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Monday, February 17, 2014

Soft Pretzel Rolls

Another week of blogging marathon starts from today and I had picked "rolled and baked dishes" for this week, during the theme selection. Honestly speaking, I had a very wrong notion about this particular theme. I thought it was literally using a rolling pin in the baking recipes and even selected my recipes. Just to confirm, I had mailed Srivalli. She must have laughed at my goofiness but the ever understanding lady returned back to me saying that she was looking for the "rolls" and not the ones using "rolling pin".
After knowing about what is expected, I decided on two of the recipes quickly. I was planning on sandwich rolls for the third one and had to do a lot of prep work just to decide which one. I was looking for some eggless soft rolls and definitely not the stone hard nightmares I get on those European international carriers whenever I travel.  
Croissants are something my kids love and I buy regularly and so the first thing that came to mind was these yummy rolls. However, after pondering a while, the amount of butter that goes into them started giving me jitters. I know it sounds lame but when you don't see with your own eyes what went into them, you can just pretend that it is not that bad for you and just buy. :) I gave up on the croissants' idea and started looking for something easily doable stuff. After searching over the internet for hours, I ended up staring at these soft, chewy pretzel rolls found here.
Honestly, I hadn't even heard about these rolls until I saw them at this blog. I know about the pretzels but definitely not the rolls. Usually I don't pay much attention to the bakery section at my local grocery stores, especially the rolls / buns. I buy whole wheat bread, pitas, croissants and sandwich buns without much thinking and so I must have missed these soft rolls so far.
A little wiki search tells me that these are baked specialty in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. They are also called as laugenbrötchen or lye rolls in Germany since they are glazed with lye solution before baking as in the case of pretzels. A baking soda wash will also provide the same effect and that's what has been used in this recipe. These rolls are used in sandwiches but we have enjoyed them with soup and salad. These rolls are on the dark brown side, going by the images in the virtual world but I ended up with a lighter version, I guess. Either I didn't bake them to the point where they attain that color or I could have gone with a little extra baking soda in the recipe. However it doesn't make any difference to the taste or texture of the bread. I halved the original recipe to make 10 rolls.
They taste best, fresh out of the oven. However 1 or 2 days old ones, warmed for a few seconds in a microwave taste just as good. And finally, I would like to mention that it is a very easy recipe that doesn't demand much time / attention from you. If I can do it, you can do it too.

Ingredients: (Yield 10 rolls)
1 & 1/2 tsp. instant yeast (rapid rise yeast)
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. oil
1 cup warm milk
3/4 cup warm water
3 & 1/2 to 4 cups all purpose flour (Use flour as needed. I had to use about 4 cups minus 2 tbsp. flour.)

For the soda bath:
6 cups water
1 & 1/2 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. baking soda

The dough can be prepared in an electric mixer or a food processor or by hand in a big bowl. I chose to go manually since the daily roti making ritual at home has made me enough skillful to prepare a dough under 5 minutes using just one bowl.
* Stir yeast, salt, oil, milk and water in a mixing bowl. Add initially about 3 cups of the flour to the milk mixture and bring it together working with your right hand. Scrape any dough sticking to the sides of the bowl. Then go on adding extra flour gradually as needed to form a soft dough that is not sticky to touch anymore. Do knead well for about 3- 4 minutes.
* Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with a plastic wrap or a lid. Leave it to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
* Mine was done in an hour.
 * Divide the dough into 10 portions (or more if you want it to be small sized rolls).
 * Shape each portion into a roll. Mel has even posted a tutorial on how to shape the rolls. I followed her method. If interested, check it out.
* Slightly flatten them at the bottom and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet with some space in between. Cover them with a kitchen towel or a plastic wrap. Leave them aside again to rest for 15 - 20 minutes.
* Preheat the oven to 425 deg F / 220 deg C.
* In the meanwhile, add water, baking soda and sugar to a large sauce pan and bring it to a boil.
* Before dropping them into water, the recipe suggests to carefully pinch the bottom seam of each the dough ball without deflating it. This helps the dough ball to keep the shape. I skipped this step and just flattened lightly after rolling, just before the 15 - 20 minute resting step.
* When the water is boiling, gently drop 3 or 4 dough balls into it. The balls come to the surface immediately. Boil for 30 - 60 seconds on each side. The longer you boil, the chewier your rolls would be. I did for around 35 seconds on each side.
* Gently remove each bun with a slotted spatula and drain. Transfer the boiled dough balls onto a lined baking sheet. Repeat the steps with the remaining dough balls. Don't worry if the dough balls look wrinkly at this stage. 
* Using a sharp knife, slash 2 to 3 , 1/4 inch deep cuts into the top of the unbaked rolls. If you are using coarse salt, you can sprinkle a little on each of the buns at this point. I hate the salt even on the pretzels and chose to leave it out.
* Bake them for about 20 - 22 minutes or until the rolls are deep golden brown.
This is going to be a part of BM # 37 under the theme of "Rolled and Baked Recipes".


nandoos Kitchen said...

lovely pretzels and very well baked dear.

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Delicious and lovely looking rolls. Wonderfully preparation.

Priya Srinivasan said...

Amazing suma!! looks so fluffy thru that cut!! :)

The Pumpkin Farm said...

this is nice and new recipe

Nalini's Kitchen said...

Soft looking pretzel rolls,sounds so delicious and makes me drool...

Manjula Bharath said...

wow so so soft and very delicious bread :)

Renu said...

They look very soft and spongy !

Chef Mireille said...

interesting interpretation of pretzel

Pavani N said...

I've seen these on King Arthur site and added them to my to-bake list. Your pretzel rolls have come out just perfect.

Sandhya Ramakrishnan said...

Such a lovely bun!

Sreevalli E said...

Lovely pretzel rolls..

Harini-Jaya R said...

very interesting method of making these rolls..

Padmajha PJ said...

Looks perfect!Would love to bake these