No joke, I would eat these every single day if I could. They are extremely flavorful and the mozzarella just adds that extra special something which makes them even better! You could make these without a filling but who are we kidding, that's not any fun.
In a stand mixer, combine water, oil, sugar, and yeast. Let sit until it starts to get foamy, about 3 minutes. Add flour and salt to yeast mixture. Fit with a dough hook and mix on low until a ball forms and doesn't stick to the sides, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer dough ball to a highly floured surface and kneed until smooth about 1 min. Place dough in a large lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 1 hour or until it almost doubled in size.
Meanwhile, prepare the mozzarella into strips.
After the dough almost doubles in size, press lightly in the middle to deflate.
Transfer to a lightly oiled counter and cut into 12 equal pieces. Cover with plastic wrap so they don't dry out.
Working with one ball at a time, roll into a 22-inch rope. Do this by placing two hands in the middle of the ball and gently rolling while moving your hand outwards.
Now flatten the rope with your hands or a rolling pin. Place the mozzarella strips down the middle of the rope. Fold and pinch the dough around the cheese so it seals. Take the time to seal it as best you can, but mine always bust open eventually. (Tip: I dry my hands before sealing the cheese. The wetter the area, the harder it is to make it stick together.)
Now, fold the pretzel by making a "U" shape with the rope. Twist the end around each other twice then connect them to the bottom of the "U." Press down where the ends meet the bottom of the "U." Transfer pretzels, knot side up to a lightly greased baking sheet, cover loosely. (Video tutorial here) Repeat with the remaining dough balls and let sit for 20 minutes until slightly puffy. (Tip: 6 pretzels should fit per baking sheet, you will need two sheets)
While they sit, heat oven to 425°F and adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions. Bring a pot of water to boil, something with a larger circumference, I use a La Creuset Dutch Oven. Add 1/4 cup baking soda to the pot.
After pretzels become slightly puffy, gently drop 3-4 pretzels in, knot side down, and let boil for 15 seconds. With a slotted spoon, gently flip them and boil for another 15 seconds. Transfer to a cooling rack, let sit for 5 minutes. In the meantime, repeat with the rest, in batches.
Lightly oil two baking sheets. Transfer pretzels to the baking sheet, knot side up, and sprinkle with kosher or coarse salt.
Bake at 425°F for 15-20 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through until they are golden brown and no longer yellowish.
Transfer to a cooling rack. Don't burn yourself but also, don't wait too long to dig in. They are best fresh out of the oven! But, if you have willpower, they will keep in an airtight container.
For a full video tutorial, check out my Mozzarella Stuffed Soft Pretzels TikTok.