This is an excellent recipe to start with if you’re still afraid to use yeast – it couldn’t be easier. And believe it or not, these actually taste like soft pretzels. Salty, chewy, tender and very satisfying. No kneading, no stress-- just a peaceful time of waiting and watching. Yeast is such a mysterious ingredient. There’s nothing like that earthy smell wafting up from the yeast and warm water…… How can that turn into bread???
I read about this recipe on Opera Singer in the Kitchen. (Noelle is a fellow Michigan blogger) on the Monday after Easter and decided to make these to serve with my leftover Easter ham….. so glad I did. The fried egg was Tim’s idea.
You can follow the vegan recipe on Noelle’s site or the one I used on Tasty Kitchen.
Here’s what you need:
1 ½ C warm water (110 degrees F. I actually used my candy thermometer)
1 package Active Dry Yeast (not Quick Rise Yeast)
2 teaspoons sugar
4 ½ C unbleached all-purpose flour
2 t Kosher salt (this seems like too much, but it was very nice - Remember, Kosher salt tastes less salty than regular table salt, so adjust your amount down if you use table salt. Kosher salt also measures differently than table salt because of its larger crystals.)
4 T melted unsalted butter (I suppose you could use salted butter and cut down on the amount of salt you add)
¼ C baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten
Sea salt to sprinkle on top
Here’s what you do:
Place the warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer, add the yeast and wait about 5 minutes until the yeast is frothy and ‘alive.’
In the meantime: whisk together the sugar, flour and salt. Melt the butter. Beat the egg and set aside.
When the yeast is a bit ‘foamy’ add the dry ingredients in small amounts, mixing well. Add the melted butter and egg and mix well with the hook attachment until it looks like this:
Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch down and turn out onto a floured board. Cut into 16-18 pieces; shape into balls by pinching, coaxing and rolling. You have to sort of pull the sides down to the bottom and pinch it together to seal. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets.
Now the strange part: Boil 2 quarts of water. When bubbly, add the baking soda……. It’s like a science experiment. Lower heat to simmer.
Add the ‘dough balls’ carefully to the simmering water and poach them, seam side down for about 30 seconds. Turn them over and do the same for the second side. Remove them with a slotted spoon to the same prepared parchment lined baking sheets.
Glaze each roll with lightly beaten egg wash – make sure to coat completely. Top each roll with sea salt (or pretzel salt). Cut a cross shaped slash in each roll with a sharp knife. Bake in 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
These were totally fantastic – I recommend them to all of you – try your hand at making these today – it was not difficult and the end product was excellent!