I had never eaten a pretzel roll until I found my way to Wisconsin.
It showed up on my plate, encasing big, juicy burger. A bun that tasted like a pretzel and looked, well, slightly pretzel-ish. Upon my questioning, every native Wisconsinite around me was astonished that I had never seen, much less heard of, a pretzel roll.
And let me tell you, after that first, delicious pretzel roll experience, I haven’t stopped craving that dense, chewy dough and beautifully browned, salty crust.
We had the opportunity to introduce my family to the delicious wonder that is a pretzel in roll form this past weekend when they came to visit.
Their response was similar to my own.
“And… here we have, some kind of… roll?” Followed soon by, “What!? They’re really good,” as my brother helped himself to another.
Tim and I just smiled.
Soft pretzels really aren’t difficult to make, but they do require a bit of attention for the poaching of the dough. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t turn out the way you hoped. They can be a bit nuanced, and we have found that things like this are always simpler the second time around.
The roll form is a bit easier than your classic twisted soft pretzel though, since you don’t have to worry about shaping and keeping the perfect pretzel form.
That in mind, if you’ve never made soft pretzels before, I would recommend starting out making pretzel rolls, just to get your hands into the dough and to try out the poaching process.
- 4 c + 2 Tbsp flour
- 3½ tsp active dry yeast
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1¼ – 1½ c warm water (110F)
- 8 cups water
- ¼ c baking soda
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp butter, melted
- Coarse salt
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, yeast, salt and sugar.
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, and add warm water a ¼ cup at a time, mixing well with your hands, until the dough comes together.
- Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 7-10 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
- Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- When dough has doubled, punch in down and knead a few times. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Place balls onto a sheet of parchment or wax paper, about 2 inches apart. Cover with a damp towel and let rise until doubled – 20-35 min.
- Ten minutes into the dough’s rising time, start the 8 cups of water boiling in a large stock pot.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Once dough has doubled in size, add baking soda and sugar to the boiling water. (Do this carefully, as the baking soda will fizz up considerably.)
- Adjust heat so that the water maintains a gentle simmer.
- Add a few rolls to the water at a time, making sure there is enough room in the pot that they do not touch.
- Poach dough 30 seconds on each side.
- Remove dough from the water with a large slotted spoon. Let as much water drain back into the pot before placing the rolls on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Once all rolls have been poached, cut an X into the top of each roll using a serrated knife. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt.
- Place rolls into the oven and bake 25 minutes, until nicely browned.
- Let rolls cool on a wire rack.