Brian's Photo Blog — Article 498
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Roast Beef Pretzel Pockets
Tuesday 1 December 2015   —   Category: Cooking & Food
During this autumn I have had three successful experiments with various types of homemade pretzels — see my previous articles Making Pretzels At Home, A Double Batch of Homemade Pretzels and Pretzel Brats and Pretzel Sticks for all of the delicious details.

After a month-long pause, it was time to explore the further possibilities in Andrea Slonecker’s cookbook Pretzel Making at Home. I love roast beef and cheese, so her Philly Cheesesteak Pretzel Pockets recipe looked very enticing.

My plan was to make three pretzel pockets with half of Andrea’s soft pretzel dough, and use the other half to make four traditional pretzels.

Following the recipe, I made the dough the day before, and put it in the fridge for 24 hours. The next morning, I divided an eight-ounce package of Trader Joe’s Seasoned Roast Beef into three equal portions. I also prepared equal portions of Tillamook sharp cheddar and Gruyère cheeses. Both the meat and the cheese were torn into small pieces.
Taking a one-sixth portion of the dough, I rolled it out thin until it was roughly circular, about eight inches in diameter.
When I tried to put one-third of the roast beef and cheese onto the dough, I was disappointed to find that it was way too much filler for that amount of dough. In order to use all of the roast beef and cheese I had prepared, I had to make six pockets instead of three. Because that used all of my dough, I had to abandon my plan to make four traditional pretzels with half of the dough.

I ended up putting about 1⅓ ounces of meat and, I suppose, about the same amount of cheese (I didn’t weigh the cheese, so I’m not sure).
After placing the small pile of roast beef and cheese on the dough, I moistened the edges of the dough with a small amount of water (not too much!), folded it over until the edges met, and then used a fork to press the edges together. Here, four pretzel pockets are sitting on a flour-dusted baking pan so they can rise for an hour or two.
One of the pretzel pockets in the lye bath. The instructions say to leave it 10 seconds on each side. But because of the shape and contents of the pocket, it was almost impossible to turn over, and I for sure did not want to be splashing caustic lye water around! Therefore, with the large spatula I was using to put the pocket into the lye water and to take it out, I held the pocket under the water for the required amount of time.
After their short lye bath and a sprin­kling of coarse salt, three pretzel pockets sit on a baking sheet lined with parch­ment paper, all ready to go into the oven.
Ten minutes in a scorching 500°F oven transformed the soggy, raw pretzel pock­ets into a truly scrumptious work of art! They experienced an amazing amount of oven spring, which caused them to more than double in size.
You may have noticed that when I assembled the pretzel pockets I did not add any mustard, horseradish, or other flavoring. Instead, each diner was able to add what they wanted as they were eating. My sauces of choice were my homemade Chunky Sour Pickle Ré­mou­lade and my homemade spicy whole-​grain honey pub mustard.

I was quite happy with how these roast beef pretzel pockets turned out ... they are very delicious! This dish is definitely a winner, and I’m looking foward to reheating the two leftover pockets I stuck in the freezer.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 498
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