A couple of years ago, our family went to Disney World and ate at Le Cellier, a restaurant in the Canadian pavilion at Epcot. The steaks were fantastic, the dessert was amazing, but the part of the meal we couldn't stop talking about was the pretzel bread! I promised my family I'd find a recipe for it that I could make at home. This recipe is the closest one I've found. The outside is chewy and delicious, while the inside is soft and yummy!
The pretzel bread at Le Cellier was shaped like bread sticks. I tried doing that, but they turned out all lumpy and not very attractive. Shaping the bread into rolls makes them pretty! And who doesn't like to eat pretty rolls?
Here's what you'll need:
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 pkg (or 2 1/4 teas) yeast
2 teas sugar
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour (I used King Arthur unbleached)
2 teas coarse salt
1/4 cup oil or melted butter
1/4 cup baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
Additional coarse salt for sprinkling on top
In a mixing bowl, combine the water, yeast and sugar. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy. Add the flour, salt and oil or butter. I always start with 4 cups of flour and add more if the dough seems too sticky. Combine well (I use my stand mixer and dough hook for this) and then cover with a towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled.
After an hour, punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured service. Cut the dough into 16 equal pieces. I start by cutting the entire lump of dough in half, then halving each piece until I end up with 16 pieces.
Now comes the fun part of shaping the dough. Take one piece of dough and pinch the sides into the center to seal.
Turn the ball of dough over, so the pinched side is down. The side facing you should look fairly smooth. Using the palm of your hand, roll the ball in small circles. Don't press down hard, just roll the ball a few times.
The bottom of the dough should look more smooth after you do this. Place the dough on agreased cookie sheets. You could also use parchment paper to line your sheets. Repeat this with all of the remaining balls of dough. Cover with a towel and allow to rise again, this time for about 30 minutes.
When the rolls are shaped, bring 2 quarts of water to a low boil on the stove. Add the baking soda, which will cause the water to bubble up. With the water simmering, add a couple of rolls at a time. They will start to puff up right away.
Using a slotted spoon, turn the rolls over after 3o seconds. The bottoms will be puffy and lumpy, as they should be.
After another 30 seconds, remove the rolls from the water and place back on the cookie sheets, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rolls. Can you tell which rolls have been boiled and which haven't?
With a pastry brush, glaze each roll with the beaten egg, making sure to coat all sides. Sprinkle each one with a little coarse salt. With a sharp, straight-edged knife, cut an X into the top of each roll.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until browned. Serve warm if you can. They're so yummy that way!
These rolls are fantastic! They're a perfect accompaniment to soup and salad. We like them with broccoli cheese soup the best! But they truly are wonderful with anything.
For more yummy recipes, visit Blessed with Grace's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.
Edited to add:
To make these into pretzel bread bowls, just divide the dough into four equal portions. Then follow the rest of of the recipe as written.