I am a huge fan of pretzel rolls. I honestly deem some restaurants as better solely on the fact that they have pretzel rolls on the menu (having sweet potato fries is also a huge plus). Jerry's, my favorite sandwich shop here in Chicago, serves over 100 different types of sandwiches, all of which can be made on a pretzel roll and they have sweet potato fries, can't beat that!
Last year I came across a recipe for pretzel rolls on Smitten Kitchen and knew I had to give them a shot. The first time I made the recipe I was pretty certain it would be a failure, everyone talks about how hard it is to work with yeast, my expectations were definitely very low. I was pleasantly surprised when they worked and tasted exactly the way they were supposed to. Plus they were incredibly easy and require only basic baking ingredients. I have made these about a half dozen times since then and every time they work. I am going to make a very bold statement and say this is a no-fail recipe, if you follow the directions, you will end up with perfect pretzel rolls!
** found on Smitten Kitchen, originally posted in Bon Appetite
Prep/Bake Time: 1 hour 30 mins
2 3/4 c. bread flour
1 envelope quick-rising yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 c. plus 2 T. hot water (125 to 130 degrees)
8 c. water
1/4 c. baking soda
2 T. sugar
1 egg white, beaten
Combine bread flour, envelope of yeast, teaspoon of salt and teaspoon of sugar in food processor and blend. With machine running, gradually pour hot water through feed slot, adding enough water to form smooth elastic dough. Process one minute to knead. Grease a medium size bowl. Add dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a towel. Let dough rise in warm area until doubled in volume, about 35 minutes.
Clear area of counter and sprinkle with flour. Lightly kneed dough on floured surface until smooth. Divide into 8 pieces. Form each piece of dough into a ball. Place dough on baking sheet, flattening each slightly, and then use a serrated knife to cute X in top center of each dough ball. Cover with towel and let dough balls rise until almost doubled in volume, about 20 minutes. While you are waiting for dough to rise, boil 8 cups of water in a large saucepan.
Preheat oven to 375. Grease baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Once dough as risen, add baking soda and 2 tablespoons sugar (water will foam up) to the boiling water. Add 4 rolls and cook 30 seconds per side. Use a slotted spoon to flip and then transfer the rolls to the prepared baking sheet, arranging X side up. Repeat with remaining 4 rolls.
Brush rolls with egg white glaze and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake rolls until brown, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes.