I made this pretzel recipe a while back courtesy of Mr. Alton Brown’s Homemade Soft Pretzels and decided it would serve wonderfully as a pretzel bun recipe. Shocker, it does. Here are step by step directions for it, along with a couple minor modifications I made.
There are so many options for these rolls, the first and most valid one being burgers, which is why I made them and why you should too. Or just go nuts and rip them open and slather them with cheese dip or perhaps…nutella? Maybe later we’ll talk about stuffing them before we bake them.
1 1/2 cups water (110°-115°)
2 tsp sugar (Alton uses 1 tbsp)
2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or one packet)
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour (22 oz)
Canola or vegetable oil for bowl
3 tbsp butter (Alton uses 4)
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp water
Pretzel salt or sea salt
Baking time: 15 minutes
Add your yeast and your sugar to a bowl.
Heat your 1 1/2 cups water to 110°. Save yourself a lot of annoyance and actually do this step. You are not a magical human thermometer, you cannot determine 110° through your fingertips. And if you ever have, trust me, you got lucky.
Add 1/2 cup of your water and gently stir. You can add all of your water but the yeast doesn’t need it and I like to get everything else going while these guys are proofing.
1 minute: If I don’t start to see movement from these guys after a minute or so I toss ’em, but then again I’m an asshole.
2 minutes: You guys are lucky…this time.
5 minutes: You can let them go for longer, but they’ve already kind of proven themselves to you haven’t they? HA. Get it? Proven. I’m funny.
Add your flour, salt, melted butter, remaining 1 cup water, and proofed yeast to a mixer. You can absolutely do this by hand, in fact sometimes I prefer to. When I make bread by hand I like to pretend that I’m a 19th century French lady baking in her kitchen who…specializes…in whatever I happen…to be making that day, which…today happens to be…pretzels. Whatever, I don’t judge your weird fantasies. You probably pretend you own your own cooking show and talk to an imaginary camera. See, I don’t do that.
Turn it on low and mix until the dough begins to pull from the sides.
Now turn the speed up to 2-3 (listen to your machine it will tell you when you’ve gone high enough) and knead for 5-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth.
A minute or so in.
There we go.
Pull your dough out of the bowl and wipe your bowl out (you don’t have to thoroughly clean it) and lightly oil it and your dough.
Shape your dough into a ball and put back into your oiled mixing bowl, cover with saran wrap. Shape into a ball by tucking the ends under while smoothing the top with the heel of your hand. Rest for 60 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.
60 minutes: Woops, somebody wasn’t paying attention to her dough.
Near the end of your rising, bring your 10 cups water + 2/3 cups baking soda to a boil and preheat your oven 450°.
Turn your dough out onto your work surface. No need to flour or oil, Alton recommends oiling your surface. I was like, “Eh, I don’t feel like it.”
Cut your dough in halves until you have 8 equal segments. Hey, Justin hands!
And again a couple more times.
The goal is to have them equal size, close enough Justin. 🙂
Now separate your pieces and flatten them out gently with your knuckles or fingers. I accidentally used the phrase “punch” when telling Justin what to do and he made a fist and started manly bashing the dough down with his fist. Just kidding, I just thought it would have been funny if he had.
Take your flattened dough and make it in ball by tucking the ends under and into the center.
Flatten your rolls with your palm gently.
Add one roll at a time to your boiling water for 30 seconds, tossing water on the top to ensure even coating.
Remove your rolls with a slotted instrument and place on a drying rack. Alton has you put them directly on the parchment paper, but the first time I did that and it caused the pretzels to stick. Brush with your egg wash making sure to get all the way around the pretzel.
Score (I use a razor) and sprinkle with your salt. I scored in a ‘x’ shape on half and three slits on the other half, the three slits turned out better for me.
Bake in a 450° for 15 minutes or until golden brown.