Friday, February 1, 2013

pretzel rolls

I made home made pretzel rolls recently to eat with our beer cheese soup. Needless to say, that's the kind of comfort food that requires comfortable pants- witnessed by my cowboy pajama bottoms. You can see Radar judging the from the corner of the kitchen.
I am not a good baker. I hate measuring things and one of the basic principles of baking is the measuring of ingredients because it's basically chemistry in the oven. I hate it. So things like bread, cookies and pies are more manageable for me because things don't have to be so precise that a few ounces more or less won't ruin the entire concoction.
This was my first attempt at making anything pretzel related, but I knew that soup needed a salty counterpart to dunk with. I went with a pretzel recipe that's in a cookbook given to me last year for Valentine's Day- you can tell how much I love cooking when my fiancee gives me a cookbook for a present and I don't get upset.
Bread is bread and it always (well almost) starts with yeast.
Letting your yeast proof until frothy wakes up the live cultures. I use all purpose flour when baking, but you can use bread flour if you want. Salt, sugar and flour make up the dough itself. Combine all these items with the yeast in your mixer with the bread hook attached, or combine by hand. Knead until smooth and elastic then allow to rise in a greased bowl for 40 minutes.
When risen, divide dough into 8 equal pieces and shape into smooth, round balls. Using kitchen shears or a knife, cut an slit onto the top of each roll. These will need to rise again for about 20 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and begin to boil your water in a large stock pot. When the water is boiling, at the baking soda and begin to drop the risen rolls a few at a time for 30 seconds on each side. Transfer these onto a cooking sheet covered in parchment paper. Dust with kosher or coarse salt.
Cook in your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until dark brown. Then it's time to eat. These are awesome dunked into soup, dipped into melted cheese or cut in half and served with ham and grainy mustard. However you eat them, just be sure to reheat them in the oven- reheating in the microwave makes them a little soggy.
Homemade Pretzel Rolls
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup hot water
8 cups boiling water
1/4 cup baking soda
Kosher or coarse salt

Add yeast to hot water and allow to wake up for about 10 minutes, or until yeast is frothy. In a stand mixer or by hand, mix together flour, yeast, sugar and salt until combine completely. Allow to rise for at least 40 minutes in a covered and greased bowl. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead again until smooth and elastic. Divide dough into 8 equal rolls. Cut slits into the top of each roll and allow to rise again for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and add water to large stock pot. When boiling, add baking soda- the soda will begin to bubble. Add a few of the rolls and boil for 30 seconds on each side. When all rolls have been boiled, sprinkle generously with kosher or coarse salt. Cook in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until rolls are dark brown. Enjoy!