This is a Saturday morning hanging-around-the-house kind of endeavor. You can throw the seven ingredient dough together pretty quickly then tend to other chores while the dough rises. There’s a bit of fiddling with the boiling water bath but that gets done pretty quickly too. The baking soda in the boiling water is what imparts that rich brown colour we love on our pretzel buns. After that just brush with egg wash, sprinkle on the salt and pop them in the oven. Twenty minutes later you have a batch of rich golden brown pretzel buns … slightly chewy on the outside and tender soft in the middle. We love using these buns when we make Sirloin Sliders or Turkey Sliders. They make a mighty fine little sandwich as well!
Ingredients for the Buns
- 6½ – 8 cups unbleached flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 T instant yeast (one small packet)
- 3 ½ cups warm water
- 2 T melted butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- Kosher salt flakes
Ingredients for the Pre-bake Water Bath
- 3 quarts water
- 1 T salt
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- Combine 6 cups of the unbleached flour, salt and instant yeast together in a large bowl. Reserve the rest of flour for later use.
- Pour the warm water into a measuring cup. The water should not feel hot – just slightly warm against the inside of your wrist. Add the melted butter into the warm water and then combine this mixture with the dry ingredients. The combined dry and wet ingredients will form a shaggy dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough becomes elastic and the surface of the dough develops a nice shine. You will slowly add the last of the flour during the kneading process. This will take about 8 minutes.
- Form into a nice ball and place inside a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Swirl the dough ball around inside the bowl to get it nicely coated with the oil on all sides. Make sure the bowl is large enough to accommodate the dough when it rises, as its bulk will double in size.
- Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let the dough rise. It will take about 1 –1 ½ hours to double. I usually put the rising dough inside my oven with the light on. The heat from the oven light creates a perfect temperature for rising dough.
- Punch the dough down and lightly knead to remove most of the air from the dough. Divide the dough in half and make 10 small evenly sized pieces from each half (twenty altogether). Form these pieces into rounded balls and place on parchment covered baking sheets. Each ball will make a perfect, slider-sized pretzel bun. Cover loosely using plastic wrap and set aside for about 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Prepare the pre-bake water bath by combining the water, salt and baking soda in a large pot and bring this mixture to a boil over high heat.
- Drop 5 or six balls into the boiling bath for 6 seconds, flip them all over and boil for another 6 seconds then remove from the bath using a large slotted spoon. Place dough balls back on the baking sheets leaving enough room around each ball so it can rise while baking without touching the other balls. Continue until all the dough balls have been processed in the boiling bath.
- Using sharp pointed scissors nip the top of each ball in a cross pattern.
- Brush the top of each dough ball with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the kosher salt flakes.
- Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 – 25 minutes. The buns will turn a rich brown colour when done.
Yield 18 slider sized pretzel buns