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.
Your rolls look absolutely delicious and I thank you for the information on local flour. I had no idea.
I plan to post more about local flour — they still take some effort to find, but the range and availability is growing!
That is impressive – 50% Maine grown flour! Those rolls will be tumbling out of my kitchen sooner rather than later, many thanks!
I’ve also some 100% Maine flour from Maine Grains, a sifted whole wheat grown and milled locally. In New Hampshire, Brookford Farm offers a whole wheat bread and whole wheat pastry flours; both are available through them at the Seacoast Eat Local Winter Farmers’ Markets!
you know, i’ve been dreaming about tackling pretzels (among other things). very inspiring, tomato ;)
If you like doing bagels, this is in the same league. There’s something intriguing about that extra step of poaching the dough…
These rolls look adorable! I’ll definitely check the recipe. I love their warm color.
Hi Simona! I hadn’t expected them to turn out so dark, must be from the combination of using whole wheat and the dunk in malted water…
I have tried it to many times but never did it perfectly. i think your recipe is gone help me.
looks very delicious cant wait to have it.
I’m on my way through this recipe as we decided we needed bagels. I’m using this recipe but will switch to bagel mode when the dough is ready to shape. I have already ran into a snag. I live in the UK and while it is easy to get buttermilk, it is different than what I remember in the States. The buttermilk here is real thick and rich. I put my buttermilk and butter into a microwave measuring cup to heat it and melt it. It warmed up then when I took it out it had separated. Not only separated but there were chunks of cottage cheese like stuff floating around. I tasted the chunks and it was like mozzarella! So had to start over. Just mixed the remaining buttermilk (it comes in about a 8 oz cup) and skim milk to make the desired amount. I also added a step to autolyse the flour and yeast, and give me a moment to type this. I look forward to the results (I think). Thanks for posting your article, obviously inspiring.