How cool was it, then, when Food Network Magazine showed up in my mailbox, late – AGAIN! – tho’ that’s not the reason I cancelled my subscription – with a Guy Fieri recipe for home made pretzel rolls? Of course, I had to try them.
Mine turned out a tad darker than the roll featured in the magazine (tho’ I think I have a fix for that) but they were still well worth the time spent, even when you include cleaning up after the eruption (!), but more about that later…
•1 tbsp active dry yeast
•2-3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
•1 tbsp sugar
•1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling – I used coarse sea salt
•Vegetable oil, for the bowl
•1/3 cup baking soda
Put 1 cup warm water (110º to 115º – hot from the tap) in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside to bloom, 5 minutes – this is COOL! The yeast sank to the bottom, and, at EXACTLY five minutes, it popped back up to the top of the water, looking a LOT like a flower blooming (just in case, tho’, I added a second five minute rest to see if it foams a bit as well, it didn’t, but no harm seemed to be done).
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture and mix with the dough hook on the lowest setting until the dough comes together. Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix until the dough is elastic and smooth, about 8 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball, place in a large oiled bowl and turn the dough to coat it with oil. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest in a warm place until doubled in size, 30 to 35 minutes. Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat, coat generously with cooking spray and set aside – hmmm – I missed that foil bit – THAT’S where I went wrong – oh well, next time I’ll remember.
Punch down the dough, then turn out onto a floured surface. Knead just until the dough is smooth and springs back when poked, about 1 minute.
The recipe calls for dividing the dough into four pieces and forming into 5-by-3-inch oblong rolls; I went with dividing into EIGHT pieces forming them into rounds. Place the rolls on the prepared baking sheet and cut four 2-inch diagonal slashes across the top of each. Cover with a damp towel or cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425º and bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat.
NOTE: I took ‘large saucepan’ to mean that my trusty Le Creuset Dutch Oven would be up to the job, and it was, except for the eruption (!) – see the next paragraph for that. NEXT time, I plan on using my 8 quart tall stock pot.
Stir the baking soda into the boiling water (it will foam up slightly). SLIGHTLY!?! Slightly my Aunt Fanny! Only if by ‘slightly’ they meant that I would get a bubbling foam that would have more than impressed my fourth grade colleagues during my volcano demo back in the day. Go for the large AND tall pot.
Bake the rolls until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheet.
Since I had made eight smaller rolls, I divided mine between two baking sheets so as not to crowd them; baked one sheet all the way through, and then the other. NEXT time, I will remember to use foil in stead of parchment paper; AND – I think I’ll do both sheets of rolls at once – one on the upper rack, one on the lower, and rotate the sheets after five or six minutes.
All in all, these were well worth the spewing foam (and subsequent stove-top clean up) – and were truly a mighty-fine delivery device for our loaded burgers and pimiento cheese.