I first ate a roll of this type at a deli while visiting theDaughter. The idea of a frank in a soft pretzel roll sounded a bit strange, but she assured me that it was quite awesome and that I absolutely had to try it. Since theDaughter ordered a chicken sandwich, I was at first a bit suspicious, but she was right on the money. Awesome, totally! That's Valley Girl-speak for "extremely delicious!"
So when I saw Patti's recipe, I just had to make them
Don't those slashes look fancy-schmancy? Besides being pretty, there are real reasons for slashing the tops of breads. According to Epicurious and BreadSecrets, back in the day when bakers used communal ovens, they slashed their breads to identify them after baking. Eventually they discovered that slashing controls where the bread splits as it bakes and expands. Nowadays different bread types have specific slash patterns to control the direction and/or height of the oven rising.
Besides the shape, I made a couple other changes to Patti's version. Patti's calls for more water than I usually use for the same amount of flour, so I cut back a little, figuring that I could always add the water back later. More flour was needed anyway, so I adjusted the recipe below to reflect the new quantities. And since I was serving them with meat franks, the butter and half-and-half were replaced with olive oil and soy milk.
When I first shaped the rolls, they seemed rather small. Forgot that pesky little detail called rising. The 8 rolls each puffed up almost enough to cradle a whole salami. So the recipe yield has been upped to 10.
Oh, the most important part ... how could I forget? These rolls are delicious! Much better than those pasty-white regular hot dog rolls. The insides look like a golden Italian bread, but tastes like a sweet soft chewy pretzel. I bet this would also be great rolled out as pretzel bread sticks as well! I'll have to try that in the near future. Thanks for the recipe, Patti!
Pretzel Frankfurter Rolls
Adapted from: Comfy Cuisine
Yield: 10 frankfurter-bun rolls
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 1/2 cups barely warm water
1 Tbl. brown sugar
1 Tbl. honey
2 Tbl. soy milk (use half-and-half for a dairy version)
3 Tbl. olive oil (use butter for a dairy version), plus a little more for greasing bowl and baking sheet
1 tsp. table salt
4 to 4 1/2 cups bread flour, divided
3 Tbl. baking soda
2 qts. cool water
1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 Tbl. water
1 tsp. pretzel or kosher salt (or more to taste)
10 frankfurters (optional)
Stir together warm water, brown sugar and honey in a 2-cup measuring cup or bowl. Stir in yeast. Let stand until mixture foams up, about 5 minutes. Then stir in soy milk, olive oil and salt. Set aside.
Place 2 cups of flour into the large bowl of a stand mixer. Pour in yeast mixture. Using dough hook attachment, mix at low speed until incorporated.
Add additional flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. This should take about 2 minutes.
Continue to run mixer at low speed for 5 more minutes. It will start to look a lot smoother.
Pour a small amount of oil down the inside of the mixing bowl. Scrape dough off hook. Roll dough into a ball and around side of bowl to coat both sides and dough ball with oil. Cover top of bowl with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 90 minutes.
My dough gets proofed in the oven, so it only took about 75 minutes. Those two indentations are where I poked the dough to see if it was ready. Since the pokes stayed poked, it was.
Punch down dough, then shape into into 10 ropes about 1 by 5 inches. Place on lightly floured baking sheet. Cover loosely with towel.
Let rise about 30 minutes or until almost doubled.
Meanwhile, Preheat oven to 400F. Mix 2 quarts of water with baking soda in 3- to 4-quart pot and bring to a boil. Also while waiting, lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside.
When rolls are ready, carefully drop one roll into the baking soda bath. Boil for 30 seconds, carefully turn the roll over and boil for another 30 seconds.
Carefully remove the roll from bath with a spatula and place on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining rolls. Then lightly brush rolls with egg mixture. Lightly sprinkle with pretzel salt. With a sharp, knife, slash the top of each roll a few times diagonally.
Place baking sheet into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the rolls are a deep brown. Awesome!
Remove rolls to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
These pretzel rolls can be served as is alongside any meal, but I made 'em to hug hot dogs. Slice rolls lengthwise almost all the way through (like a regular hot dog bun). Pry open each roll and pop in a cooked hot dog. Serve immediately.
No, not that kind of hot dog!