Pretzel Sandwich Buns are all the rage these days. You can’t turn on the television without seeing ads from all of the fast food restaurants offering their newest sandwich on a Pretzel Roll. And they are definitely a mainstay bun in all of those popular upscale gastropub establishments. It seems folks in Europe have known all about these Pretzel Rolls for years in, but they’ve only recently made their way over here to the US of A. So they do have a great Euro-chic vibe that most folks claim they don’t care about, but flock towards anything that has it in droves. But that being said, Pretzel Rolls also evoke some good old American “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” nostalgic vibe. Who doesn’t love a big old salty soft pretzel and a beer at the Ball Park? Seems these Pretzel Buns have it all going on. I just couldn’t resist jumping on the Pretzel Roll bandwagon and baking up a batch of them at home.
The results were stunning. Not only did these buns look professional, like straight out of the bakery. I tell you they were beauties, puffed up nice and plump, golden brown color speckled with bright white chunks of salt. But they were also really easy to make and they tasted amazing! The crust was chewy, yet a bit crisp, enticingly salty and the inside was soft and tender.
Yet this bun is sturdy enough to hold up to your biggest, juicy-ist burger ever! You could even make these rolls a bit smaller (say using 2 0z. of dough instead of 4 oz.) and serve them along with a bowl of soup or just in your bread basket with dinner. I can see what all the fuss was about. Jump up here on the Pretzel Roll bandwagon with me, there’s plenty of room, and bake up a batch of these today!
Pretzel Sandwich Buns
Recipe slightly adapted from: King Arthur Flour
1 3/4 cups warm water ( 95º F – 105º F)
2 Tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups (539 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (35 grams) nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 egg, beaten (for brushing)
coarse sea salt, for topping
For the water bath:
2 quarts water
1 Tablespoons (14 grams) salt
1/4 cup (57 grams) baking soda
Combine all ingredients for the dough (except for the egg) in the bowl of a standing mixer. Using the paddle attachment, turn on the mixer on lowest speed and mix until a shaggy dough forms. Turn mixer off and let dough rest for 5 minutes to fully hydrate the flour. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed, adding flour if needed, until a smooth, cohesive dough is formed, about 8 minutes.
Remove the dough from mixer bowl and allow it to rise in a lightly greased bowl, covered, for about 1 hour, until doubled. Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces. If you would like a smaller bun, you could divide the dough into 10 pieces. I use a kitchen scale to weigh the dough to ensure the buns are a uniform size. My dough pieces for this batch weighed 129 grams ( 4 1/2 ounces). Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Place the balls on a parchment covered baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap of a linen or cotton towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Prepare the water bath: Bring the water, salt, and baking soda to a boil in a large pot.
Drop 4 dough balls at a time into the water bath. Cook for 30 seconds, flip over, and cook for 30 seconds longer. Using a slotted spoon, return the buns to the baking sheet. Do not skip this step! The baking soda bath is the thing that gives these rolls their gorgeous deep brown hue and chewy crust! Brush the top of the buns with the beaten egg, then sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut 1/2″-deep crosses into the center of each bun.
Bake the buns for 20 to 24 minutes, or until they’re a deep-dark brown. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.
Pretzel Sandwich Buns brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )