My two year old son Adam is a very picky eater. So when he likes something and actually asks for it again it is a big deal! Long story short: he lately tried a pretzel roll and absolutely loved it! But I wasn't willing to keep buying it from the store all the time. Besides, I like to bake when it's cold out. I have tried a few different recipes, and after experimenting I found this one the best so far. I heard that in order to get the very true pretzel flavor and dark brown color people use a lye solution, which is a kind of a dangerous item to deal with! Well, I am ok to give my pretzels a simple baking soda bath that is just easy, because everyone has baking soda handy.
Here we go!
2 tbsp barley malt syrup or dark brown sugar
2 tbsp white sugar
4 tbsp melted unsalted butter
4 tbsp instant yeast
4 cups lukewarm water
11-12 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 tbsp + 1 teasp kosher salt
vegetable oil, for pan
Baking soda bath:
10 cups water
3/4 cups baking soda
1 large egg
1 teasp of water
Coarse sea salt (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly brush with oil. Set aside.
2. Combine lukewarm water, yeast and white sugar in a mixing bowl (or in a stand mixer bowl).
Stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Add in syrup or dark brown sugar, melted butter, salt and half of the flour. Mix well till mixture comes together at low speed (attach dough hook to mixer). Then keep adding remaining flour and knead at high speed for about 8-10 minutes, until smooth (you can knead by hands if you like). The dough is ready when doesn't stick to the walls of the bowl.
3. Remove the dough out and sprinkle the bowl with flour. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic and let it rise for one hour (or until doubled in size).
4. Bring 10 cups of water to a boil in a deep saucepan . Add baking soda (will foam) slowly and stir to dissolve. Turn the heat to low. In the meantime start working on your dough by turning it out onto a counter (sprinkle with flour) and cut the dough into equal pieces. Roll and shape each piece into a ball. Place them on the counter, cover with a damp kitchen towel and let it rest for about 20 -30 minutes.
5. Begin to dip the rolls into the baking soda solution (prepared earlier) only a few at a time, for about 30-40 seconds. Using a slotted spoon transfer rolls to your baking sheet. Continue until all the rolls are poached. Brush them with the egg and water mixture (egg-wash) and sprinkle with whatever you wish. A criss-cross is always nice on pretzel rolls. I score them with a sharp razor to give them that chic look:)
6. Bake the pretzel rolls for 12-15 minutes, rotating just once to get an even, dark brown color. Let them cool and enjoy!
Note: This batch makes 42 pretzel rolls. The recipe can be cut in half except the baking soda bath and the egg wash. You can also mix wheat and white flour like I did in this batch, half of each kind in accordance with the measurements.