Don't mind the poor picture; these are so. good. The pretzel bites all on their own are fantastic. Add in some ham and cheddar and oh man. Delicious. I made some with only cheese for Jenny; she's a vegetarian. Those were excellent too. Dip them in some mustard, and you're all set.
Here's one final picture of me in action..taking a photo of the table layout!
Mini Ham & Cheese Pretzel Paninis
yields about 60 bites
2 1/2 t active dry yeast
2 T light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
5 T butter, melted
2 1/2 t salt
4 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
coarse sea salt
ham (about 1/4-1/2 pound)
Combine the warm water, yeast and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook; allow to sit for about 5 minutes, until foamy. Add in the butter and salt and stir. Slowly add in the flour while the mixer is running and allow to mix at a low speed until the dough pulls away from the edges of the bowl (should be smooth & elastic). Place the ball of dough in a well oiled bowl and cover with a pieces of plastic wrap that has also been sprayed with oil. Allow to rest in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF and bring 10 cups of water to a boil in a large pot on the stove. Add the baking soda to the water and stir to dissolve.
Divide the ball of dough into eight pieces. Take each piece and roll it out into a thin rope, about 14 inches long. Cut the dough into 1 inch pieces. Add about 20 at a time to the pot of boiling soda water. After about 30 seconds (they should float up to the top), remove them and place on a paper towel to dry off. Transfer the boiled pieces of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a splash of cold water. Brush each pretzel bite with the egg wash, and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt.
Bake 10-16 minutes, until golden.
Once cool, slice each pretzel bite in half and place a thin slice of cheddar cheese and ham in between the halves. Place onto a baking sheet. Place in a 400ºF oven for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Serve with mustard and enjoy!