Monday, June 7, 2010

Philly Pretzels

My brother-in-law threw down another challenge. He sent me a link to a soft pretzel filled with Philly Cheese Steak and asked if I could make em. Sure - why not!?!

I used my standard Alton Brown soft pretzel recipe and followed it to the point of shaping. I divided the dough into 8 portions and formed each portion into a rectangle - about 4"x8". Next add about 1/3 cup of the filling to the middle of the rectangle. Fold in the sides and then roll pretzel and pinch seams. Boil in water and baking soda for 45 seconds or so then roll over and boil for another 45 seconds. Place on parchment lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash, sprinkle with salt and bake for 15-20 minutes.

I am told that actual Philly Cheese Steaks have cheese whiz, but I used 2% milk Velveeta for the cheese.

These were really tasty. I'm not sure how authentic they are, but my husband loved them and I got the thumbs up of approval from my brother in law. They re-heated really well the next day too - just pop them in the microwave for 90 seconds.

Philly Pretzels

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
1lb Velveeta cheese
Salt and pepper

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, brown the ground beef with the diced onion and salt and pepper to taste. Drain any fat. Cut Velveeta into 1 inch cubes and stir into meat mixture until melted. Allow filling to cool.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside. Place a cooling rack in a rimmed baking sheet.
Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a rectangle - about 4"x8". Spread about 1/3 cup of the filling on the middle of the rectangle. Fold in the sides and then roll pretzel and pinch seams. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 45 seconds and then roll over and continue boiling for another 45 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Place them on the cooling rack in the baking sheet.

Once cool enough to touch, transfer pretzels to the parchment lined baking sheets and brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 15-20minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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