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Tuesday 18 June 2013

Baking for Beginners: Red Rose Pretzel Rolls

Last week, an email marked URGENT from my housemate:

HM: "Can we make these this weekend?"
Me: "Alien Xenomorph Pretzel Bread Eggs? Sure."
Me, five minutes later: "Hold up: I have an EVEN BETTER idea. Get some flour, yeast, and red food colouring, and meet me in the kitchen at 7."

And thus red rose pretzel buns were born. Con: their name is less geeky. Pro: you don't have to eat green bread. Double-pro: adding food colouring to your baking will make you feel like you're 12 years old. Making pretzels is great fun as you get to dunk your dough into boiling water, and with these you then get to shape them into flowers. Or whatever you decide the finished shape looks like - I'll be honest, gentle reader, some of mine looked like brains where I hadn't shaped them properly. They're all delicious split in two and smothered in butter for breakfast.

Red rose pretzel rolls (makes 6)
You will need:

For the bread:
  • 350g strong white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 250ml warm water
  • 1 tsp red food colouring
 For the dunking:
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
For the topping:
  • Rock salt
Make it!
  1. Add the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and to a bowl and stir in the water until it forms a sticky ball. Drip on the food colouring and fold it in.
  2. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for 10 minutes until it's smooth and stretchy. Add more food colouring drop by drop if it's not red enough. Return to the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave for an hour until it's doubled in size.
  3. Tip the dough out, divide into six pieces, and shape into balls.
  4. Get a large saucepan of boiling water on the go and add the baking soda. Carefully lower each roll into the water on a slotted spoon for around 30 seconds, then pop on the baking tray. They'll turn from hot red to rose pink. 
  5. Put them in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up while you line a tray with baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
  6. Using a kitchen scissors, snip two overlapping Xs on each to divide the top of each into 8 pieces, and carefully pull the segments back to make petals. Sprinkle the rock salt over the top.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the outside is golden brown and the red interior peeks through. Leave on a cooling rack, then present to your beloved / eat them all yourself.


  1. Love the huge flakes of rock salt on the pretzel rolls!

  2. Speaking in my official capacity as Kitchen Overlord, I officially decree that I love this variation.

    I also think you should totally roll with the brains. Sure, of course you meant for some of them to be rose petals and some of them to be zombie fodder. It was all part of your cunning plan from the very start.

    Chris-Rachael Oseland


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