A few months ago, I pinned a pretzel roll recipe on Pinterest. Since then I’ve read through this recipe about forty-seven times, salivating all over my computer, dreaming of the day when I would devour a plate full of those delicious entities.
Last week in the middle of my kidney-stone-blues, I threw all caution to the wind and decided to make up a batch of pretzel rolls. I thought they would be very hard and complicated. They weren’t.
I read through the recipe three more times, just to be sure I knew what I was doing (which, of course, I didn’t.) But despite my ignorance, the recipe is actually pretty forgiving.
Because of the enormous affection I have in my pretzel roll loving heart for you, gentle reader, I wanted to share the recipe.
First off, you need to make the dough. I want to just warn you now, the dough is stiff and sticky. But don’t be scared.
Mix 2 1/2 cups of warm milk (not hot) with 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast. Wait ten minutes until it starts to build and get a little frothy.
Meanwhile, mix six cups of all purpose flour with a teaspoon of salt. (Just for the record, I use three cups whole wheat flour and three cups of regular old white flour. If I use more than three cups of whole wheat flour, the dough doesn’t seem to rise as well.) Next, using the dough hook on your mixer, blend the flour/salt combo with three tablespoons of canola oil. After it is mixed well, the flour looks slightly crumbly. This is good.
Pour your milk/yeast liquid into the bowl with the flour. Add one cup of warm water. Then begin mixing all these ingredients together, still using your dough hook attachment.
You’ll notice that the dough is very sticky. And, perhaps, a little runny. Add 1/2 cup of white flour and keep mixing. Then add a second 1/2 cup of white flour and possibly a third 1/2 cup of white flour. The dough should be very stiff and very sticky. (How many more times can I say the word sticky in this post?)
At this point a picture would have been a good idea. Dang it.
After kneading your dough for about five minutes, place it in a warm place and let it rise for an hour. Supposedly you’re supposed to cover it with a towel, but I never do.
After an hour, liberally sprinkle your counter with flour. Then punch down the sticky, sticky dough and scrape it onto your prepped area. Sprinkling more flour on top of your dough, knead it by hand for a minute.
Divide the dough into sixteen equally sized pieces. Form a ball by pulling the dough underneath itself. Place these balls on a greased cookie sheet, leaving ample space between. Look! A picture.
Let the dough rise for fifteen minutes, while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees and get your pretzel bath all ready.
For the pretzel bath mix 7-8 cups of water with 1 tablespoon salt and 4 tablespoons of baking soda. Bring to a full and rapid boil. (Seriously, the more this thing is foaming, the better your rolls will taste.)
Working in batches of three AND using a big slotted spoon, place the dough balls in the boiling water for one minutes. Turn them over after thirty seconds so they can poach evenly on each side. Look! Another picture.
Don’t let the fact that these things look like flabby snot make you despair. This is how they’re supposed to look. Trust me. I’m a pretzel roll professional now.
After one minute remove the dough balls with your slotted spoon and put them back on the cookie sheet. They will have grown slightly. Move on to the next three dough balls.
After all the dough balls have been poached, take a sharp serrated knife and make two cuts in each ball of dough. These slits will let the roll expand and turn beautiful in the oven.
Sprinkle each roll with salt (coarse sea salt would, of course, be best. I don’t have any so regular table salt is how I roll.)
Then place the two cookie sheets in your preheated oven for about 24 minutes. (Half way through I trade the cookie sheets places so that they can cook evenly.)
When they are done they look like this:
So fancy, so delicious, so wonderful. (Although my amateur photos don’t do them justice.)
We have used these pretzel rolls as hamburger buns and as something to dip into soup on a cold day. On Superbowl Sunday we will use them to make cold cut sandwiches. If you want smaller pretzel rolls for an appetizer, simply make the dough balls in a smaller size.
I’ve stored these beauties in the fridge overnight, but they’ve never lasted for more than two days. So, I’m not sure how well they’ll store or freeze. Maybe someday they’ll last longer and I’ll find out.
But I doubt it.