This feature is sponsored by KitchenAid, who is letting us play every day in the TasteSpotting Kitchen with the full suite of stand mixer attachments.
I fancy myself a healthy person.
I run. I eat quinoa. I do the whole five servings of fruits and vegetables a day thing. In many ways, I’m the picture of good health — a model to be emulated and extolled.
Except, of course, for my vicious addiction to salt.
Growing up, I was never really a prodigious salter. I took my salting cues from my mother who only used it on meat, potatoes and buttered ears of corn on the cob. I was horrified when I got to college and saw my then roommate dusting everything on her dinner plate with a sodium shower (in her defense, our dorm food was rather… bland).
“Can you believe how much salt Holly uses?” I whispered to our mutual friends, my eyebrows arched with alarm.
At the time, I was sure that she was killing her kidneys with her excessive salting.
After graduating from both school and my homemade meals of grilled cheese and pasta with runny marinara sauce, my opposition to salting slowly began to whither away. As I spent more time in the kitchen, I began using the salt shaker with increased regularity — even using it when cooking my morning oatmeal to “bring out the flavor.” Of what, I’m not sure, since oats don’t have much flavor at all.
Today, I salt nearly everything — tops of cookies, soup that already contains my entire daily allotment of sodium, butter I smear over warm slices of bread, and that poor incredible edible egg (ideally one that hasn’t been recalled).
Salting one’s eggs is not particularly revolutionary. It’s actually a very normal and reasonable thing to do. Everyone salts their eggs. I imagine even saints and monks do it. But not everyone salts their eggs like I salt my eggs.
I salt them in the pan, I salt them on my plate, I salt them when they are jiggling on my fork and headed like an airplane into my mouth…
My collegiate self would be so very very appalled.
Recently, however, I’ve discovered a more practical (and, incidentally, addictive) way of salting my eggs.
With a pretzel roll.
To sodium fiends like me, the pretzel roll is the perfect carbohydrate. Aside from being satisfyingly dense and chewy and everything one wants and needs in a roll, there is salt baked both into the dough and sprinkled over the top. Two applications of my favorite seasoning?
This is very much a win, win.
After my discovery of this glorious specimen of flour, yeast, water, butter, salt and more salt, it was only inevitable that I would put two and two together and combine it with that incredible edible salmonella-free egg I’ve been abusing. I found a recipe, high-tailed it to my KitchenAid® Stand Mixer, slapped on that fabulous dough hook that does all that pesky kneading for me, and set about whipping up a batch of my very own kidney killers.
The process of making pretzel rolls is really no different than making regular bread or buns. The dry and wet ingredients are kneaded together using the aforementioned KitchenAid dough hook, the dough is set aside to rise, divided and shaped into individual rolls, and, finally, set aside to rise again.
At this juncture, the risen rolls take a brief detour before heading into the oven to bake their little hearts out. They need to be lightly poached in a rolling boil bath of baking soda and water so they brown properly and develop that signature chewy texture that is not all that different from a bagel.
Post-poach, it’s smooth sailing to salt heaven. Once the rolls have been shepherded into and out of the oven, shallots are caramelized in balsamic vinegar, spinach is sautéed, an egg is fried in a pat of sizzling butter, and a still-warm pretzel roll is sliced and slathered with goat cheese.
To some, it might be the perfect eat-on-the-go breakfast sandwich for a day when a granola bar just won’t cut it.
For me — the debaucherous egg-abuser whose hands quiver when there isn’t a salt shaker in one of them — it’s quite possibly the most perfect sandwich in existence. It’s my multivitamin of the day.
I can even count the spinach as one of my daily five servings of fruits and vegetables.
I’m the model of good health, I tell you. The model of good health.
Fried Egg Pretzel Roll Sandwich
Fried Egg Pretzel Roll Sandwich Ingredients:
1 pretzel roll (see recipe below)
1 shallot, sliced into thin rings
Handful of spinach
Salt, pepper to taste
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Fried Egg Pretzel Roll Sandwich Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add a teaspoon of olive oil. Add the shallots, reduce heat and sauté until tender and translucent (approximately 10 minutes). Add the balsamic vinegar and spinach and continue sautéing until spinach is wilted and liquid has evaporated. Set aside on a paper towel to absorb any excess liquid.
Slice pretzel roll in half, and toast halves in oven until warmed through and lightly toasted. Remove, smear the top half with goat cheese, and then place back in the oven while preparing egg.
Wipe the nonstick pan clean and then reheat to medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add a pat of butter (1 teaspoon usually does the trick) and then fry egg according to preference adding salt and pepper as desired. Place egg on non-goat cheese side of roll, top with spinach and shallots, then cover with top of roll.
Pretzel Rolls Recipe
Pretzel Roll Ingredients:
For the dough:
¾ cup warm water (110°F or comfortably warm to the touch)
1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the poaching and glazing:
¼ cup baking soda
Large saucepan of water
1 egg, lightly beaten
Pretzel salt (feel free to improvise with sesame seeds and rock salt)
Pretzel Roll Directions:
Make dough: Combine the water and the yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer and let rest 5 minutes until foamy.
Add the remaining ingredients (sugar, flour, salt, butter) and mix with the dough hook until thoroughly combined; the dough comes together and is rather silky – but not sticky – to the touch.
First Rise: Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
Shape: Punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or Silpat mats. Cut the dough into 8 pieces, roughly 2 ounces each. To shape, take a piece of dough and start forming a nice round, smooth ball by pulling the sides to the center and pinching to seal. By doing this, you’re creating a smooth skin around the dough ball.
Place, pinched side down, on a counter and lightly cupping your hand around the dough ball, rotate your hand in small circles lightly rolling the ball around the palm of your hand.
Space evenly on the prepared sheet pans, pinched seam side down, leaving at least 1” between each roll.
Second Rise: Cover with a tea towel or a light film of plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled.
Preheat oven to 425°F and place oven racks on the lowest and middle positions.
Poach: In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a low boil. Add the baking soda and lower heat to a simmer. Carefully slip the rolls into the poaching liquid, seam side down. Poach for 30 seconds then carefully turn the roll over in the liquid. Poach other side for 30 seconds then remove with a spider or slotted spoon to the same prepared sheet pans, seam side down.
Repeat with the remaining rolls, leaving at least 1” between rolls for baking.
Glaze: With a pastry brush, glaze each roll completely with the lightly beaten egg making sure to coat all sides completely. Top each roll with a sprinkle of pretzel salt (or sesame seeds/rock salt). With a sharp straight edged knife, cut a slash or “X” in the top of each roll.
Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking – top to bottom, front to back – for even browning.
Rolls are best eaten on day of baking, but they store pretty well in the freezer, tightly wrapped. Reheat in a damp paper towel for 30 seconds in the microwave.