Swiss pretzel bread rolls

12:37 PM


Pretzel bread rolls are one of those typically Swiss bread that gets me coming for more and are a MASSIVE hit with anybody who tasted them.

In Switzerland they are also known as "Delice" in French, which means delish in English, or as "Pain the Sils" which translates as Sils' Bread.
I suspect the influence is German, but while the big soft giant pretzel the world knows indeed comes from Germany, I haven't seen those bread rolls sold anywhere but Switzerland.

They are a salty, soft little piece of heaven, better eaten with creamy unsalted butter and are one of those popular snacks one can buy in any bakery in my homeland.
Needless to say that is the one bread I missed the most in India, and the instant I got an oven this was the first bread I learned to make.

The dough is a standard yeast dough, what makes this bread super special is its shiny soft brown salty crust that is the result of a reaction between baking soda and heat. To achieve this divine crust, the dough balls are poached in a water dip of salt and baking soda before being shoved in the oven.




The recipe is super simple and the prep time very quick, all you need is the patience to wait for the yeast dough to rise, if that says it all.


Ingredients:

500g maida (white flour)
30g softened butter
1tsp salt
7g of dry yeast (around one tsp)
1 tsp of sugar
300ml of a half/half mix of milk and water

How to:

- Put the flour into a big mixing bowl and dig a well in the center.

- In half a glass of warm water, pour the yeast and sugar and stir well, pour your yeasty water in the well of flour and cover with a thin layer of flour. Let it do its yeasty thing.
You know it'll be time when the yeast will ooze out of the well and foam.

- Add the melted butter and salt to the flour and knead to a smooth dough adding the water/milk mix gradually.

- Once the dough stopped sticking to your finger, take it out of the bowl and onto a floured surface and fold and stretch for about 5-7 minutes, this process ensure that your yeast dough will get a lot of air folded in.

- Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with a cloth, let it rise for about 1.5 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

- Once your dough has risen, shape it into small balls and put them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
Cover with the cloth again and get working on the "dip water"




Ingredients for the dip water:


1 litre water in a sauce pan
100g of baking soda (soda bi-carb)
1tbsp of salt

- Preheat the oven to 200 C degree, and bring the dip water to a boil on the stove.

- Once the dip start boiling start poaching the buns one by one, leave them in the water for about  30 seconds, and put them back on the baking tray. Once all the buns have been poached, make slits on the top of each buns to prevent unattractive cracks.

- Bake for about 25 minutes, less if the buns are tiny, look for a rich brown crust.

- Just before taking the buns out of the oven, pour a little milk in a bowl and take a pastry brush out.

- As soon as you take the bun out of the oven brush them with the milk, it is what will make the crust glossy. If you skip this step, your buns will remain a very dull brown and the crust will be a bit dry.
This step must be done as soon as they are out of the oven, on super hot buns.

- Let them cool down as long as you can wait. It'll be hard, I usually dig in the instant they are cool enough to hold in my bare hands.

They are best enjoyed sliced in half with a generous amount of unsalted butter at their center. If you have coarse salt, you can sprinkle your buns right before putting them in the oven for that added salty touch, but it's entirely optional.

I don't know a single person that hasn't been wowed by these buns, a couple of months ago, I posted a picture of them baking in my oven on my Instagram story and my fellow blogger from Trumatter asked me for the recipe and shared it, along with her trademark super gorgeous pictures.

If I remember well, this was the time I realised that this very blog post, written in 2011 was rotting away in my archives, with the most horrendous picture possible and vowed to re-writte and publish it. The problem is each and every time I bake those rolls, they disappear before I get a chance to take a decent picture. My daughter could easily eat her weight in pretzel buns, if that says anything about them.

Oh and if you were wondering how horrendous the original 2011 picture was, here it is, but don't say I didn't warn you :


I remember making these for Ishita's 2nd birthday, I made them bite size because it was a kid's party  and they were a big hit back then as well. Since then, they have made regular appearances at potluck parties, and always vanish very quickly wherever I take them...yes, they are THAT awesome! 

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6 comments

  1. Fantastic and delicious piece of heaven. I can almost feel its melt in the mouth salty taste with butter. Oh, their shape reminds me of the popular children's rhyme video where a man is running around selling buns singing "Hot cross buns, Hot cross buns, one a penny two a penny, hot cross buns", which my son played on loop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah but hot cross buns are worlds apart from that pretzel rolls, to the best of my knowledge, they are a British thing. Those hot cross buns are usually baked around Easter and are a mix of sweet and warm spice flavour, they also contain dry fruits.

      In Switzerland a lot of the pretzel rolls sold are oblong rather than long, and have two parallel slits on top.
      The round buns are usually sold as a "crown" with all of them touching each other in a circular baking tray and do pull apart easily from the "crown" to be eaten individually. When I bring those to a party, I usually make smaller dough balls and cook them in a round baking tray so it does become like a kind of pull apart bread :-)

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  2. Anonymous8:54 PM

    Thanks for this recipe. I made these today. But i did a few changes. I added only one tablespoon of baking soda and also didn't add any butter in the dough. Instead of the milk i brushed it with flavoured melted butter and stil they tasted yummy. One tablespoon of baking soda was enough to get that golden brown crust instead of chocolate brown like yours are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The baking soda is the agent that reacts with the heat to give the color, the more you put, the darker the crust will be. I grew up with the super dark crust, so I wouldn't have it any other way :-)

      The butter in the dough usually makes the bread softer but can be done without. Did brushing the bread with butter make them a bit greasy to the touch?
      The milk wash is only really used to gloss the crust and serves no other purpose. Because the baking process makes the crust dull looking.

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    2. Anonymous6:38 AM

      Yes. All The traditional sils bread have the darker crust like yours but i just thought it would be too much. It wasn't greasy at all like i suspected. The warm buns simply absorbed the butter and gave them a shiny finish too. But instead of the individual buns I'll try making it the log style with two slits next time like the swiss sils bread. Should save a lot of individual time for poaching.

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    3. The Swiss logs are traditionally no longer than the hand to facilitate poaching, a big loaf is going to be tricker to poach.

      Another way of not ending with a dark crust is to brush the baking soda water directly on the bread without poaching. It doesn't seal the moisture in as well, but it does the trick. I used that method to do "pretzel crackers" because dipping each and every one into boiling water would be insanity anyway :-)

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