We’re here – in the frigid, face-biting temperatures of upstate New York. Once Spring hits, the sunshine returns and our cabin fever breaks, we’ll be a little less stir-crazy.
For now, let’s just pretend its spring and we don’t have almost four feet of snow in our backyard. This weekend, Trevor suggested we grill some burgers and I was all in. I’d made these pretzel rolls before, but making them sliders was just fun. The kids liked the ideas of mini burgers and they really were like a little slice of summer.
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. milk
- 1 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp. (half a 1/4-ounce or 7-gram packet) active dry yeast
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to coat bowl
- 2 cups flour, either all-purpose or bread flour, or a mix thereof, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp. fine sea or table salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. water
- Pretzel or coarse salt
- Warm milk and sugar together until they’re about 105 to 110°F in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. If you don’t have a thermometer, the correct temperature is when you can dip your finger into the liquid without noticing any temperature change (i.e. not warmer or cooler than your finger). Add yeast to milk-sugar mixture and let stand for 5 to 7 minutes. It should dissolve and become slightly foamy.
- Stir in butter, then 3/4 of flour, the salt, then remaining flour. Using spoon (for manual mixing) or dough hook (of a stand mixer), mix the dough until it forms a slightly sticky dough that balls together. If making by hand, turn out onto a floured counter and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If using a machine, let the dough hook do the work, running it for 5 minutes on low. If, at the end of the kneading process, the dough still feels quite sticky (a little sticky is good; more tips here), add 1 more tablespoon flour.
- First rise: With kneaded dough on counter, butter or oil your mixing bowl. Return dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a draft-free warmish spot for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
- Second rise: Butter an 8×8-inch square or equivalent size baking pan (such as a 9-inch round cake pan or deep-dish pie plate). Flour your counter and let dough fall out onto it. I like to take advantage of the round shape left by the bowl to divide my dough into even-enough wedges, like slices of a pie. Divide into 8-10 pieces. Form each into a round. Arrange seam side-down in prepared pan, with an even amount of space between rolls. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for another hour.
- Heat oven to 375°F. Bring your water to a boil and slowly stir in baking soda — it will foam up.
- Thoroughly brush tops and creases between rolls (as best as your brush can get in) with the soda pretzel wash. Rinse brush and beat your egg with 1 tsp. water. Brush the rolls a second time, this time with the egg wash. Sprinkle rolls with either sesame seeds or coarse salt. Use a sharp paring knife to make +-sign slashes in the top of each roll; you want to cut at least 1/2-inch down (I always make my cuts too shallow and they get lost when baked).
- Bake: Bake rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until a lovely brown on top. Let cool in pan on rack.