No-dairy, No-Egg Pretzel Hamburger Rolls

The latest craze seems to be pretzel rolls.  I can proudly say that I am (or more accurately, the person I copied it from is) ahead of the curve for a change.  But recently I found a slightly simpler recipe for pretzel challahs that does not use eggs or dairy products.  And the only oil needed is for greasing.  They were in essence challah-shaped pretzel rolls.  So of course I formed them into hamburger rolls. 

Two small issues, totally my fault:  I had 8 regular-sized burgers, so the dough was divided into 8.   Depending upon how you looked at them, they were either small rolls or large sliders.  Secondly, I did not press down enough on the dough balls, so after the risings I wound up with 8 tall narrow buns.   Lucky for all of us the shape did not affect the taste any. 

Objects are taller than they appear.

Luckier still, the burgers shrunk in sympathy, the result being that they fit perfectly inside said buns.  Dear Reader, I can now say that two wrongs had made a right.

Vegan Pretzel Hamburger Rolls
Adapted from: jewcy
Yield: 6-8 rolls

1 cup warm water, plus a few additional tablespoons if needed
1 (1/4-5/16 oz.) pkt. active dry yeast
1 Tbl. granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more if needed
2 tsp. kosher salt
oil for greasing bowl
2 quarts water
3 Tbl. baking soda
1 tablespoon molasses
a few pinches pretzel salt (or additional kosher salt), for garnish

Yeast in bloom.

Stir together the warm water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Let stand for 3-4 minutes to let yeast "bloom," then add flour and salt. Mix on a low speed using a dough hook attachment of an electric mixer just until combined (#2 on a KitchenAid).

Dough a little stiff here ... needs more water.

Continue to mix at low speed for 5 minutes. The dough should combine to form a ball shape and only be slightly sticky. If dough is too sticky, add an additional tablespoon of flour and test again.  Conversely, if dough is too stiff or not at all sticky, lightly lightly sprinkle with additional water.

After the first rise.

Grease a large, clean bowl with oil; roll dough into a ball and place in prepared bowl, then cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

Perfectly round balls before second rise ... but not flattened enough.

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment.  Punch dough down to expel air bubbles, then divide into 6 or 8 rolls (see how to form a perfectly round dough ball).  Place rolls on parchment paper and press rolls down to flatten somewhat. 

See?  Rolls puffed up.  Should have pressed them down again.

Cover the rolls loosely and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450F.  While rolls are rising, stir the 2 quarts of water and baking soda together in a wide 3 or 4-quart pot over medium-high heat until the baking soda dissolves, then bring just to a boil.  Stir in molasses, then reduce heat slightly and let the water simmer.

Rolls expand, so only do 2 at at time.

Gently lower two rolls at a time into the simmering water. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to carefully flip rolls after thirty seconds.

The four on the right had their bath. 

Simmer rolls for another 30 seconds, then remove rolls, returning them to the parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Very lightly sprinkle pretzel or kosher salt evenly over the rolls. Using a sharp knife, slash X's into the top of each roll. Don't be shy with the slashing or else the "cuts" will heal during baking.  Place sheet in oven. 

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until rolls are a lovely dark pretzel brown. 

Transfer rolls, still on parchment, onto a cooling rack.  Let cool, then use a bread knife to split rolls horizontally.

Fill with burgers and serve.


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