When I was sixteen, I had the opportunity to spend a month living in Germany on an exchange program. While immersed in German culture, my young eyes were opened to the importance of stepping outside of my comfort zone, embracing differences, challenging myself, and fostered a love of travel from early on. Contrary to popular belief, Oktoberfest is held at the end of September and lasts through the first week of October. 6 million people visit Munich to eat, drink, and be merry. Did you know that there is criteria for the beer sold at Oktoberfest? It must be brewed in Munich, and contain only water, barley, and hops. Read about it here.
One food you are certain to find at Oktoberfest is the humble, hearty, delicious pretzel. Pretzels have made their way recently to American culture beyond the baseball stadium bleachers and have exploded on the food scene. I have seen soft pretzel sticks, bites, buns, and chips in gastropubs, fast food restaurants, and now…. food blogs.
I wanted to create whole wheat pretzel rolls that are easy to make, can function either as dinner rolls or sandwich buns, and that taste good. Easy. Multifunctional. Delicious. They’ll last about a week stored in an airtight container. Bring the flavors of Oktoberfest to your table. Prost!
Whole Wheat Pretzel Rolls
Adapted from My Life as a Mrs.
Prep. Time: 75 min. Cook Time: 17 min.
3 cups white whole wheat flour
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon kosher salt + enough for sprinkling
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast (or 1 packet)
1/3 cup baking soda
9 cups water
1 egg, beaten
Add 1 cup of warm water (120°ish) to the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine flour, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and sugar together. Add the melted butter (not too hot- below 120°) to the water, then add the dry mixture. Knead with a dough hook for about 10 minutes.
Transfer to a large bowl coated lightly with olive oil. Cover with a damp paper towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.
Once dough has risen, knead dough on a lightly floured surface with hands for about 10 minutes. Your dough has been kneaded enough when you press it with your fingers and some of the dough bounces back to place.
Cut the dough in half, then in half again, and so forth until you have 16 2″ pieces. Using the palms of your hands, form each dough piece into a ball.
Smooth the dough with your fingers down toward the bottom of the ball, then pinch to seal. Continue and set all dough aside on parchment paper.
Preheat oven to 425°. In a large saucepan, boil 8 cups of water. Remove from heat and slowly add the baking soda. Place back on the heat and simmer. Place 2-3 rolls at a time into the water, cook for 30 seconds, then flip and cook for another 30 seconds on the other side. Remove rolls from the water and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Continue this process with all the pieces of dough.
Brush each roll with the egg, then sprinkle generously with salt. Using a sharp knife, slice an “X” in the top of each roll. Bake for 17 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack and enjoy!