Ok, maybe my X slicing could be a bit more “perfect” on these buns. But clumsy knife skills aside, I tested this recipe multiple times, constantly tweaking it until I created exactly what I was seeking. These buns have a hard, chewy golden exterior coated in crunchy coarse sea salt and a dense and chewy but soft center. They are indeed perfect for serving as a dinner roll or slicing in half to use with burgers and sandwiches.
If you’ve never made pretzels before, the baking soda bath might seem like a weird step but don’t skip it. Baking soda causes something known as the Maillard reaction which gives the pretzels their traditional “skin” and flavor. Also, if you’re new to working with yeasted dough, Red Star Yeast has some excellent baking guides on their website with plenty of beginner tips.
- 1 cup warm water
- 2½ teaspoons Red Star Active Dry Yeast
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 14 ounces (approximately 2¾ cups) bread flour
- 1½ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 quarts water
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 1 large egg
- coarse sea salt
- Whisk together the water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow the mixture to proof for 6 minutes.
- While the yeast is proofing, whisk/sift together the flour and sea salt.
- Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together and then turn the speed up to medium-low and mix for 3 minutes. Turn the speed up to medium and mix for another 2 minutes.
- Form the dough into a tight ball and place into a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow the dough to double in size, approximately 40 minutes. Remove the towel and punch down the dough.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet. Using a kitchen scale, divide the dough into 8 3-ounce balls (one will be slightly under 3 ounces). Roll each ball tightly and pinch the bottoms. Place the balls pinched side down on the baking sheet, cover with a towel and allow the dough to rise for another 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bring the 4 quarts of water to a boil with the baking soda. In batches, cook the rolls for 30 seconds per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place onto a clean, greased baking sheet (do not use parchment paper or the rolls will stick).
- Whisk together the egg with a tablespoon of water. Brush the egg wash on top of each roll and sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt.
- Using a sharp knife, slice an X in the top of each roll.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Tools I Used
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More Yeast Recipes
Savory Simple – Sweet Potato Bagels
Savory Simple – Orange Cardamom Cinnamon Buns
Savory Simple – Whole Wheat English Muffins
Top With Cinnamon – Sourdough Crumpets
Adventures in Cooking – Croissants: Three Ways
My Name is Yeh – Pretzel Challah
Disclaimer: I was paid to develop a recipe for Red Star Yeast. As always, all opinions are my own.