Spinach and Feta Stuffed Pretzels and the Sympathetic Nervous System

This title is a mouthful, I know. This week is proportionally crazy. We have our first anatomy practical tomorrow and our first block exam the day after Labor Day! So what am I doing? Baking stuffed pretzels. Naturally.

Starbucks sells pretzels similar to these, so I decided to make my own when I found myself in possession of some fresh spinach that was looking a little puny and some milk that was a little past its prime. Rule #2, am I right?

This recipe uses creamed spinach for the filling, so you can either make your own (like I did) or just use the frozen stuff. That will work well too.  On top of the creamed spinach is crumbled feta cheese and shredded pizza-blend cheese (mozzarella and parmesan).

Roll everything up length-wise into a delicious, spinachy, cheesy rope. Then do a quick twist into a pretzel shape, dunk in baking soda water (important step! Do not skip!) and place on a greased baking pan. I sprinkled mine with some shredded cheese because I felt like it.

Do not be turned off by the slippery mutants. They are about to experience the transformative power of heat.

Voila! Oh goodness.

Break off a piece while they’re hot. The bread is tender and flaky and the filling is rich and savory.

These may just change your life.

On that note, I’m off to fill my head with more knowledge! Woohoo! At least I have some awesome study snacks now.

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Pretzels

  • 1 1/2 C. warm water (110 degrees)
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. sugar, divided
  • 1 Tbs. active dry yeast
  • 4 C. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 C. baking soda
  • 4 C. hot water
  • 1 C. creamed spinach (prepared according to directions if frozen)
  • 3/4 C. crumbled feta cheese
  • 3/4 to 1 C. shredded pizza cheese (or just mozzarella)

In a small bowl combine warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes or until foamy. Put 3 1/2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon table salt in a large bowl. Stir together. Add oil and yeast mixture and just mix until moistened. Knead until the dough is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Add in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour while dough is kneading and then place in a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise till doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Thirty minutes before you plan to bake, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. When dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope, roughly 1/2-inch diameter. Press the ropes flat, until about 2 inches across.  Spoon a 1/2-inch wide row of spinach mixture down the center. Sprinkle a small amount of pizza-blend and feta cheese over the spinach. Moisten the edges of the dough and roll it up around the filling and pinch the edges shut. Shape into pretzels, gently pressing ends down to attach.

Carefully dip pretzels, one at a time, into the baking soda and water, then place pretzels on baking sheet. Be gentle to avoid the filling breaking through. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

(adapted from this recipe)

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