One of my favorite things to do in middle school was paint my fingernails. I almost had an obsession with buying different colors of polish from Claire’s and painting my fingernails in a new color or a new combinations of colors multiple times a week. This was also the time in my life when I had braces, was obsessed with Mariah Carey and my friends and I would meet at the mall every weekend to “hang out.” I can tell I’m old because the thought of “hanging out” at the mall makes me want to curl up in a ball. Seriously, it sounds awful.
The only un-awful thing about being a mall rat is the mall food. Can we all agree that it is terrifyingly delicious? I mean, Sbarro pizza slices as big as my head? Yes, please. A classic Orange Julius? Every single time. Greasy loose-meat sandwich from Maid Rite? Count me in. But my favorite mall treat of all was a giant, soft, buttery, salty pretzel with (so artificial it makes me cringe) cheese dip. From Pretzel Maker, I might add. Not a fan of Auntie Anne’s.
Anyways, while I haven’t had a giant mall pretzel in years, I was introduced to pretzel rolls at a restaurant Marc and I recently went to and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how delicious it was, which is how Mission: Make Pretzel Rolls got started. I started with my recipe research and a found a couple of recipes I thought looked good, and realized some used all-purpose flour and some used bread flour. I figured since I was making a sort of bread and had bread flour on hand, I should use the bread flour. I also read that bread flour can yield a chewier product, which I felt was appropriate for the pretzel rolls. However, the recipe I adapted mine from used all-purpose so I think you could use all-purpose and your results would be similar.
The exciting part in this recipe (for me at least) is the part where you boil the rolls in baking soda water. This is what gives the pretzel rolls that signature chewy crust and also its distinctive flavor. So definitely do not skip this part!
Marc and I absolutely loved these salted pretzel rolls. We used them for hot turkey and cheese sandwiches and also made beer cheese dip to dunk them in. They are definitely better the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container for 1-2 days. I don’t think you’ll have a problem with them lasting that long, though!
Like this recipe? Then you’ll love these, too:
Butterscotch and Pretzel Blondines
- 1 1/2 cups warm water 115 degrees F
- 1 package 1/4 oz packet active dry yeast (not quick rise)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 4 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- sea salt for topping
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast and sugar and let rest 5-10 minutes until foamy.
- Add the flour, salt, and butter; mix with the dough hook until thoroughly combined and dough no longer sticks to sides.
- Brush large bowl with olive oil, then place dough in bowl.
- Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
- After an hour, punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Cut the dough into 12-14 pieces.
- 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.
- Roll in your hand to smooth top (un-pinched) side.
- 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 pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a low boil.
- Add the baking soda sloooooowly (if you add too fast it will overflow)and lower heat to a simmer.
- Put the rolls into the poaching liquid, seam side down.
- Boil for 30 seconds then carefully turn the roll over in the liquid. Boil 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.
- Brush each roll with the lightly beaten egg.
- Top each roll with a sprinkle of sea 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.
recipe adapted from The Misadventures of Myrtle Grace