If you have followed my blog for any length of time you know that I love to travel and do so as often as I can. I’m always on a budget and a favorite meal and snack are the delicious sandwiches that can be found in every boulangerie in Paris. They fit neatly into a backpack or purse and are perfect for a quick picnic lunch on a day of sightseeing. We found similar sandwiches in Germany several weeks ago but, instead of them being made with baguettes they were made with soft, salt crunchy pretzel rolls…Laugenstange (pretzel sticks) in German. They were so delicious and I knew I could make the rolls at home because I have made a pretzel dough in the past that I used for RUEBEN PRETZEL POCKETS. Pretzel rolls are so popular now and you won’t believe how easy they are to make at home and how much better they are than store bought.
This yeast dough is so easy to handle. It has one 60 minute rising and is then shaped and simmered in a baking soda/boiling water bath for 30 seconds. The baking soda produces the rich brown crust that good pretzels develop as they bake.
These pretzel sticks don’t need fancy fillings. They are usually filled with a little bit of ham and/or cheese, veggies…simple ingredients. My favorite is Black Forest Ham, smoked gouda cheese, arugula and a little German Mustard.
I first found this recipe on my friend, Heather’s blog, GIRLICHEF. She made a ham, cheese and broccoli pretzel pocket that looked so good I had to try it. I turned it into a Reuben sandwich by substituting pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island Dressing for her ingredients…now one of my favorite sandwiches…and they freeze well too if you should have any extras.
- 1-1/2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees F)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)
- 4 to 4-1/2 cups all purpose flour, enough to make a soft dough
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- vegetable oil
- 10 cups water
- ⅔ cups baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Combine lukewarm water, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Let sit until the yeast starts to look creamy, about 5 minutes. Add flour, salt, and melted butter and mix until combined, then turn speed up to medium and knead until dough is just tacky and leaves the sides of the bowls, another 5 minutes or so.
- Form dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- While the dough is rising preheat oven to 400° F .Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Once the water is boiling, add the baking soda a little bit at a time (this keeps it from overflowing).
- Beat together the egg yolk and water for the egg wash. Set aside.
- Turn the dough out onto your work surface. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Use a kitchen scale for accuracy. Gently form the dough into hot-dog shaped buns with slightly tapered ends. Use as little flour as possible to form the rolls. ( I didn't use any additional flour)
- Carefully place each roll into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove from the water using a large slotted spatula and place on a baking sheet. Brush the top of the rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
- Bake the rolls until golden brown in color, 12-14 minutes, rotating pans if necessary halfway through baking. Cool on a wire rack.