Monday, May 10, 2010

Pretzel Rolls

My brother in law was over yesterday and said he had a project for me. He brought out a bag of Trader Joe's pretzel rolls and asked if I could make anything like it.

I do love a challenge. I started searching my favorite blogs first and struck out. So I checked tastespotting and foodgawker. I came across this recipe from foodgawker.

If you've ever made soft pretzels at home, this is really no different. They are just shaped differently. They are soft, chewy and delicious. I had one for lunch today with shaved turkey and provel cheese. A-mazing.

The recipe said to make 18, two ounce balls of dough. I weighed mine and they were all close to two ounces and I only got 16 rolls. I think next time I will make them a little bigger because these were almost slider-size instead of bun-size. The directions were very good, so I've just copied them (almost) exactly from Stresscake.


Pretzel Rolls

1 ½ cups warm water (around 110°F)
1 packet active dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp kosher salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
pretzel salt - I used coarse Kosher salt

Combine the water and the yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer and let rest 5 minutes until foamy. Add the remaining ingredients (sugar, flour, salt, butter) and mix with the dough hook until thoroughly combined, the dough comes together and is rather silky – but not sticky – to the touch.

First rise: Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or Silpat mats.
Shaping: Cut the dough into 18 pieces, roughly 2 ounces each. (Or really any size you wish, keeping in mind that you’re going to have to poach them in the baking soda solution so they need to fit into your pan.) To shape, take a piece of dough and start forming a nice round, smooth ball by pulling the sides to the center and pinching to seal. By doing this, you’re creating a smooth skin around the dough ball.

Place, pinched side down, on a counter and lightly cupping your hand around the dough ball, rotate your hand in small circles lightly rolling the ball around the palm of your hand. This takes some practice. Space evenly on the prepared sheet pans, pinched seam side down, leaving at least 1” between each roll.

Second rise: Cover with a tea towel or a light film of plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled.

Preheat oven to 425°F and place oven racks on the lowest and middle positions.
Poaching: In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a low boil. Add the baking soda and lower heat to a simmer. Carefully slip the rolls into the poaching liquid, seam side down. Poach for 30 seconds then carefully turn the roll over in the liquid. Poach other side for 30 seconds then remove with a spider or slotted spoon to the same prepared sheet pans, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rolls, leaving at least 1” between rolls for baking.

Glaze: With a pastry brush, glaze each roll completely with the lightly beaten egg making sure to coat all sides completely. Top each roll with a sprinkle of pretzel salt. With a sharp straight edged knife, cut a slash or “X” in the top of each roll.

Bake: Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking – top to bottom, front to back – for even browning. Cool completely. Rolls are best eaten on day of baking but they store pretty well in the freezer, tightly wrapped. Reheat in a damp paper towel for 30 seconds in the microwave.

Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella Tart

I recently got a tart pan and went searching for tart recipes. I knew I was making a sweet tart for Mother's Day so I looked for something more savory. I found this recipe on Annie's Eats.

There really isn't much I can say about this tart other than you absolutely have to try it. The crust is amazing - the fresh basil and garlic really make it delicious - and the combination of tomato, mozzarella and basil is always fantastic.

I used fresh basil from my container garden and used roma tomatoes instead of the cherry tomatoes in Annie's version. I also blind baked it before adding toppings like she suggested.

Please try this. You will not regret it!

Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella Tart
From: Annie's Eats

1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1-2 cloves garlic
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8-10 pieces
4-5 tbsp. ice cold water

8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
Ripe cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 tbsp. minced fresh basil

Using your food processor, process the basil and garlic until it is finely minced. Add the flour and salt and pulse until well combined. Add in the butter a few pieces at a time pulsing between additions. Mix until a crumbly dough forms. Begin adding water - 3 tbsp's to start - and pulse. Add more water - 1 tbsp at a time - until dough forms ball. Remove from bowl, flatten into a disc, about 5 inches across, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

To bake - preheat oven to 425. Roll out dough on a floured surface until is is about 12 inches across. Lay it on top of your tart pan and press the dough into the edge and up the sides. Lay a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the tart and place baking beads on top - or dried beans, rice, pennies, etc. Anything heavy). Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove foil and beads and bake for another 5 minutes.

Lower oven to 375. Top tart shell with sliced mozzarella and then sliced tomatoes. Drizzle on olive oil, then sprinkle on salt, pepper and basil.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until cheese is lightly browned. Depending on your oven you may need to rotate it halfway through baking. You also may need to dab the top with a paper towel halfway through to remove excess moisture.