I love soft pretzels. If I happen to be somewhere, like an amusement park, it’s hard for me not to get one. Heck, even going to Target can be dangerous if I’m hungry (since they sell them in their restaurant). Awhile ago I was at Whole Foods and saw a loaf of Pretzel Bread. Genious! A soft pretzel you can use to make a sandwich. I think I ate the loaf of it in a day. (Um, it was small, yeah, very small.) Needless to say, when I saw this recipe for Pretzel Rolls in Food Network Magazine I ripped it out so fast I think I got a paper cut. They are a little bit of work, but totally worth it. I served them for sandwiches, but they’d even be good just as themselves, with a little butter, or even some cheese spread.
Next time I make them, I’ll probably double the batch, so I’ll get 8 instead of 4. Because there were 4 of us having lunch that day and that meant I didn’t get to eat a second one. Such a pity.
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
Vegetable oil, for the bowl
1/3 cup baking soda
1. Put 1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees) in the bowl of a standard mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside to bloom, 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
2. Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture and mix with the dough hook on the lowest setting until dough comes together. Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix until the dough is elastic and smooth, about 8 minutes.
3. Form the dough into a ball, place in a large oiled bowl and turn the dough to coat it with oil. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest in a warm place until doubled in size, 30-35 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat (or foil), coat generously with cooking spray and set aside.
4. Punch down the dough, then turn out onto a floured surface. Knead just until the dough is smooth and springs back when poked, about 1 minute. Divide into 4 pieces and form into oblong rolls (make sure they are all the same size). Place the rolls on the prepared baking sheet and cut four 2-inch diagonal slashes across the top of each. Cover with a damp towel or cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees and bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. (Caution: use a very large pot for this. I recommend one of those large pasta pots. Once you add the baking soda it’s going to foam – a lot – and if your pot isn’t big enough it’ll foam over.)
5.Stir the baking soda into the boiling water (it will foam slightly, and continue to foam for the duration). Add 2 rolls and poach 2 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, remove the rolls, drain and place on the baking sheet, cut-side up. (I covered the baking sheet with paper towels to absorb some of the liquid.) Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining rolls.
6. Remove the paper towels, if you’ve used them. Re-spray the baking sheet with cooking spray, lifting each roll as you spray under it. Bake the rolls until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheet.
Source: Food Network Magazine/Guy Fieri January/February 2011
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