I got the idea for a nice sandwich roll or a bun, with a chewy pretzel-like exterior from King Arthur Baking They looked so good that I just had to try them.
I shaped mine into long rolls, but round buns would be very good too.
The main thing with these rolls is that to achieve the pretzel-like chewiness the shaped dough needs to be boiled for a short time in a solution of water, baking soda and some salt. Then, when baked, the rolls will take on that familiar colour and chew of the exterior of a pretzel.
As with all yeasted dough recipes this one takes quite some time, as the dough has to proof for a while before being shaped. And, although the shaped dough needs to be boiled to achieve the desired crust, it is actually quite a straightforward recipe.
My rolls turns out very well indeed. I was most impressed by the texture and the flavour and enjoyed them, filled with ham and salad, for a very nice lunch.
For the dough
- 540g(3 2/3 cup) Bread flour – based on scooping packed flour 150g per cup
- 397ml (1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp) lukewarm water
- 28g(2 tbsp) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 28g(1.4 cup) powdered milk
- 5 g(3/4 tsp) salt
- 8g (1 packet) instant yeast
- sea salt/ rock salt for sprinkling
For the solution:
- 1.8 litres (2 US quarts) water
- 57g(1/4 cup) baking soda
- 14g(2 tsp) salt.
- Into the bowl of a stand mixer(you can do this by hand) place the water, yeast and butter.
- Sprinkle the powedered milk over those ingredients.
- Add the flour and then, finally, the salt.
- Mix on a slow speed until the mixture becomes a smooth, slightly sticky dough( I kneaded mine for 11 minutes)
- Remove from the bowl and form into a ball, using lightly floured or oiled hands.
- Place into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof in a warm place for about an hour, until it has doubled in size.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knock out the air.
- For long rolls divide equally into 8 pieces(for round buns divide into 10).
- Flatten each piece into a disc about 6 inches in diameter.
- Roll up into a log shape, pinching the seams together.
- Place each roll onto a dry surface and drag the roll towards you, using your hands on the back of the dough to create some surface tension.
- Place on a lightly greased baking tray(or on lightly greased parchment paper on the baking tray) and cover with plastic wrap for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C/400F.
- Boil the water with the baking soda and salt.
- Place the shaped rolls, into the boiling solution( I did them individually but you can do more than one at a time if your pan is large enough).
- Leave the dough in the water for 30 seconds, and then flip it over for a further 30 seconds.
- Carefully remove, draining excess water, and place back on the parchment/baking tray.
- Take a very sharp knife and make three quick cuts into each roll.
- Sprinkle with some sea salt and sprinkle over the top.
- Bake in the oven for between 20 and 24 minutes until they have turned a nice dark brown colour.
- Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.