Pretzel Buns

1 year ago, this was my life:
pretzel buns
Baking pretzel buns….
pretzel buns
And more pretzel buns….
pretzel buns
Every year out in PEI, they put on a contest called Burger Love. Basically restaurants around the island participate by creating their own unique beef burger, putting it on the menu for only 1 month and letting Islanders judge whose is the best. Oh and there’s also a contest to see who can be first to eat every single burger entered in the competition.
At the Brickhouse last year, our burger was called “The Executive”. It had a plethora of toppings from red pepper relish, to a deep fried gherkin on top. All served on a homemade pretzel bun, of course.
In honour of PEI Burger Love, I thought I would make a batch for the burgers my parents are eating tonight. Well me too, it will just be a grilled portabello rather than beef. Alberta Burger Love baby!
I don’t care whether you eat these with a burger or not. As a matter of fact, they are pretty much perfect on their own. And nothing beats the smell of pretzels wafting through your house.

Good luck to all of the competitors in Burger Love 2013!

Pretzel Buns
Courtesy of Mel Moreland, Pastry Chef at Daniel Brenan Brickhouse

8 ounces warm water
10g yeast (instant or dry active)
4 ounces milk
40g brown sugar
12g salt
24g butter, melted
500g bread flour
15-20g wheat bran

21g sodium hydroxide
500g water

1 egg, beaten
coarse sea salt and sesame seeds, as needed

If using dry active yeast, allow it to bloom in the warm water until nice and foamy. Combine the remaining ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the dough hook attachment. Knead on medium-low speed for about 7-8 minutes (or by hand until the dough passes the window pane test).

Place the dough in a well oiled bowl and let it rise for about 45 minutes to an hour (or until doubled in size). Knock it down and portion it out into 8-10 buns. Shape, cover and allow the buns to rise for another 45min-1 hour (or until doubled again).

Prepare your sodium hyroxide solution by dissolving it in the water. Once the buns are fully risen, it’s time for a little dunk in the NaOH bath. Depending on the size of your bowl, you can probably do this 2-3 buns at a time. Place them in the solution tops down (as that is what you are aiming to brown, the bottom really doesn’t have to look that pretty). Soak them for about 1 minute or until you can tell that the dough is yellowing. Remove and repeat until all the buns have been bathed, so to speak.

Slice an “x” in the top of each bun and brush them all with egg wash. Sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds and coarse sea salt. Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes. Cool and enjoy! You can bag up any leftovers and they will keep for about a day. If they start to get stale, you can pop them in the oven prior to serving to rejuvenate them a bit.

pretzel buns
pretzel buns
pretzel buns

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