Homemade Pretzel Rolls... For Kids from 1 to 92

Happy almost Christmas! 

If you're here, chances are good that you're looking for an impressive yet simple roll to please the hungry mouths that will soon be staring at you around your dining table. Woo hoo! Hello, Family!

I found this recipe on Pinterest one year and it's now the thing I'm asked to bring to gatherings. 

Homemade Pretzel Rolls, lovingly referred to as HPR going forth, are prepared by me for one or more of the Big Four meals: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's or Easter. 

HPR's are really delicious served as rolls or used for making sandwiches. Think turkey and melted swiss (or cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving) or leftover Christmas or Easter ham with a smear of mustard. They can be a nice vehicle for BEC (bacon, egg & cheese) too. 

I also conducted a little recipe experimentation this time around which I'll reveal below... 

Sold yet? 

Here's what you'll need to make 12-18 rolls: 

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast (I use this)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 3/4-5 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • Water for boiling (and a pot to boil water in!)
  • Baking sheets lined with parchment paper
  • A little bit of patience and some stretchy pants (for meal time, that is)
  • TIME. These are not difficult (and I am not that skilled in the kitchen) however, the dough needs to rise two separate times, allowing you to work on other things, but just be sure to get a start on making these about 2 or 2.5 hours before the meal is scheduled to be served if you want them to come out with the rest of the food. 

1) In a bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of warm water with the sugar and yeast. I let it hang out for about 10 minutes until it gets really frothy.

2) In a large bowl mix the salt and flour. Add the melted butter, egg yolk, and the yeast mixture, which by now is very bubbly, and mix until combined. You can add a little more flour if you need to, just a little at a time, until the result is dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl and place it in a warm area away from any air vents. The dough will need about an hour to rise. Pretty much let it double in size.

3) When the dough has risen, divide it into 12 pieces. You can roll them into balls or make traditional pretzel shapes by rolling the dough into ropes and knotting them. Whether they look blobbish or anatomical doesn't matter. They are loved for their great taste and not their shape! 

Whatever you end up with, place them on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Cover them up (I used saran wrap loosely draped over the dough or try a clean kitchen towel) and let them rise for 30 more minutes. Part of the experience of HPR is the anticipation of them! 

Plus wow, 30 whole minutes! You can use this time to chit chat with your cousin or sneak off to wrap a last minute gift or hide from everyone in the kitchen or pour yourself a glass of your choosing and flip through the January copy of Real Simple that you've been itching to crack open since it hit your mailbox last week. You've got options, love. 


4) Go ahead and preheat your oven to 425 and if you simply can't help yourself, wash the dishes you dirtied up so you will have less work to do later. OR delegate this task to an eager-to-help family member. Much better idea. 

5) After the dough has risen, bring about 6-8 cups of water to a boil. When the water begins to boil, add the baking soda just a LITTLE at a time. It's going to make a nice cirrus-like cloud and it will leave some spatter on your cook top, but it wipes right up.  ...Later of course, because a clean HOT surface is not worth the loss of fingerprints as I've learned. After you've added all of the baking soda, let the water come to a full boil again.


6) Working with one roll at a time, carefully place each roll into the bubbling cauldron. I use a slotted spoon to both gently drop in and scoop out the rolls. Boil for 30 seconds each side. Repeat with remaining dough balls.

7) Whisk together the reserved egg white and 2 tablespoons of water. Brush the egg white over the boiled dough and then sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 12-18 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets. 


LOOK at them! They are a thing of beauty, the perfect amount of bronzed. 


Go ahead and eat one while it's warm! You've earned it!! You'll find it to beautifully browned like it just got back from a week in the Caribbean. And the inside is warm, soft, and slightly flaky. Keep an oven mitt nearby for shooing your family members away if you hope to have any left for the meal. 


So I mentioned that I did a little recipe experiment with this batch. I decided to tinker with just one roll to give a sweet personality since I have a major sweet tooth! I sprinkled one HPR with cinnamon sugar and otherwise followed the same directions. Here's what happened. 


The finished result was a little blackened from the sugar burning and the cinnamon darkening but really it wasn't as bad as it might look. It was still incredibly edible! Next time I would use just cinnamon and sprinkle on sugar after baking to avoid the burn. Also, there's a good bit of salt in the dough of these pretzels and that wasn't unpleasant if you love sweet mixed with savory, but in the future, I would probably make a separate batch of just cinnamon sugar pretzels and would reduce the salt content by about half or 3/4s. I'd leave just a hint of salt so they still feel pretzely. 

Using powdered sugar and a scant amount of milk, I made icing to pour over my cinnamon sugar pretzel. Nothing scientific here, I simply kept adding sugar or milk until I got the right consistency. That will surely frustrate anyone who likes exact measurements, so here's a link to an  icing recipe

Mine was SO delicious that I really wanted to share it with Josh but he was out doing yard work since Iris was napping and I just couldn't make myself save him a bite! But it's ok, right? I mean he did waltz by and snitch a fresh hot roll off the pan.


That's it, loves! 

IF you have any leftover tomorrow, add a slice of ham or bacon, a little cheese or mustard and you'll have the most satisfying breakfast! 

I hope you love these home pretzel rolls! I hope you experiment with adding your own twist to the recipe. I hope you get a ton of atta girls for them. Do not be surprised if you're asked to bring Pretzel Rolls to the next family gathering. 

You're going to be very popular. 

Don't say I didn't warn you. ;)  

Merry Christmas to you and your family. I hope the time together is blessed and filled with much love. 

Stylishly yours,

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