the innards of a sandwich naturally get the most
attention, stacking them inside a strikingly
contrasted pretzel bun doubles the pleasure.
say beauty is skin-deep like it’s a bad thing.
the burnished dermis of pretzel bread, a hot dining trend in
the burger world, but also a resurgence of artisan
technique. While the innards of a sandwich naturally get the
most attention, stacking them inside a strikingly contrasted
pretzel bun doubles the pleasure. Remember: We eat with our
pretzel-like mahogany crust comes from giving each bun a
quick dip in a baking soda bath. The real beauty, however,
emerges from a few quick slits across the top into the
interior dough which, never exposed to the baking soda,
retains a creamy white color as it bakes.
resulting contrast makes a gorgeous crust that also tastes
great, thanks to the particular tang of the soda dip.
we love you, we’re looking out for your well-being by
using baking soda instead of the traditional lye. Few home
bakers enjoy donning safety glasses and rubber gloves and
cranking up the ventilation system just to put dinner on the
table, which is what lye requires.
essential science remains the same: Lye and baking soda are
both alkalines, but lye has far more corrosive qualities.
Food-quality lye may be ordered online, but it’s pricey
and still requires safety measures.
using a simmering baking soda bath offers an unexpected
benefit: Once all the dough is dipped, slit and popped into
the oven, pour the hot soda water down your sink’s drain
for a quick, easy cleansing.)
bread dough can be used for a variety of sandwiches. We like
it in a smaller "slider" shape, which we’ve
filled here with corned beef, Swiss cheese and Thousand
Island dressing. To bring this Reuben into spring, we
replaced the sauerkraut with the crunch of lightly dressed
coleslaw. You’ll get 16 sliders from this recipe.
dough also can be made into burger-size buns (you’ll get
eight) and terrific beds for hot dogs or brats (again, think
skip the sandwich stage and shape the dough into chubby
pretzel breadsticks — great for adding interest to a bread
basket, to munch with a cold beer or dip into melted cheese.
You should get about a dozen. (Keeping them just 5 to 6
inches long makes them easier to manage in the soda bath.)
the slashes, a razor blade (safest in a hardware-store box
cutter) makes the cleanest cut, but your sharpest knife
works, too. You can even snip the buns with a pair of
you use, the result will turn heads. As we make the turn
into the grilling and picnicking season, pretzel bread is a
tasty way to lend beauty to your feast.
16 sliders, 8 burger or hot dog buns, or a dozen
This recipe is adapted from allrecipes.com. For an even
chewier roll, substitute bread flour for all-purpose flour.
Instant yeast also is called rapid-rise or bread machine
tbsp. butter, softened
tbsp. brown sugar
tsp. (1 envelope) instant yeast
kosher salt for sprinkling
½ cup water, milk and butter in a microwave-safe container
and heat for about 45 seconds to melt the butter and warm
the milk. Set aside.
bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium mixing bowl, combine
flour, brown sugar, yeast, salt and egg yolk. Slowly begin
adding milk mixture and mix until dough comes together in a
shaggy mass. If it seems too dry, add a teaspoon of water.
Mix or knead until the dough is smooth and springy, about 5
bowl coated with cooking spray, place the dough, flipping it
over so the top is oiled, too. Cover with plastic wrap and
set in a warm place to rise until doubled, about an hour.
oven to 375 degrees.
out risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide
into equal pieces, depending on the shape you desire. To
make a tight bun shape, balance the dough on your middle
finger and pull the sides down and under, pinching to make a
smooth ball. Place each shaped piece of dough on a baking
sheet. Once all are shaped, cover with a clean dish towel
and set aside to rest.
another baking sheet with cooking spray, then sprinkle with
cornmeal. (The poached dough can stick to a baking sheet, so
using both oil and cornmeal matters. Don’t use parchment
paper; if you have a Silpat, life is good.)
the dough is resting, begin heating about 12 cups of water
in a large pot. When it comes to a gentle boil, slowly add
the baking soda. It will foam and bubble vigorously.
the rested pieces of dough to the simmering water, poaching
them for 30 seconds, then flipping them over for another 30
seconds. You may need to do this in two batches.
slotted spoon or spatula, lift and place poached buns on the
prepared baking sheet. Froth egg white with a fork, then
brush each bun with egg white. Using a box cutter or sharp
knife, make 2 to 4 slits across the top of each bun, about
¼-inch deep. Sprinkle with salt, then bake for 20 minutes
until deep brown.
on wire rack. Pretzel buns are best eaten the same day they’re
baked. If you need to freeze them, or bag them for the next
day, omit the salt sprinkle.
information per serving:
121; Fat: 2 g; Sodium: 316 mg
22 g; Saturated fat: 1 g; Calcium: 17 mg
3 g; Cholesterol: 16 mg; Dietary fiber: 1 g
exchanges per serving: 1½ bread/starch, ½ fat.