Pretzel Buns

  • 4¼ to 4½ cups (540 to 572 grams) bread flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast
  • 1½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) kosher salt
  • 9½ cups (2,280 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk (19 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons (20 grams) flaked sea salt
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 2 cups (254 grams) flour, brown sugar, yeast, and kosher salt.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat 1½ cups (360 grams) water and butter over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add warm butter mixture to flour mixture, and beat at medium speed until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 2¼ cups (286 grams) flour, beating just until combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
  3. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at low speed until a soft, somewhat sticky dough forms, 7 to 8 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl and dough hook. Add up to remaining ¼ cup (32 grams) flour, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time, if dough is too sticky. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a smooth round.
  4. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Place a large piece of parchment on work surface, and dust with flour.
  6. In a 4-quart stockpot, bring 8 cups (1,920 grams) water and baking soda to a slow boil over low heat.
  7. On a very lightly floured surface, divide dough into 10 portions (about 95 grams each). Shape each portion into a smooth ball. (See Note on page 55.) Press each ball flat into a 3-inch disk, and place on floured parchment paper. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) for 20 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Carefully drop buns, 2 to 3 at a time, into slow boiling water-baking soda mixture. Cook for 30 seconds; turn, and cook for 30 seconds. Using a spider strainer, remove from water, letting excess drip off, and place at least 1½ inches apart on prepared pans.
  10. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and remaining 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water. Brush buns with egg wash. Using a lame or sharp paring knife, score a 1-inch “X” in top of each bun. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  11. Bake until deep golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on pans for 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks before slicing.
Shape and Bake: On a very lightly floured surface, divide dough into 10 portions (about 95 grams each). Use your palm to press down on dough to release any air bubbles. Rotate your hand until dough starts to form a ball; turn your hand, and make a “C” shape. Keep dough under your palm, and continue rotating your hand and applying pressure in same direction until dough becomes a smooth, tight ball.



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