Stir and let sit 10 minutes, until it foams.

3.  In a food processor fitted with the plastic dough blade, pulse the flour, sea salt, sugar, cayenne, and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese for three 5-second intervals.  Add 1 egg and the yeast mixture.  Pulse for three 10-second intervals, or until the dough comes together.

4.  Turn the dough out onto lightly floured cutting board.  Knead 10-12 times, adding more flour if sticky.  Cut the dough in half and set half aside.

5.  Use a rolling pin to roll out 1 dough ball into a 12- by 17-inch rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the pepper Jack in a strip down the middle (the short way).  Fold one-third of the dough over the cheese and sprinkle with another 3/4 cup of the pepper Jack.  Fold the last third over and pinch the edges of the dough closed.  Roll the dough into an 11- by 15-inch rectangle.  Cut the dough into ten 1 1/2- by 15-inch strips.

A note on the quantity of pretzels; I found I got a better size on the pretzels if I cut the rectangle in 8 strips instead of the called for 10.  

6.  Pinch the cut edges of the strips together.  Roll each strip into a cigar shape, 18 inches in length.  Form each strip into a pretzel shape and place the pretzels 3 inches apart on a prepared baking sheet.

7.  Repeat with the second ball of dough.

For the second ball I substituted a blend of Monterey Jack, Mozzarella and Sharp Cheddar for the Pepper Jack.

8.  Beat the remaining egg with the milk.  Brush the formed pretzels with the egg wash and then sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan, and the kosher salt.

9.  Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until nicely browned.  You'll get the best results by putting the baking sheets on a preheated pizza stone, but it isn't necessary.

There were no instructions for letting the pretzels rest on the tray for a few minutes, but I found my second batch to be much lighter, due to the fact they were resting on the tray while the other batch was baking. 

10.  Let cool and serve warm or room temperature.  Store at room temperature, tightly covered.

Serves 20.

The girls thought the three cheese pretzels were the winners!  Darn, I had to eat all the losers myself.

We curled up on the couch together and enjoyed our pretzels with a movie; it's so nice to have everyone home together again.

I got a question I thought I would clarify here since I was told they couldn't view my comment box for some reason.

1)  Once you have folded the dough back onto itself, you roll it and that seals the cheese in.  Once you cut the strips, press down a bit on the cut sides, this will prevent further leakage.  Then when you roll the strips into cigars all the cheese will then be on the inside.  There might be a tad bit of leakage, but not too bad.




  1. Mmmmm they look wonderful, Gina! I like both versions!! How did your daughter like your version. I'll take 3 of both :)

  2. Lovely looking pretzels, Gina! I still haven't tried making pretzels but these sound so good that I think I will soon! And yes I agree with the consensus - why settle for one when you can have three :) LOL... Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh my, your pretzels are gorgeous. My kids have been bugging me to make pretzels so I am saving this one for future reference. Good luck with the next move!

  4. What a great way to end the day! Soft pretzels are a favorite of mine and I like the addition of the cheese. I am sure that you did not suffer too much by eating the loser flavor! Thanks for posting

  5. That looks delicious! It's perfect when we have guests!

  6. LOL, I'm sorry you were forced to eat all those loser pretzels...what a tough job ;) I've never thought about adding cheese to pretzels, but I love the idea. Hope to get to these soon~

  7. These look so good! Now that I've kicked my yeast aversion, I really should whip up a batch of these. Michael would ask me to add jalapenos to the pepper jack ones, but the three cheese is more up my alley. Think I'll tackle these soon!! Glad you survived the move; it's good to see you back, Gina!!

  8. Pretzels! With cheese! I love these, both yours and college girls :) Well done

  9. I'm supposed to be grieving your absence for a few weeks. What gives? You're not allowed to post delicious recipes like this when I'm wearing sack cloth and mourning the loss of you. :)

  10. I'll take both and any extra pepperjack pretzels that your daughter doesn't want. Love the comment, "You can make pretzels?" Oh children! How little of us you know! I have done "the move" many times with my two. My house gets more crowded each summer.

  11. Yummy yumm! What a lovely pretzels..I could eat this like every day!!!!:)) I love pepper jack!!

  12. You are the baking queen! Those pretzels look so darn good!

  13. I made pretzels a few months ago and they were delicious but with the cheese factor!? You took these to a whole new level.. I love love love it.

  14. They look amazing! I love pepper jack cheese, and I love pretzels, therefore, you have made my day. Yum!

  15. Oh boy, do those look good!!! I want one now!!!
    Beautiful Gina! I hope your back continues to feel better...enjoy the rest of the week-end.
    Happy Memorial Day! xo

  16. Hi Gina, It was fun to hang out with you at the brunch. You are an awesome baker, your chocolate, cherry, whipped cream with almond crust tart was out of this world and the macarons were the best I've tried. Can't wait for the next get together;-)

  17. Hi Gina, forgot to comment on your pretzels, they look perfect and I know they are delicious;-)

  18. i love this little pretzels competition hehe. I think I would have love either type sitting on the sofa watching a movie with you.
    Sorry I missed the brunch :(

  19. Sommer the girls tried them, they just preferred the three cheese.

  20. 16 frying pans! Yes, I can understand having that many. You pretzels look delicious! I bet both versions tasted great.

  21. I envy your 16 frying pans. ;)

    Wonderful, cheesy pretzels. I have deep love for the soft pretzel...especially when it looks so good.

  22. I love homemade pretzels. These look like the perfect color, and delicious! I am not a fan of cheese, but my family would love that they are filled with cheese!

  23. What a greeaaaaaaat idea!!! Seriously! I would love to come home from work and be able to snack on one of these babies!

  24. Hehe your daughter cracks me up:) I so want your pretzels right now. I haven't had a good pretzel in a long time, time to remedy that. I also wanted to thank you for participating in this month's YBR :) Hope your moving date approaches soon.

  25. I love the flavor going on here! What a tasty treat! I have a pretzel recipe sitting here in my binder ready to go this week too :) Yum!

  26. these are perfect just delicious looking would never buy another one after seeing these!

  27. Gina, those pretzels look beautiful!! I almost want to go into my kitchen right now and recreate these lovelies... only if it wasn't almost midnight. :)

  28. Moving can be such a chore, but so nice everyone is home that :)Even the looser pretzels sound pretty good, but the 3 cheese do look killer :) Hope everything is going smoothly and you had at least a bit of down time over the weekend :)

  29. Hi Gina! Sorry for my late comment... I have been sick for the past week, almost 2 weeks now... Your homemade pretzels look amazing! My kids would totally appreciate something like this if I can make them at home. You can bake almost everything! ;-)

  30. Aha! Finally, your comment box decided to show itself up to me today! So it wasn't my iPad, your post is simply playing hard to get, Gina...haha. I've only made pretzels once (with no filling) so these ones with cheese are totally fascinating for me. Thanks for stating your clarification at the end of the post, it'll serve as a useful reminder/tip to me and everyone else reading this.

    Don't be surprised if you see similar-looking pretzels on one of my posts soon! *winks*

  31. How did I miss your pretzel post! I'm so glad that you've got everyone at home and enjoying yummy, cheesy pretzels and watching movies together:)

  32. Happy Birthday Gina. I see Nancy has made FB #3 with your pretzels. I spotted them on there and they look so good I need to make them too :-)


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