A couple of years ago, my friend Michelle turned me onto Simple Things in West Hollywood and it's been really hard to stay away ever since. They have these delicious little bite-size pies and the location is really convenient for a mid-day lunch when I am out prepping, but my real addiction is with their pretzel roll. They serve a pulled chicken sandwich with chipotle barbecue sauce on the softest, most perfectly salty pretzel. On Monday, we shot a picnic inspired post for Hayneedle (remember our first Hayneedle post?) and I was determined to try my hand at these little numbers. (We made them into BATs-- Brie, Avocado, + Turkey). These pretzel rolls right out of the oven might just ruin you for normal bread! I have already been thinking about all of the ways I can use them: bread bowls for soup, pretzel croutons-- the options are endless! Added bonus: Your whole house will smell like an Auntie Anne's.
Yield: 14 small rolls or 8 large sandwich size rolls
1 ½ cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
5 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
4 cups bread flour (full disclosure, I used regular flour because I didn't feel like running out to the store and they turned out great!)
1 tsp. canola oil
3 quarts water
¾ cup baking soda
Coarse sea salt
Spray 2 sheet pans liberally with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
Oil a bowl with canola, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Bring the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat and add the baking soda.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 or 14 equal pieces (depending on the size you would like) and roll each into an even ball. Place each piece onto the sheet pans.
Boil the rolls (or pretzels or pretzel bites) in the water/baking soda for 30 seconds each, moving around and splashing up onto the tops of the rolls. Remove from the solution and place back onto the baking sheets. Sprinkle the tops liberally with coarse sea salt and then cut an “x” into the tops of each roll. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-16 minutes, watching closely at the end so that they reach the desired brown color, but don’t burn.
Pretzel recipe adapted from Bobby Flay