Dear PRHC Cooks,
I love that there’s a cookbook club at work! If you don’t know, I work in a publishing company, mainly on children’s books but we have imprints that produce these amazing cookbooks. A few colleagues at work decided it was time that we cook from these cookbooks and bring them in for Monday lunch potlucks. There, we get to sample multiple dishes from the cookbook and then chat about what worked and what didn’t. Mainly, I love that I learn about new dishes and any troubleshooting for future recipes.
The cookbook that was voted in for this time was Bake the Seasons: Sweet and Savoury Dishes to Enjoy Throughout the Year by Marcella DiLonardo.
When it was time to sign up for a recipe, I knew I wanted to try the pretzel knots. I’ve been searching for a pretzel recipe to use with my Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning blend. So I thought this would be a good test, plus I love the combination of cheddar and chives!
Cheddar and Chives Pretzel Knots
Recipe from Bake the Seasons
1 ½ cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar (original recipe calls for turbinado sugar)
1 teaspoon fine salt
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
½ cup minced chives
½ cup baking soda
1 egg, whisked for egg wash
- Using the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk the water and yeast together. Let is stand for 5 minutes so that the yeast activates. The yeast didn’t start to bubble in my mixture, but I had just purchased it, so I knew it was fresh. If you’re not sure, you might want to start over with fresh yeast.
- Next, add the sugar and salt and whisk it in.
- Use the dough hook for your mixer and on low speed, add 1 cup of the flour, followed by the melted butter. Mix until it’s incorporated.
- Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time until the dough comes together. Let the stand mixer knead the dough on medium speed for about 5 minutes. The dough should look smooth and feel elastic, that’s your cue to stop kneading.
- Fold in 1 cup of the cheddar and all the chives.
- Shape the dough into a ball and cover the bowl. Keep the bowl away from any cold drafts. Let the dough rest and double in size for 2 hours.
- Dust your working surface with flour and take the dough out. Give it a quick knead and then divide all the pieces evenly. Make all the even lumps into rope shapes and tie them into simple knots.
- Pour about 8 cups of water into a large pot. Bring it to a boil on the stove over high heat. Add in the baking soda. This part was new to me and looks like all pretzel recipes have this boiling process.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Working in small batches, put the knots in the boiling water for about 20-30 seconds. Quickly remove them with a slotted spoon or spider. Place them on parchment paper over a baking sheet.
- Brush the pretzels with the whisked egg. Then sprinkle grated cheese on it. The original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of coarse salt to also be sprinkled on top of the knots. That’s up to you!
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, the pretzel knots should look golden brown and have puffed up to double the size. Let it cool for another 15 minutes and eat! Or you can store them in an airtight container for 2 days.
One of my favourite tools to use when working with dough is a bench scraper. It helps you cut, shape, and move the dough from surface to surface easily.
I was able to make at least three baking sheets full of these baby knots. They puff up quite a bit after baking, so make sure you space them out well.
I used a hot pot spider (strainer scoop) to boil the pretzels in.
If you like your pretzels salty, definitely add them on at the sprinkling stage. I figured the cheese would be salty enough!
Gahh, I love the smell of baked cheese in the oven! These came out delightfully bite sized and addictive. They were also easy to bag, light to carry, and it was a breeze bringing them into the office. All important criteria when you’re commuting in!