I think when it comes to snacks I am more a salty girl than a sweets girl. Give me a nice hard crunchy pretzel and I am in heaven. At any given time at our house if you open the snack cabinet you’ll probably find pretzel rods, pretzel nuggets, extra dark hard pretzels, honey mustard pretzel nibblers and the list goes on. I will definitely reach for something salty before I’ll go for the cookies or candies in the cabinet. It’s always a nice treat when I happen to be out somewhere for lunch or dinner and I see something on the menu served on a warm pretzel roll. There is nothing better than a hot ham and cheese with a nice spicy mustard or a nice juicy burger or brat served up on a beautifully browned, chewy, salty pretzel roll.
I will say though I don’t come across pretzel rolls as often as I would like in local stores or on the menus of the restaurants we frequent, so I decided to remedy this and try to make them myself. A few years back when I tried to make bread for the first time at home it didn’t turn out quite like I had planned. In fact it didn’t turn out at all. I made the dough, put it in the bowl to rise, covered it with a towel, placed it in a warm place and waited, and waited, and waited…..there was no rising goin’ on in my bowl. So I went ahead and baked it anyway thinking maybe some magic might happen in the oven and you know what I got?? Well I’ll give you one guess and it wasn’t a nice fluffy loaf of bread, it was more like a brick of bread! Feeling discouraged I decided not to tackle any more bread recipes for quite a while until I attempted the brioche rolls previously posted on the blog. Since I found success with those when I came across this pretzel roll recipe on Tasty Kitchen I had to give them a try.
They turned out just as I hoped they would. They are nice and chewy and perfectly brown and salty. Sometimes I make them burger size and sometimes I make them smaller for mini hot ham and cheddar sandwiches to serve with a nice bowl of soup.
Just make sure when you combine the water and yeast in the bowl that your water is not too hot. That was my mistake at my first attempt at bread making. If the water is too hot you kill the yeast and the bread will not rise. Give these a try, they are easier than you think and I guarantee they will soon become a favorite.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water, about 110 degrees F
- 1 package Active Dry Yeast (1/4 oz. - do not use Quick Rise)
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar
- 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- For the poaching
- 2 quarts water
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- pretzel salt
- Combine the warm water and yeast in bowl of standing mixer and let rest until foamy. (about five minutes)
- Add the sugar, flour, salt and butter and mix with dough hook until thoroughly combined. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for one hour or until it has doubled in size.
- After an hour punch the dough down and dump it out onto a lightly floured surface. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Cut the dough into about 16 pieces. Take each piece and form a round ball pulling sides to the center and pinching to seal and rolling between both your hands. Then place the ball on a surface free of flour (so you can get some traction) and cup your hand around the ball and spin your hand in a circular motion while rolling the ball in your palm. This motion will smooth out the ball. (See photo) Repeat with each piece of dough. Place on baking sheet with the seam side down about 2 inches apart. Cover again with the towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place oven racks in middle and lowest positions.
- In large saucepan bring the 2 quarts of water to a low boil. Add baking soda and reduce heat to just a simmer. Put the rolls into the water a few at a time seam side down and poach for 30 seconds on one side, then turn and poach the other side for 30 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon to parchment lined sheets seam side down. Repeat with all rolls.
- Brush all rolls with pastry brush with lightly beaten egg coating all sides. Sprinkle each roll with pretzel salt and using a sharp knife or razor slash top of each roll or "X" the top of each roll.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown switching baking sheets on racks after 8 minutes.
- These rolls are best the day they are baked, but can be frozen and when ready to heat wrap in tinfoil and heat in the oven until warm.