Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pretzel Rolls

And now what you have been waiting for-- PRETZEL ROLLS!

Y'all, I'm not kidding you when I say these may be my favorite yeast-based home-baked recipe thus far in my life. They were perfectly chewy on the outside and soft on the inside. They were great for soaking up the chipotle cheddar ale soup. They also made a great little sandwich stuffed with sharp cheddar, deli mustard, spinach and red onion:

Now I wish I had more.

I cut the recipe from the original source in half because I didn't want them to go bad before I was able to finish them. No worries though, they literally only lasted for 24 hours in my apartment. The recipe below reflects my adaptions. I made two sandwich rolls and one bread bowl. It could have made two bread bowls or four sandwich rolls. Or you could certainly double, triple, quadruple, duodecuple* or centuple** the recipe to adjust for how many you want to make. As with most yeast recipes, you don't have to double, triple, quadruple, duodecuple* or centuple** the yeast exactly, it just may take a little longer for the bread to rise.

Do whatcha want.

Especially if that includes making and eating this adorable little dudes.

Pretzel Rolls (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
For dough:
1 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
a little over 1/2 cup hot water (around 130 F)

For baking:
8 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp liquid egg whites, beaten until foamy
kosher salt

In the bowl of your food processor, pulse together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. While on low, stream in the hot water until a dough ball forms. Pulse for an additional 1 minute to knead. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in it, turning to coat completely. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a clean towel and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 35 minutes to 1 hour (depending the temperature of your kitchen and the activity of your yeast).

Spread flour on a work surface. Punch down the dough and turn out onto the surface. Knead until smooth. Separate into however may pieces you want to make (I divided it in half for one bread bowl and divided the other half in half again for 2 sandwich rolls). Roll into balls and flatten slightly. Place on the floured surface and cover with a clean towel. Let rise for another 20-40 minutes until puffy. Use a sharp knife to cut a cross into the top of the buns.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal.

Bring the 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Stir in the baking soda and sugar to dissolve (be careful, it will foam).

Add the buns (as many as can fit without touching each other). Boil for 30 seconds, then flip over using a slotted spoon and boil for another 30 seconds. Remove the buns to the prepared baking sheet with the cut sides up. Brush the top and sides of the rolls with the egg whites. Sprinkle the top with kosher salt.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until browned. Cool and serve.

Makes 2 bread bowls or 4 sandwich rolls.

*I just learned that duodectuple is twelve fold.

**Also learned that centuple is one hundred fold. Which would be A LOT of pretzel rolls.

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