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Author Notes: There are family-sized bags of hard pretzels, and then there are store-bought batches of frozen pretzels, and then there are these. These beauties blow all of your usual pretzel routines out of the water. We think they’re worth the bit of extra work — and even if you’re not as enthusiastic about the full-on rolling and filling and re-rolling situation, you can still make these by simply rolling smaller rounds of dough around a spoonful of dough (like we did here). Not as eye-catching, but still oh-so-tasty. —CAVA
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- vegetable oil
- 3 quarts water
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1 whole egg, beaten
- coarse sea salt
for Crazy Feta filling:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup Cava Crazy Feta
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Combine the warm water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes
- Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
- Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
- About 10 minutes before you’re ready to roll out the dough, make the filling: In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until it makes a paste (be careful not to burn the flour). Cook over medium-low heat for a minute or two, then pour in milk. Stir for one minute or so, until even. Add Crazy Feta and mozzarella, stirring until cheeses are melted. Stir in the Greek yogurt until smooth.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Divide the pretzel dough into 8 equal balls and roll each out into a rectangle (about 11×3 inches). Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons Crazy Feta filling along the length of each piece. Starting with the opposite side, roll the dough up into a log, enclosing the filling inside. Pinch the seams together and then very gently roll the dough with your hands to form an even cylinder and fully enclose the filling. Take the two ends of each filled cylinder and form into a circle that is overlapped by a couple of inches of dough on either side, twist the ends and lay over the opposite side to form a pretzel shape and press to seal.
- Slowly add the baking soda to the boiling water. Boil the pretzels in the water solution, 2 at a time for 30 seconds. Remove with a large flat slotted spatula. Place 4 pretzels on each baking sheet, brush the tops with egg wash and season liberally with sea salt. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown. Enjoy!