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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pretzel Rolls

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My first encounter with pretzel bread was at Companion Bakery in St. Louis. I’ve mentioned them before, their bread is my all-time favorite in this city, and maybe that I’ve had anywhere! Lucky for me, a few of the grocery stores around here have started carrying Companion Bread…including their infamous pretzel bread! Despite having easy access to it, I was eager to attempt pretzel bread in my own kitchen.

The recipe, from Food Network, could not have been easier. The dough came together nicely in my stand mixer and required two rises, but neither were incredibly time consuming. According to the original recipe, the dough was to be split into 4 rolls. That made for pretty big pieces, so I instead split into six. Had I been using them as buns for sandwiches, I probably would have made only 4, but as soup dippers, 6 was perfect!

To get the signature brown crust, pretzels (and pretzel bread) are boiled in a baking soda mixture before they are baked. Based on the reviews from the original recipe, I kept them in about 2 minutes total instead of 4 minutes total and I thought they came out perfectly. The rolls are a bit hard after you bake them, but that’s pretty normal for pretzel bread. They turn from white to golden pretty quickly, so be sure to keep a close eye on them!

While I still love Companion and will absolutely be paying them the occasional visit, I’m more than pumped to know I can whip up pretzel bread whenever the craving strikes!

One Year Ago: Cranberry Bruschetta, the recipe that helped me win my way to the Foodbuzz Festival!
Two Years Ago: Snickerdoodle Muffins

Pretzel Rolls
from Guy Fieri, Food Network
*makes 6 rolls

-1 tbsp active dry yeast (I just used 1 package of active dry yeast, which is more than 2 tbsp but worked fine...so you could easily double the recipe and use just 1 packet of yeast)
-2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
-1 tbsp sugar
-1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
-1/3 cup baking soda

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour 1 cup of warm water (110-115F) and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
2. Add the flour mixture to the yeast and mix with the dough hook on low until the dough comes together. Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix until dough is smooth and elastic (this took probably 3 minutes).
3. Form the dough into a ball and place into a well-oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough with oil. Cover with a dish towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 30-35 minutes, until doubled in size (I wouldn't say mine looked doubled in size after 35 minutes, but I proceeded).
4. Punch down the dough and turn out on a floured surface. Knead until dough is smooth, about 1 minute. Divide into 6 equal-sized pieces and form into roll shapes. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. With a kitchen scissors or a knife, cut an X in the top of each roll. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise, 15-20 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 425F and bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat.
6. Stir the baking soda into the boiling water (it will foam up slightly). Add rolls, 2 at a time, to the mixture. Allow to sit for 1 minute before turning over with a spoon and allowing to sit for another minute. With a slotted spoon, remove rolls, drain, and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining rolls. Sprinkle rolls with kosher salt.
7. Bake rolls until golden, 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.