As big of a Dunkin Junkie as I am, I don't generally order food from Dunkin Donuts. I'll get a bagel with my coffee every now and again, but I'm usually just in it for the coffee. When they first introduced their French Roll sandwich line at our local spot, I did try the Ham and Cheese. It was good, but I prefer a French Roll with cheese or butter. I'm not big on crumbly sandwiches. Not long after that, they introduced a different sandwich on a Pretzel Roll, so every once in a while, I would order the Dijon Ham and Cheese on a Pretzel Roll. That was really good! Imagine my surprise to make an order one day and be told the Pretzel Rolls had been discontinued ... because they were getting too popular! :(
It was then that I decided I would try making them at home. I had made a batch of Ancho Chili Pretzel Bites with Lime Salt a few years back, and although they were fabulous hot out of the oven, I was a little disappointed at how soft they were after sitting for a while. I was expecting the center to be soft and chewy, but the outside to be "crustier."
I finally decided the other day to finally get around to trying a different recipe and making Pretzel Rolls and had to laugh when I pulled in the Dunkin drive-thru and noticed that they are now serving Pretzel Twists. Of course, I ordered one, but they were out!
I had the same issue with these rolls that I did with the Pretzel Bites. They have that great pretzel flavor and chew/pull to the center, but the outside is soft. I'm starting to wonder if that's the norm for homemade pretzels. In reading up, I found that many people use a food-grade lye, which affects that outer texture. I stuck with the more friendly baking soda solution for boiling the pretzels before baking. Any input on this would be appreciated.
4 1/2 c flour
2 t kosher salt
3 T sugar
1 pkg yeast (2 1/4 - 2 1/2 t)
1 1/2 c water
5 T butter
10 c water
1/2 c baking soda
1 T water
Canola or Veg Oil
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, with the dough hook in place, whisk together the flour and kosher salt
- Make a well in the center and pour in the sugar and yeast
- In a small pot, heat the water and butter until the butter is melted, then remove from heat and allow to cool to where you can comfortably hold your finger in it without being too hot
- Slowly pour the liquid into your mixing bowl with the flour, etc.
- Start the mixer on low to incorporate the liquid into the flour mixture, then increase to medium and let run for a good five minutes or so until everything is well combined and the dough pulls away from the bowl to form a nice ball
- Remove the dough and give the bowl a spray of PAM or a light coating of oil, then return the dough to the bowl, rolling to coat in oil, cover and let rise for about an hour
- In a large pot, combine the 10c water and baking soda and set to come up to a boil
- In a small bowl, whisk together the 1T water and egg yolk; set aside
- Line a baking sheet with parchment and brush with a light coat of oil
- Preheat oven to 450°
- Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured suface
- Divide the dough into 6 relatively equal portions and shape into sub-style rolls (I know, I should have spent more time to smooth mine out and make them prettier)
- Stage the rolls on the oiled parchment
- When the water comes up to a boil, keeping it at a steady simmer, boil the rolls, one or two at a time, for 30 seconds, then flip and boil them for 30 seconds on the other side and return to the tray
- Brush the rolls with the egg wash, then sprinkle with pretzel salt and add a few slashes across the top with a sharp knife or razor
- Bake 12-15" until nicely browned and you start drooling from how good they smell
NOTE: A spider (spoon strainer) comes in very handy for dropping these into the boiling water, then draining and returning them to the tray. If you don't have one, you can usually find them at the grocery store, but if you have an Asian market in your area, your best bet is to pick one up there since it will probably be a lot cheaper. You might end up with several different sizes for what you would pay for one at the grocery store. A spiders is great for frying as well. It's like a strainer with a handle.