My husband loves hamburgers. He could eat them 3 or 4 meals a week. And while I appreciate a good burger, I need a little variety in my life. So, when he asked me to put hamburgers on my menu even though we had just had them, I started thinking about a way to mix it up a bit. I knew I wanted to make fresh buns. And that’s when I decided that I should make pretzel buns. I looked up Alton Brown’s very popular soft pretzel recipe and then adapted it to meet my needs. I swapped out some of the white flour for whole wheat flour and added a little honey just because.
After you have mixed your dough and let it rise, you’re going to want to shape your rolls. Surface tension is important. Divide your dough into 8 equal parts. Then, make a circle with the thumb and middle finger of your non-dominant hand. Use your dominant hand to press each piece of dough up through the circle. Then pinch the bottom edges together tightly.
I flattened mine a little so they were a more appropriate size for hamburgers. If you want to use these like dinner rolls, I’d probably cut my dough into 12 sections instead of 8.
The next step is where the magic happens. This is what turns these from dinner rolls into pretzels. In a soup pot, mix together water and baking soda. Bring it to a rapid boil. Drop your shaped dough into the boiling water and boil for 20-30 seconds per side.
Drain and place on baking sheets. Sprinkle with coarse salt and use a sharp knife to slash an x in the top of each bun. You can use an egg wash, but if you sprinkle the salt right after you take them out of the water, the moisture from boiling will make the salt adhere.
Bake these rolls in an oven preheated to 425* for 12-15 minutes. They’ll be deep golden brown and chewy deliciousness.
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon honey
1 package instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2-2 cups all purpose flour
5 cups water
1/3 cup baking soda
Combine the 1 1/2 cups warm water, honey and yeast. Let bloom for 5-10 minutes. Add salt, whole wheat flour and melted butter to make sponge. Let sponge rise for 30 minutes.
Using your dough hook, add all purpose flour to sponge 1/2 cup at a time. Dough will form a ball and clean the sides of the bowl. Knead 4-5 minutes. Cover and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425*.
In a small stock pot, stir together water and baking soda. Place over high heat and bring to rapid boil.
While water is coming to a boil, divide your dough into 8 equal parts. Shape each portion into a roll by pushing it through a circle made with your fingers and then pinching edges together tightly.
Drop formed rolls into boiling water and boil for 20-30 seconds per side. Drain and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt and score with sharp knife.
Bake at 425* for 12-15 minutes.