Bavarian Pretzel Rolls

1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tsp honey
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp table salt
4 Tbsp butter, melted
2 quarts water
1/2 cup baking soda
salt (Pretzel or Kosher salt for sprinkling)

In a mixer bowl, add yeast and 1 1/2 cups warm water and let stand for about 5 minutes until it foams and smells yeasty.

Add honey, flour, salt, and melted butter. Mix with the dough hook until it forms a dough ball, about a couple minutes.

Cover and let rise about 1 hour. Punch down and turn ball out onto a lightly floured counter.

Roll dough into a “rope” and cut into the approximate sizes you want your rolls—about 12-16 rolls. Shape into rolls.

Put the rolls on 2 parchment lined cookie sheet or two. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 425 (use the convection setting if you’ve got it) and set 2 quarts of water to boiling.

When water is boiling, slowly (carefully!) pour baking soda into the water.

2 or 3 at a time (don’t crowd the pot), poach the rolls in the baking soda bath. About 30 seconds in the water, then remove with a slotted spoon or spider. Place back on cookie sheets.

Sprinkle with pretzel or kosher salt while still damp. Score tops with an X. (As you’ll see below, this really only attempts to persuade the pretzels—they basically expand whichever way they want to.)

Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes. Rotate cookie sheets top to bottom and back to front halfway through baking.

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