DH told me the other day about an amazing bread he had while he was in Germany ( many, many moons ago). Granted, all bread in Germany is amazing — but he knew a specific bread. He told me it tasted like a pretzel, but was the consistency of a bread roll.
We live in “Pennsylvania Dutch” territory, so my automatic response was “Oh, a pretzel roll.” But no — DH said this was fluffier, thicker than the standard pretzel roll seen in Central Pennsylvania for sandwiches and such. (And he’s right — this definately has a lot more “bread-like” quality to it than the standard pretzel roll)
A few minutes on the internet with my (incredibly broken/picked-up-from-DH) German, I discovered several recipes for Laugen Brotchen — or Bretzel Rolls.
I chose this recipe arbitrarily — they were all pretty similar. These rolls are DELICIOUS. If you’re more creative than I, you can form them into little pretzel shapes before baking. I just scored the top of mine with an “X” and popped them in the oven. DH tells me the best way to eat these is warm, with lots of REAL butter….but I also think it would be amazing with some ham and cheese tucked in there and warmed. Or any meat and cheese, quite frankly! MMM!
Laugen Brotchen/ Bretzel Rolls/ Pretzel Rolls
Makes 12 rolls
1 1/3 cups warm water
2 tablespoons warm milk
2 1/2 teaspoons (approximately 1 small package) active dry yeast
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 cups all-purpose flour
kosher salt or pretzel salt
2 quarts (~ 8 cups) cold water
1/2 cup baking soda
– In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix 1/3 cup of the warm (105-115 degrees) water with the yeast and let stand until foamy (about 2-3 minutes for me)
– Add the remaining cup of warm water, the warm milk, melted butter, and brown sugar and mix to dissolve the sugar
– Attach your dough hook to your stand mixer, and slowly add the 4 cups of flour until combined. Continue using your dough hook to mix the dough until it forms a nice, firm dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl
– Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 2 minutes. Roll into a 2-foot long log and cut into 12 even pieces
– Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a damp cloth and let sit for 10 minutes (this step didn’t say if i should wrap each piece individually, or lay the plastic over all of them, or what. i laid the plastic over all of them, then the damp towel, and it worked fine)
– Pat dough into rolls, or form pretzel knows and arrange on a lightly floured surface, about an inch apart, and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for an additional 30 minutes (again — i just laid some oiled plastic wrap over the lot of them, and let them do their thing. they were fine)
– Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil 2 baking sheets
– In a large stockpot, bring the cold water to a rolling boil and add the baking soda
– Drop the rolls — one or two at a time — into the boiling water and boil for no more than 30 seconds, turning them over once. Carefully remove with tongs, spatula, or slotted spoon and hold above the pot to let drain
– Deposit boiled rolls into the greased baking sheet (6 per sheet) and sprinkle lightly with pretzel or kosher salt. Repeat with the remaining rolls
– Bake the rolls on the upper and middle racks of the oven for 8-10 minutes until brown all over — if necessary, shift pans from top to bottom and back to front halfway through, for even baking (I baked mine 1 baking sheet at a time to ensure consistency of color and cooking. I also turned the pan around halfway through. Mine also baked for 9 minutes)
– Let the rolls cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack
– Serve warm, or at room temperature
– I think these would make amazing sandwiches. I think I’d just split the top, tuck my sandwich ingredients in it like a pocket, and warm them in the oven — mmm!!!
– The hubby says these aren’t quite what he had in mind — he remembers them being denser, darker, and crustier. Having done a little more reading since I made them, I think this comes from the tendency of German bakers to use rye and wheat flours, rather than enriched, bleached flours. Perhaps next time I will experiment with a more whole grain flour and see where it takes me.
Edit: I’ve entered this recipe in Joelen’s Culinary Adventures blog event — Oktoberfest!