One of my favorite things to eat is homemade bread. For years I made two loaves of bread on Sunday for my kids' school lunches. One loaf was used for Monday and Tuesday and one loaf went in the freezer for the second half of the week. Friday was pizza day at school so that took care of that. I used my beloved Kitchen Aid to make bread. I had the attachment that ground the wheat berries. The newly ground flour was mixed effortlessly with white flour and the rest of the ingredients in the bowl. What an incredible little machine my Kitchen Aid was and is. Alas, the kids are grown so no more school lunches.
I am a little lazier and less motivated to grind wheat berries and make a couple of loaves of bread each week. But, I still love homemade bread! Now I have a bread maker. I make all of my bread in the bread maker. It has taken the mess and all of the effort out of the process. I simply put the yeast, sugar and warm water in the bottom of the canister and wait until it does it's bubbly thing.
Then I add the rest of the ingredients, set it to the 'Dough' setting and turn it on.
About an hour and a half later, I open the top and here is my lovely dough, ready to be formed into whatever my heart desires.
This recipe is for Pretzel Buns so the dough was divided into 4 equal parts and then formed into buns and left to rise.
The secret of Pretzel Buns, is the water bath. If you've ever made bagels, you know the drill. Dip the raised dough into a water bath before baking. The same process is necessary for these buns except the water bath has a hefty dose of baking soda added to the mix. After the buns have been dipped in the baking soda bath, cover with the egg wash, cut your cross with a sharp knife and sprinkle with coarse salt before baking.
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp sugar
1/2 C warm water
1 Tbl olive oil
1 C warm milk
1/2 tsp salt
3-1/4 C flour
3 quarts of water
1/4 C baking soda
1 Tbs water
Course sea salt
Place yeast, warm water and sugar in the canister of a bread maker. Let sit for about 10 minutes until the mixture is bubbly. Add the remaining ingredients. Set the mixer to the 'Dough' setting and turn it on. After the bread has raised to double it's size (the amount of time it takes to rise depends on the machine and the temperature in your home. I give my dough about 2 hours total time, to rise), punch down and remove from the bread machine. Form the dough into 8 small, 'dinner' rolls or 4 large 'sandwich' rolls and let rise until double in size (about 45 min to 1 hour).
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bring your water and baking soda mixture to a boil in a large pot. When the water is boiling, add the buns, 1 or two at at a time and let cook about 30 seconds on each side. Place the buns on a baking sheet. Whisk your egg and 1 Tbs of water. Brush the top with the egg mixture. Cut an X at the top of each bun with a very sharp knife. Sprinkle with course salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your rolls. They will be golden brown on top.