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Pretzel Rolls

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After a bout of sickness after my daughter’s wedding I got ambitious. I tried to make homemade mozzarella cheese, curds and all, only to find out that you can’t get raw milk in NJ! I bought ready made curds and made it anyway, but that’s another blog entry. These rolls were part of my insane surge of energy that I channeled into a backyard barbecue for 12.
The recipe was adapted from a recipe I found on line (don’t remember where). I love pretzels, the soft kind you get in New York or Philadelphia. Getting them warm from the corner pushcarts in New York are a fond childhood memory.
My first taste of pretzels in roll form was in the German restaurant in Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida. It was amazing, I couldn’t get enough of them! Perfect combination of salt, crust and dough!
These are great as dinner rolls, burger rolls etc. You can also form them into the traditional pretzel shape.

1 1/3 c. warm water
2 T. warm milk
2 1/2 t. yeast
1/3 c. light brown sugar
2 T. butter, melted
4 c. all purpose flour
pretzel salt

2 qts. cold water
1/2 c. baking soda

1. Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix 1/3 c. warm water and the yeast. Let stand for about 5 minutes, it should be foamy.
2. Add the rest of the warm water, the milk, sugar and melted butter. Whisk to completely dissolve the sugar.
3. Add the flour and knead until it’s a firm but pliable dough. You can add a little flour or water, if necessary, but don’t add too much of either.
4. Turn out the dough and knead by hand on a lightly floured surface, for about 2 minutes. The dough should not be sticky.
5. Roll the dough into a 24″ log and divide into 12 pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for about 10 minutes.
6. Form the pieces into roll shapes, or knot or make into pretzel shapes. Place on a floured surface, 1″ apart, and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let sit 30 minutes.
7. Preheat oven to 425 F. Oil 2 baking sheets or use Silpat.
8. In a large pot, bring the cold water to a full boil and add in the baking soda. Place only 2 or 3 rolls at a time into the water and boil 15 seconds a side. Remove them from the water with a large slotted spoon, draining then into the pot.
9. While still warm sprinkle with the pretzel salt.
10. Arrange the rolls on the baking sheets, 6 to a sheet. Using the upper and middle racks of your oven for about 10 minutes, they should be a beautiful brown color. Make sure you switch the racks top to bottom and front to back halfway through for even browning.
11. Let the rolls cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks. The rolls will be quite soft, but they’ll firm up a little bit upon cooling.
12. You can serve them warm or at room temperature. They freeze well, just thaw them before you use them or wrap them in foil in packs of 6 and warm them in a 350 F. oven

Tips
1. Don’t be tempted to add to much water or flour to the dough otherwise they’ll be heavy or dry.
2. Use pretzel salt- it doesn’t melt. And always sprinkle on when warm. or it won’t stick.
3. Don’t crowd the pot the rolls will stick together.
4. You can get creative with the shape of the rolls. Use your imagination, enjoy!

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