Buttermilk Pretzel Rolls, those three words combined says it all. They fit snugly in the palm of a hand, as a roll should, and, like a pretzel, beg to be torn apart to be fully enjoyed, with the buttermilk lending a homey tang. They’re perfect for a mid-afternoon snack, especially fresh from the oven. Mostly, though, we’ve been having them for breakfast, and, if it’s a leisurely morning, slathered with cream cheese, and topped with slivers of red onion and smoked salmon.
These rolls were one of several ways we’re trying out “Baker’s Blend,” an organic flour made with Maine whole wheat and available through Crown O’Maine Organic Cooperative: “Although Maine currently has three fine stone mills in operation, we do not have a white flour mill. Fiddler’s Green Farm, a custom mill and baking mix blender we all know and love, was willing to craft a ‘Baker’s Blend’ for Crown O’Maine. Alan mills Aurora Mill’s cleaned wheat berries, and blends in a high quality white flour from Natural Way Mills. The result is a flour that is wholesome, 50% Maine grown, and very versatile.” As we soon found, the freshly milled whole wheat in the Baker’s Blend gave the rolls a nutty sweetness, with the hefty bran balanced by the lofty white flour.
Like bagels, pretzels need a quick dunk in a boiling bath of water and some kind of sweetener — sugar, honey or maple syrup. Often, a recipe will call for the addition of baking soda to the poaching liquid. 6 tablespoons of seemed an alarming amount, it certainly did to me. As it turns out, a chewy bagel or pretzel crust depends on the alkalinity baking soda brings. Naturally occurring alkaline water may account for the particular quality of bagels and pretzels from certain places.
Like last week’s Lemon Lentil Soup, the recipe for Buttermilk Pretzel Rolls is from Little Flower: Recipes from the Cafe by Christine Moore, and can be found here. For 16 rolls, I divided the dough into 75 gram portions. A last note on the poaching liquid: For 3 cups of water, the recipe calls for 6 tablespoons baking soda and 1 cup of brown sugar. This volume was barely enough to poach one roll at a time in my smallest saucepan. Instead, I used the proportions based on Sherry Yard’s pretzel recipe: 2 quarts water, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar. I’m reserving adding the 1/4 cup of beer for next time; hopefully that small amount won’t cause a “beer-cano.”
Submitted to YeastSpotting.