Eleanor has turned out to be quite a commodity. After a few struggles with some types of bread I couldn’t quite master, I decided to try her in rolls rather than a loaf. Goddamn, I make good decisions.
When it comes to food, anyway.
So I made pretzel rolls. I cut one in half for John and me to try and I have to say these turned out nothing short of perfect. Keeping my fingers busy typing this out right now is the one thing helping me fight the urge to get up and devour all of these. So. Effing. Good.
And here’s how I did it:
1 1/2 cup Eleanor (or bread starter, in case you’re new).
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp warm milk (like 100 degrees or so)
4 cups all-purpose flour (I kinda wished I had bread flour for this, but if it’s not broken…)
2 quarts cold water
1/3 cup warm water (hot from the tap will do)
1/2 CUP baking soda (yes, you read this right)
Coarse sea salt
In a large mixing bowl. add the starter, butter, milk, and brown sugar (if you’re vegan, soy milk and Earth Balance will do to sub for milk and butter). Stir and make sure that the brown sugar is dissolved. Then mix in all of the flour and the warm water until it forms a firm, almost non-sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes. Make about 9 or 10 evenly- sized balls, and to form the rolls pinch the sides and pull dough underneath the rolls so the top is tight and round. Arrange on a greased or non-stick baking sheet. Cover the rolls with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let them rise for an hour or more.
Preheat the oven to 425.
Bring the two quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot, and then add the baking soda. It will go POOF! into lots of magic little bubbles. Two at a time, boil each roll 15 seconds on each side (put the top side in first) and with a slotted spoon or tongs let them drain over the pot before you return them to the baking sheet. Decoratively cut “X”‘s on the top of the rolls and sprinkle with the sea salt.
Bake for 10 minutes on the top rack or until they’re a nice dark brown, and then move to the bottom rack to bake for an additional 3-5 minutes.
This is what I pulled out of the oven: