Settle in, folks. We’re about to make internet history!
A few months ago, our grocery store had these pretzel rolls. They were delicious. Simple and chewy and amazing for meatball subs. We ate them for two weeks straight, then they disappeared from the store never to be seen again. We lamented their loss until earlier this week when I said “you know, I could probably make those.” Having today off work, I decided to mix up some bread and try my hand at making pretzel rolls myself. Pretzel bread is really easy – take your normal bread and boil it briefly in a baking soda and water solution before baking.
Two weeks ago I baked some fresh beet bread. It was a simple yeast bread with a puree of beet added. It was earthy and delicious and my daughter ate it up because it was bright pink. I had ever intention of recording it for our good readers’ pleasure, but it was SO good that we ate the entire loaf before I could snap a few photos. Having today off work, and having several bunches of beets in the fridge from the past couple boxes, I figured I’d bake a new loaf to blog.
So there I was today in my kitchen. Both my pretzel roll dough and my beet dough were nearly done with their first rise. I had placed the water on to boil for the pretzels. The oven was hot and ready. And in the madness that was my kitchen at that moment (a separate story all together) I stopped. I looked at the pretzel dough…then I looked at the beet bread dough…back at the pretzel dough…back at the beet bread dough…then at the boiling water. If pretzels are just bread boiled before baking…then what would stop me from making beet pretzels? NOTHING. That’s what. And thus Beet Pretzels were born!! I’m taking credit for this one, too. I can’t even find a recipe on the internet for beet pretzels. And if you can’t find it on the internet, it doesn’t exist.
I baked these in a roll form so we could use them to make meatball subs, but the recipe would not change in the slightest if you wanted to make them into traditional pretzel shapes or rods or whatever other shape you can think of. I used golden beets, hence the yellow hue. Any beets would fit the bill, though.
Golden Beet Soft Pretzels
About 8-10 oz raw beets, peeled and trimmed of tops
1/2 c milk or plain yogurt
3/4 c warm (not hot) water
1 envelope active dry yeast (2 1/4 t)
1 t sugar
4 c flour (bread or AP) plus more for dusting
2 T olive oil
2 t salt
6 c water
1/4 c baking soda
Start by making the beet puree. Pulse the beets in a food processor until they are as smooth as you can get them. Add the yogurt or milk and continue pulsing and scraping until the mixture is as smooth as you can get it. It will not get creamy, just get it as smooth as possible.
In a small bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Set aside for about 5 minutes, or until the yeast is frothy.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the beet puree, yeast mixture, flour, oil, and salt. Knead with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes). Shape into a smooth ball and place the ball in an oiled bowl. Cover with a clean cloth and set in a warm place until the dough roughly doubles in size – 30-45 minutes, depending on your environment.
Punch the dough down and knead on a lightly floured surface about 10 times, until the dough is smooth. Divide into your desired shape and size. In the case of hoagie rolls, divide into 6 logs about 6″ long. Score the tops of the rolls about 1/4″ deep and arrange on a parchment covered baking sheet that has been lightly oiled or dusted with cornmeal. Let the dough rise a second time until nearly doubled in size – about 15 minutes. This is about the exact amount of time it will take to boil the water and preheat the oven.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bring 6 cups of water to a rolling boil in a wide pot.
When the water is boiling, add 1/4 c baking soda. The water will foam up quite a bit but then the bubbles will subside. Working in batches, carefully drop in each roll. Boil for 30 seconds, flip, and boil for another 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and return to the parchment covered baking sheet. When all the pretzels have been boiled, bake for 20 minutes or until the rolls sound hollow when tapped. The baking time will vary significantly based on how large or small your pretzels are.