Sunday, August 18, 2013

Pretzel Buns (and rolls and knots)

So, as promised in yesterday's update, here is the pretzel bun recipe that I made.  And I made it twice more today.  I will apologize in advance if this seems a little rambly, but it's late and it's been a long day and I still have dishes and a few other things to do before I can go to bed.  I may go back and edit this at a later date.

The recipe came in my King Arthur Flour Catalog, and since hubby likes pretzels in just about any form, I thought I'd give them a try.  I've made pretzels before.  I've attempted hard pretzels only once.  The taste was good, but they didn't look pretty.  They looked like something I'd pull out of my cat's litter box.  I had better luck with soft pretzels, but the other recipe I had used was a little more complicated.

So here is the recipe.  (Both through the link and written out here.)


  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast


  • coarse sea salt

Water Bath

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup baking soda


1) Mix and knead the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a smooth, slightly sticky dough.
2) Allow the dough to rise in a lightly greased bowl, covered, for about 1 hour, until doubled.
3) Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
4) Divide the dough into 10 pieces and shape each piece into a smooth ball.
5) Place the balls on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.
6) Preheat the oven to 400°F.
7) Prepare the water bath: Bring the water, salt, and baking soda to a boil in a large pot.
8) Drop 5 dough balls at a time into the water bath.
9) Cook for 30 seconds, flip over, and cook for 30 seconds longer. Using a slotted spoon, return the buns to the baking sheet.
10) Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut 1/2"-deep crosses into the center of each bun. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
11) Bake the buns for 20 to 24 minutes, or until they're a deep-dark brown. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.
Yield: 10 buns

So, that's the info on the recipe right from the website.

I put all the dry ingredients in my mixer and blended them.  I had melted the butter into the warm water so I didn't have to worry about it not incorporating it thoroughly.  Yesterday's batch mixed up perfectly as the recipe is written.  Both batches today needed a little more flour.  I can only assume it was due to an environment change (temp/humidity/etc).  After working with bread doughs, you get to know what to look for and when you need to make some adjustments.

And because I'm not big on potentially splashing boiling hot water on me (I've done it before and it hurt for quite some time), I used a spider spoon/strainer (like this) to lower the dough balls into the water bath one at a time.  I did not put them in 5 at a time because my 8qt pot was too small to work with them easily.  As soon as you put them on the baking sheet, sprinkle the salt on while they're still wet or else the salt will just fall off.

If you use two baking sheets, you must rotate them mid bake so that they brown evenly.

The three batches I made over the weekend made 10 buns, 12 hot dog rolls and 24 pretzel knots.  Pictures to follow.  The baking time seemed about the same for all the shapes.

We did burgers for dinner last night with home made french fries and pickled red onions (that I pickled a few weeks ago).

I'm still getting the hang of shaping hot dog buns.  Its why I usually make them lobster roll style.

The knots turned out to be my favorite thing.  They weren't difficult and they look great/fancy...

Until next time...

Happy Eating!

There's been a lot going on (not food related)

I know it's been a while since I've updated.  I believe my last update was in November.  I mentioned that there was stuff going on and some that I wasn't ready to share yet.

Well, that thing that I didn't want to share then was that I was pregnant again.  Elliott Cole was born May 15th after 36 hours of induced labor.  

He's now just over 3 months old and it's been a bit of an adjustment.  I just returned to work but my maternity leave was busy.  I wish I had been able to just enjoy being with the new baby, but unfortunately that wasn't the case.  At about 24 weeks pregnant, I had a spot removed from my skin for a biopsy.  The biopsy showed that the spot was the worst case scenario.  I had to face my biggest fear, and do it while pregnant.  The spot was melanoma and the shave biopsy did not get it all.

A month later I was scheduled for a surgery to remove more tissue and test the sentinel lymph node.  They removed all the primary melanoma completely, but one lymph node was positive.  We couldn't do anything else until Elliott was born.

So after he was born, the first step was to get a PET scan.  That was the most stressful thing I've ever been through.  It would tell us if and how far the cancer had spread.  The fact that it was in the lymph nodes meant that I was bumped up to stage 3.

All in all, my maternity leave allowed me to be paid for all my doctors appointments, scans, a second surgery and a few specialist consults.  The PET scan came back with just a few things to look at that turned out to be nothing.  My second surgery pulled more lymph nodes and they were all negative for melanoma. We're all pretty sure they removed all the cancer back in March. 

So, sorry for the serious update... But I'm ready to get back to the business of cooking and hopefully all that I will ever have to do again regarding the melanoma is just check to make sure it hasn't returned.

And I'll leave you with a current picture of the baby and hubby ... and a promise of a pretzel bun recipe tomorrow.