I thinking this would also work as those little soft pretzel "nuggets".....less shaping and will probably cook in half the time! Good appetizer for the upcoming football season!
2nd update - Just received a text from my husband; "I ate all the pretzels...."
Update - I purchased two bags of store bought pre-made pizza dough from our local market. I checked the ingredients and saw no evidence of olive oil or extra sweeteners (basic flour, yeast, sugar, salt). This dough is made from a local bakery and I think would work much better than a mass produced product (Pillsbury) as it's closer to homemade.
I cut each round of dough into eight pieces and formed eight "pretzel buns" and eight "traditional pretzels". The traditional pretzel shape was a little more difficult to form, as the dough was still cool and quite elastic. Still, I tried my best but probably won't be getting job offers from Auntie Anne's any time soon.
I let the rolls and pretzels sit on a parchment lined cookie sheet, covered lightly with plastic wrap, for about 25 minutes while I preheated the stove and prepped the par boil station. In hindsight, I should have left the dough out much longer (45 min?) or in a warmer spot (not next to an open window) to let them poof up (technical term) a bit more.
I set a 4 quart sauce pot on my stove and filled it (about 4 inches from the top) with water and stirred in about 3 tablespoons of baking soda. While waiting for that to boil, I preheated the oven to 450.
Starting with the rolls, I dropped each dough ball one at a time into the (rolling boil) boiling water. Let them float around for about 45 seconds, scooped them out with a slotted spoon and then put them back onto the parchment lined sheet. When they were all boiled, I brushed them with melted butter and sprinkled some maldon salt on each.
I baked them for about 18 minutes (I was going for a nice brown color) but 20 minutes wouldn't have hurt (the rolls were a little more "meaty" than the pretzels).
I repeated the process with the pretzels (I let them boil a bit longer - for about 1 minute each - no significant change) and baked them off for 18 minutes.
While the hubs said they weren't EXACTLY the same as homemade pretzels (we have an avid baker in the family who specializes in homemade pretzels and rolls) he said they were VERY close and polished off about four of them before they could fully cool down.
Overall - A bit heavier than your standard soft pretzel, but there wasn't any of that ciabatta/pizza crust texture that I was worried about. They didn't get that deep dark brown of a SuperPretzel, but the flavor and texture was verrrry close to an Auntie Anne's or mall pretzel. So close in fact, I don't think I'll ever make pretzel dough from scratch again! (and I don't think most people could tell the difference!) Also, time from start to finish was about an hour (maybe an hour and a half if I had properly let the dough poof up).
Here are a few snapshots of the pre-boiled/pre-baked pretzels and the final product.
I'll be trying tonight. Going to take a crack at traditional pretzels and also pretzel rolls for some burgers tomorrow night.
I read through various homemade pizza dough and homemade pretzel dough recipes online, and it seems that both are very similar. The only real difference (other than pizza dough occasionally having the addition of some olive oil) is the par-boil in baking soda / water before baking (to create the signature soft pretzel crust).
Therefore, can I purchase a bag of pre-made refrigerated pizza dough, shape it into pretzels, par boil and bake - resulting in faster, less-mess, homemade soft pretzels?
In theory, it makes sense. Has anyone ever tried this?