I thought these looked really good when I saw them on smitten kitchen and knew I was going to have to try them soon! They tasted just how I imagined, they're like a pretzel but with a lot more dough to crust ratio. I like the crust of the prezel a lot, but this is a roll afterall. Speaking of pretzels, I made some amazinggg pretzels a couple weeks ago, I wasn't planning on posting them but I think I will. Anyway, give these a try. I liked them better a couple hrs later better than I did hot of the oven, they were chewier.
(These are best eaten the same day as a regular pretzel is, but they will be fine for up to 2 days stored uncovered).
***I was out of cornmeal, so I didn't use it-dang weevils. But I haven't seen them since the last incident I wrote about. Thanks to throwing out all my flour, storing new flour in the freezer and putting bay leaves around the pantry.
***I also used regular dry active yeast, 1/2 T. in place of quick rising. It will just take a little longer for your dough to rise, about 1 hr. instead of 30 min.
***I slit the tops of the rolls just before putting them in the boiling water then a little bit again after I took them out of the water.
***I also liked a little garlic salt on them after cooking, but that just might be me being weird.
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 envelope quick-rising yeast or 1/2 T. dry active
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (about) hot water (125°F to 130°F)
8 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg white, beaten to blend (glaze)
Combine bread flour, one envelope yeast, one teaspoon salt and one teaspoon sugar in food processor and blend. With machine running, gradually pour hot water through feed tube, adding enough water to form smooth elastic dough. Process one minute to knead. Grease medium bowl. Add dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then towel; let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 35 minutes (or longer is using regular yeast).
Punch dough down and knead on lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide it into 8 pieces. Form each dough piece into ball. Place dough balls on prepared surface, flattening each slightly (I forgot to flatten, they turned out fine). Using serrated knife, cut X in top center of each dough ball. Cover with towel and let dough balls rise until almost doubled in volume, about 20 minutes (or more).
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a baking sheet or sprinkle with cornmeal. Bring 8 cups water to boil in large saucepan. Add baking soda and 2 tablespoons sugar (water will foam up). Add 4 rolls and cook 30 sec per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rolls to prepared sheet and arrange X side up. Repeat with remaining rolls.
Brush rolls with egg white glaze. Sprinkle rolls generously with coarse salt. Bake rolls until brown, about 25 min. Transfer to cooling rack and cool 10 min. Serve them warm or room temperature.