October draws to an end, but thoughts of my days at Oktoberfest from years gone by remain vivid in my mind. These rolls were not nearly as cute as I had imagined they would be, but they were very tasty.
Rustic Salted Pretzel Rolls
1 package dry yeast
4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 TBS sugar
1 TBS salt
1 TBS baking soda
In a big bowl mix together yeast, water, sugar and salt. Once yeast is dissolved, stir in flour. Lightly flour work surface and knead dough on the table until it is smooth. The dough should feel soft and smooth, not sticky to the touch. At this point there are two cooking options (1) shape dough into animal shapes and skip down to the the baking directions or (2) form into balls and continue with the directions as written.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Cut the dough into 8 pieces. To shape the dough take a piece of dough and start forming a round, smooth ball by pulling the sides to the center and pinching to seal. Place, pinched side down, on a counter and lightly cupping your hand around the dough ball, rotate your hand in small circles lightly rolling the ball around the palm of your hand.
Place the ball on the prepared baking sheet pinched seam side down, with at least 1-inch between each roll. Cover with a towel and allow to rest in a warm place for approximately 30 minutes until they rise.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place oven rack in the middle position. In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a low boil. Remove from heat and SLOWLY add the baking soda place back on heat and lower to a simmer. If baking soda is added too quickly, it will make a huge bubbling mess.
Place 2-3 of the rolls at a time into the poaching liquid, seam side down. Poach for 30 seconds and then carefully turn the roll over and poach for another 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon to the same prepared sheet pan, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rolls.
Using a pastry brush, brush each roll with the beaten egg, making sure to coat all sides completely and then sprinkle each roll with a little kosher salt. Using a sharp straight edged knife, cut a slash or an “X” shape in the top of each roll. Bake the rolls in the preheated oven.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned. Serve hot!