Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pretzel Rolls

My husband Joe gets credit for these delicious and easy Pretzel Rolls because a few nights ago he asked me to make homemade garden burgers for dinner and headed off to the grocery store to get hamburger buns.

From the store he texted me, "I'm craving pretzel rolls and they don't have any." A few minutes later he sent me a link to a pretzel bread recipe from the site. 

I texted him back, "Do you want me to make pretzel rolls for the gardenburgers?"

He immediately replied, "Want to? I bet they'd be kickass."

With that kind of encouragement, how could I say no?

By the time he got home from the store, the dough was already rising. This was such an easy recipe that I couldn't even earn bonus points for it being an imposition.

The dough comes together quickly and after it rises and doubles in bulk (this takes about 45 minutes) then you just need to shape the rolls, boil and bake them. The boiling step is what makes them pretzel rolls because the dip in baking soda infused hot water before baking is what creates that dark pretzel crust and flavor. Soft pretzels are made this way and bagels are boiled too but without the addition of baking soda.

I'm so glad Joe had a craving for a burger on a pretzel roll and found the recipe for me. I did make a few changes from the original since I happen to have pretzel making experience. I skipped adding an egg wash, I added a sprinkling of sea salt to the tops before baking and when I boiled the rolls I used the baking soda and water ratio I've always used — 1 tablespoon of baking soda to every cup of water. The recipe wanted me to boil 3 quarts of water and add 3/4 a cup of soda. Even though baking soda is cheap, I couldn't bring myself to use that much. I used 6 cups of water and 6 tablespoons of baking soda.

Here's the recipe:

Pretzel Buns
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons or 1 envelope yeast
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
3 cups flour
Additional flour as needed
baking soda
sea salt

Heat the butter and milk in a sauce pan until it is warm and the butter is melted. Remove it from the heat and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. When the mixture cools to between 105 and 115-degrees F, add the yeast, brown sugar and salt and stir until the yeast dissolves.

Adding the yeast, sugar and salt to the warm milk and butter mixture.

Once the yeast has dissolved, add the flour to the milk mixture and stir until a soft dough forms.

Add enough additional flour to knead it into a soft dough.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in bulk. This takes about 45 minutes.

After the dough has doubled, it will look like this.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and divide the dough into eight pieces.

Shape the pieces of dough into rounds and flatten them.

Bring a sauce pan of water and baking soda to a simmer. For every cup of water, add 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Also, have a greased or parchment lined and greased baking sheet ready. Boil the rolls a few at a time for 1 minute, then flip them and boil for another minute. Use a slotted spoon to lift them out of the water and shake off excess water.

Place the boiled rolls on the prepared baking sheet.

Use a serrated knife to add a deep cross on top of each roll and sprinkle each with a touch of sea salt. Bake the rolls at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temp to 350 and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until the rolls are dark brown and done.

Eat the rolls warm with mustard just like a pretzel or let them cool and slice them for burgers and sandwiches. These are best consumed within a day of making them.

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