Before we make these blissful breads, let me offer you a few important notes:
Note #1: Pretzel dough can be made entirely by hand. To save a little time, I use a standing mixer (equipped with a dough hook) to blend and knead the dough.
Note #2: A short soak in a mixture of boiling water and baking soda gives the rolls their unique color and texture. A soup pot or any wide and fairly-deep pan will suffice as a pretzel roll “bath tub.”
Note #3: You haven’t lived until you’ve tried a grass-fed beef burger in a pretzel roll. (And because I love you, I’m going to make such a burger at the end of this recipe!)
Everything’s better with butter.
On the other hand, nothing is better with Blue Bonnet on it.
Scrape the dough off the hook-attachment, cover the bowl with plastic wrap (you needn’t grease the bowl), and place it a warm location until the dough doubles in volume — about 90 minutes. As you can see, my “warm location” is a common heating pad. I use the heating pad because I live in a very charming but drafty 19th century house.
No picture of this next step: Line a large baking sheet with either parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Also, center the oven rack, and preheat the oven to 425°F.
I seem to be saying “’em” instead of “them” quite a bit in this post. Apparently I’m a country boy. A very liberal and progressive country boy.
Bake in the preheated oven until perfectly puffed and bronzed — 15-20 minutes. If you are not going to eat the rolls right away, let them cool on a wire rack. You can store them at room temperature in a paper sack (don’t seal them in plastic) for up to 24 hours. Or you can freeze them.
Are you still with me? Good. I’d like to serve you a hamburger!
Think you’ll give these easy pretzel rolls a try? You can let me know by leaving a comment. As always, I love hearing from you.
Here’s a printer-friendly, copy-and-paste version of the above:
Kevin Lee Jacobs
Ingredients for 8 rolls
For the pretzel dough:
1 1/2 cups warm (110°F) water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
4 1/2 cups all-purpose (or “plain”) flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the poaching liquid:
10 cups water
1/3 cup baking soda
For glazing the rolls:
1 egg, beaten
Kosher salt, a pinch for each roll (optional)
Special Equipment: A standing mixer (if not mixing and kneading by hand); a parchment- (or silicone mat-) lined baking sheet; a large pan or soup pot for the hot-water bath
Stir together the water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Let rest until the yeast foams — about 5 minutes. Then add the flour, salt, and melted butter. Blend at low speed until combined — about 30 seconds. Then increase the speed to “medium,” and knead until the dough cleans the bowl — 3 to 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set it some place warm until the dough doubles in volume — about 90 minutes.
Deflate the dough, and scrape it onto a lightly-floured work surface. Then cut the dough into 8 equal segments. Form each segment into a ball, and pinch the underside to seal. Then lightly flatten the rolls so they resemble, more or less, hamburger buns. Place the buns on the parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until nearly doubled in volume — about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the poaching water to a boil, and then lower the heat to achieve a slow simmer. Also, center the oven rack, and preheat the oven to 425°F.
When the rolls are ready, add the baking soda to the simmering water in small increments (the water will foam). Transfer 2 or 3 rolls at a time to the soda-water bath, and let them soak for 30 seconds. Then flip the rolls over, and let them soak for 30 seconds. Use a slotted spatula to return the rolls to the lined baking sheet (sealed side down).
Brush the tops with the beaten egg. Then use a sharp knife or razor blade to make two 1/4-inch-deep slashes in the tops.
Bake until perfectly puffed and bronzed — 15-20 minutes. Then cool on a wire rack. The rolls will retain their freshness for up to 24 hours if kept at room temperature in a paper sack. Freeze for longer storage.
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