From the moment I took a big bite of a soft pretzel at a baseball game when I was seven years old, I’ve been in love. That also happened to be the same baseball game where I sat in a bowl full of nacho cheese sauce and ruined my favorite white jean shorts that I rolled up at the knees. No wonder I like soft pretzels so much better than nachos.
Pretzels have since been a favorite snack of mine. A fat, fluffy pretzel coated with salt and dipped in mustard? Nothing beats it. Except maybe a fat, fluffy pretzel dipped in warm, smoked cheddar sauce. Or the cinnamon sugared version of said pretzels. The minute my teeth plunge into that spongy dough, I’m in heaven. Bring on the carb coma.
When I stumbled across TK member erinraatjes’s recipe for Pretzel Rolls, I immediately knew I had to try them. I’ve eyed a similar recipe by Alton Brown for months, and this gave me the push to finally test it out. All I could think of was bacon cheeseburgers on pretzel rolls and tuna melts of pretzel rolls and BLTs on pretzel rolls. And toasted marshmallows with chocolate sauce on pretzel rolls, but I’m a little scared to admit that out loud.
The rolls were everything I could have dreamed and more. They really are as easy as the recipe specifies and came out just as I hoped. Take a look!
You probably have all of the ingredients in your kitchen. Super easy and affordable, all you need is flour, active dry yeast, water, salt, sugar, baking soda, butter and one egg. How simple is that?
First combine the water and the yeast together, and let it sit until it gets foamy. It should take about 15 minutes.
Once you see some bubbles, it’s time to add the other ingredients.
Add the flour, salt, and sugar, mixing on low speed.
Add the butter, increasing the speed a bit to bring the dough together.
Once the dough looks like this, you’re good to go!
Place it in an oiled bowl and cover it with a towel, setting it in a warm place. I turn on my oven and set it on top for one hour. Since the oven is on, you might as well bake some cookies. That’s what I do.
After an hour, the dough will have risen and will look somewhat like this. Set it on a floured workspace and knead a few times. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, too.
Cut the dough into about 18 pieces that are 2 ounces each. I used my handy dandy kitchen scale to ensure all of the pieces were 2 ounces, but that really isn’t necessary. Just make sure they are uniform in size. Pull the sides up on each piece of dough and bring to the middle, pinching together to create a small ball of dough.
Flip the ball over, pinched-side down, and cup your hand over the dough, rolling it into a smooth ball between your hand and your workspace. It sounds complicated, but once you do it, it’s easy.
Set the dough balls on the baking sheet and cover them. Let rise for 30 minutes. I set mine on top of the stove again.
After 15 minutes, heat two quarts of water in a large saucepan until it comes to a boil.
Once the 30 minutes are up and your water is boiling, add ¼ cup of baking soda to the water and turn it down to simmer. It’s sort of like a science experiment. One that I finally didn’t fail.
Drop the risen rolls in the water for 30 seconds, and then flip for 30 seconds more. Remove with a slotted spoon and set back on the baking sheet.
Once all of the dough balls have taken a bath, brush each with some lightly beaten egg. You can also slice a little “x” in the top and cover them with salt.
Throw them in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. They may not look pretty now, but just wait until you see what happens.
Voila! Pretzel rolls.
Do they look too pretty to eat? I thought so too, but that didn’t stop me. What I love about these is that you can make them into whatever size your little heart desires. Quarter pound burgers? Done. Tiny sliders? Done and done. Easily customizable and incredibly delicious.
I’ve been dreaming about pretzel rolls ever since I had them at our local farmer’s market. They were so expensive, I was hesitant to buy them again. I’ve seen recipes, but this one is easy. WAY easy.
- 1-½ cup Warm Water (110°F)
- 1 package (1/4 Oz. Packet) Active Dry Yeast (not Quick Rise Yeast)
- 2 teaspoons Sugar
- 4-½ cups Unbleached All-purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
- ¼ cups Baking Soda
- 1 whole Egg, Lightly Beaten
- Pretzel Salt, To Sprinkle On Top
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water and the yeast and let rest 5 minutes until foamy.
Add the sugar, flour, salt, and butter; mix with the dough hook until thoroughly combined. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
Cut the dough into 18 pieces (2 ounces each). To shape, take a piece of dough and start forming a round, smooth ball by pulling the sides to the center and pinching to seal. Place, pinched side down, on a counter and lightly cupping your hand around the dough ball, rotate your hand in small circles lightly rolling the ball around the palm of your hand.
Place the ball on the baking sheet pinched seam side down, with at least 1” between each roll. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled.
Preheat oven to 425°F and place oven racks on the lowest and middle positions.
In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a low boil. Add the baking soda and lower heat to a simmer. Put the rolls into the poaching liquid, seam side down. Poach for 30 seconds then carefully turn the roll over in the liquid. Poach other side for 30 seconds then remove with a slotted spoon to the same prepared sheet pans, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rolls.
With a pastry brush, glaze each roll with the lightly beaten egg, making sure to coat all sides completely. Top each roll with a sprinkle of pretzel salt. With a sharp straight edged knife, cut a slash or “X” in the top of each roll.
Bake the rolls in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.
Jessica Merchant is a personal trainer turned food writer and blogger. Her blog, How Sweet Eats, is where she proclaims her love for all things sweet, all things bacon, and everything else in between. She works her magic in her Pittsburgh kitchen, which she shares with her husband of 2 years.