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Pretzel Buns
Total 2 hours and 45 minutes (includes resting and cooling times)
Active 40 mins
Makes 8 servings
Special Equipment
a stand mixer with paddle and dough hook attachments
Special Equipment
a stand mixer with paddle and dough hook attachments
Ingredients
  • Dough
    • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
    • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
    • 1 cup warm water
    • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
    • Canola oil, optional
  • Water Bath
    • 1 gallon (16 cups) water
    • 2/3 cup baking soda
    • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • To Finish
    • Pretzel salt or flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
    • Soft scrambled eggs or other sandwich fillings
Directions
  1. For the dough, combine the flour, brown sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until combined, then switch to the dough hook. With the mixer on low, add the water mixture in a steady stream. Continue to mix until a shaggy, but cohesive dough forms, about 3 minutes. Add the butter pieces, a few at a time, and continue to mix until the dough is smooth, supple, and pliable, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the dough to a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. It’s best to watch the dough rather than the clock.
  2. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking sheet or liberally coat in canola oil. Tip the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead a couple of times to push out the air. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces, then roll each piece into a tight ball. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and set aside. Let rise until slightly puffed and the dough bounces back slowly when pressed lightly, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Bring the water to a simmer in a large pot. Add the baking soda and brown sugar (the mixture will bubble vigorously), and whisk to combine.
  4. Working a few at a time, use a slotted spoon to carefully lower the buns into the simmering water bath. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute per side, then transfer them to the same baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, score the top of each bun with an ‘X’ and sprinkle with salt.
  5. Bake until puffed and deep golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. They should feel crisp on the outside when you touch them. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack to cool.
  6. To serve, cut the buns and serve with soft scrambled eggs or your favorite sandwich fillings.