For the recent Superbowl I was asked to make some pretzel rolls to bring to the party we're going to. I made a batch for Christmas Eve which everyone raved about so I used the same recipe I found on the TFL website. I also couldn't help but try my own variation using my sourdough starter, pumpernickel flour and cheddar cheese.
I wasn't sure how they would turn out, but I do have to say they didn't dissapoint and rival the original. Come on....who doesn't like cheese?
These are not hard to make except for the food grade Lye bath they go into. Many people say you don't need to use Lye and can use baking soda. I have not tried baking soda yet since I still have plenty of the Lye. The Lye gives the pretzels a hard dark brown crust which is not easy to obtain with anything else. Feel free to use baking soda instead and increase the amount used versus the Lye.
Caution: When using the Lye make sure you wear gloves, long sleeves and protective eye gear. Also, never add Lye to hot water or it will bubble over and probably burn you.
Main Dough Ingredients for 10 rolls at about 110 grams each
145 grams AP Sourdough Starter at 65% or adjust flour and water accordingly
437 grams Bread Flour (KAF)
200 grams Dark Rye (also known as Pumpernickel)
5 grams Seas Salt or Table Salt
5 grams Diastatic Malt Powder
384 grams Water (80-90 degrees F.)
Cheddar Cheese cut into cubes (sorry but I forgot to measure the cheese)
Pretzel Salt (for topping only)
For Lye Bath (3.5% Solution
2 Liters of Cold water
70 grams Sodium Hydroxide Crystals
Add the diastatic malt powder to the water and stir. Add the flours in your mixing bowl and slowly add the water mixture. Mix for about 1 minute until combined. Cut your starter in pieces and lay on top of the flour mixture and cover and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour so the flour can absorb the water.
Next add the salt and mix for 4 minutes on low. Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl and do a couple of stretch and folds. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Do another stretch and fold in the bowl and let it rest another 10-15 minutes. Do another stretch and fold and let the dough sit out in the covered bowl for another 1.5 hours. Place the dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake the next day.
When ready to bake take the dough out and leave it covered in your bowl for 2 hours. Next divide the dough into around 10 pieces that are 110 grams each. Flatten each piece into a circle and place a piece of cheese in the middle and pinch the dough around the cheese. Next flip over and roll against your work surface while creating a tight ball. Place on a baking sheet and cover with either a moist towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray. Let it rest for around 60 minutes to about 1/2 proof.
While the rolls are proofing, fill a large stock pot with 2 liters of cold water. Measure out the Lye and slowly add it to the cold water. (DO NOT EVER ADD LYE TO HOT WATER). Cover the pot and bring it to a rolling boil and then shut off the heat.
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. When the rolls are proofed sufficiently, prepare to dip them for about 15 seconds in the lye bath upside down. Let them drain on a bakers rack over a cookie tray covered with a towel or parchment paper. After draining for a minute you can transfer them to a cookie/baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. You want to use a stainless steel cooking sheet as aluminum may react with the lye and peel. Note: do not ever use parchment paper as the rolls will get stuck to the bottom. I know this from experience and I had to cut off the bottoms of half the rolls I made.
When ready to bake, score each roll with an "X" on the middle and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Make sure you use pretzel salt if you want authentic rolls.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown and register about 185 F in the middle. Let them cool on a bakers rack until you can't wait any longer!
I actually couldn't wait long enough to try one which is why the crumb shot below is a little gummy looking. It tasted good though!