I am so happy that I watched this quick video that popped up on my Facebook feed. I usually skip through the videos and do not bother with them. But when the video of this crusty, dark, salt-speckled beautiful Bretzel Rolls came on my screen, I couldn’t resist watching it. After watching the whole video, I vaguely remembered making something similar. I had made Bagels (years back) using the same procedure of baking soda bath. Back then, when I was a newbie in baking, the whole process was very intimidating. I thought it was so much work, that I decided to not try them again at home and just buy.
After trying out something similar this time with the bretzel rolls, I was convinced that practice makes everything easy and we do get better at it. This time around I was at ease the whole time. I am now definitely going to try to make those bagels again and update my old posts with some new pictures.
Coming to this Bretzel Rolls recipe, it is very similar to the German pretzels except for the shape. I still have not made pretzels at home (never felt the need of it, since we eat it quite often at our favorite Auntie Anne’s pretzel store). After seeing these beautiful rolls and tasting them, I realized that I got to make the pretzels at home now. These bretzel rolls have such beautiful color and texture to them that I couldn’t stop with eating just 1. The color and texture can only be attained if we immerse them in the baking soda bath. Traditionally, they used lye solution to the immerse the rolls, but since the procedure is dangerous to try at home, we have now adapted to the baking soda bath method.
Few notes of wisdom, before I get to the recipe for the bretzel roll. The baking soda bath can catch you by surprise if you have never tried one before. Once we add the baking soda to the boiling water, the water just bubbles up vigorously for few seconds. It is very important that you use a tall pot with enough room in the top for the water to boil over. In spite of using a large pot, mine did spill out a bit, but no worries. This gave me a chance to deep clean my stove.
The dough for the rolls itself does not have much salt. So be generous when you sprinkle the salt on top of the rolls. Even better, next time I am going to add enough salt in the dough when baking.
Last but the most important one, do not store the leftover rolls covered or in a box. They become soggy and the salt starts to melt off. Leave the rolls uncovered on the counter top for up to 2 days, but please do not store them covered or wrapped!
Preparation time – 20 minutes plus about 1 hour of inactive time
Baking time – 10 to 15 minutes per batch
Difficulty level – medium
Recipe adapted from – Amanda’s Cookin’
Ingredients to make Bretzel Rolls – Makes 12 rolls
- Warm water – 1 + 1/3 cup
- Warm milk – 2 tbsp
- Butter (melted and cooled) – 2 tbsp
- Active dry yeast – 1 sachet or 2 1/4 tsp
- Brown sugar – 1/3 cup
- All purpose flour – 4 cups
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Coarse salt – to sprinkle on the rolls
For the Water bath –
- Water – in a large pot
- Baking soda – 1/2 cup
Procedure to make the Bretzel Rolls –
To make the dough –
- In a large bowl or in the bowl of the stand mixer, add 1/3 cup of warm water and yeast and mix to combine. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until foamy.
- Add the remaining water, brown sugar, salt, milk and butter to the yeast mixture and mix well. Slowly add the flour, 1 cup at a time and mix the mixture until soft dough forms.
- Switch to the dough hook and start kneading the dough until it forms a smooth dough.
To shape the rolls –
- Weigh the final dough and then divide it into 12 equal pieces.
- Shape the pieces into a smooth roll and then place them in a parchment lined or greased baking sheet. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and then a damp towel and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, using a sharp knife, make a quick score on the rolls in the shape of a cross. Make sure you make a swift and a slightly deep cut with a sharp knife.
- Now cover the rolls again and let it rest for about 30 to 45 minutes or until they have sort of doubled in volume.
Baking Soda Bath –
- In the meantime, heat a large pot with about a gallon of water.
- Once the water boils, add the baking soda to the water. At this time, the water will bubble up vigorously and then settle down.
- Now slowly add 2 rolls at a time into the water bath and let it cook on each side for about 15 seconds.
- Remove the rolls with a slotted spoon and arrange them back in the baking sheet.
- Sprinkle generously with coarse salt. Repeat the same with the rest of the rolls.
Baking the rolls –
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425 F.
- Once the rolls come out of the baking soda bath, bake them for 10 to 15 minutes or until the top is dark brown and the rolls sound hollow when tapped at the bottom. It took me about 12 minutes.
- I had placed two trays in the oven and I switched the position of both the trays once in between to ensure even browning.
- Once the rolls come out of the oven, cool them on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.
- Never store these rolls covered or in a box as they tend to become soggy. Leftover rolls can be stored uncovered in room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
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