High-Fiber Pretzel Rolls: health with stealth

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Does this look like a high-fiber sandwich roll?

Not from the outside, it doesn’t. But how about inside? Is it dark and dense and grainy, like so many whole-grain breads?

Nope.

And that’s because it’s not whole-grain – but it IS high-fiber.

Excuse me?

Although I’ve never been a whole-grain bread aficionado, I’ve found myself liking a darker, denser alternative to white bread more and more lately. Maybe it’s simply that I’m using our white whole wheat flour, which creates a light-colored, pleasant-textured 100% whole wheat bread.

But, much as I enjoy whole wheat bread some of the time, I still find myself turning to the white breads that fueled my childhood: soft dinner rolls, sandwich loaves, pizza crust.

Still, the “eat healthy” drumbeat always resonates softly in my head: less sugar, less fat, fewer calories, more fiber…

Ah, fiber. Think bran cereal. Whole-grain pasta. Lentils. Brown, browner, brownest.

Sometimes getting more fiber into your diet feels like a penance, doesn’t it? Sure, there’s fiber in some fun stuff, too – berries, for instance. A bowl of oatmeal. An apple. But for the most part, fiber is… well, boring.

That’s why I keep Hi-maize Fiber close at hand while baking my favorite non-fiber white breads. Adding 1/3 to 1/2 cup of this special cornstarch-like ingredient to a typical white bread recipe adds significant insoluble fiber to the loaf – without sacrificing a single bit of flavor, texture, or rise.

I call Hi-maize my stealth weapon – I use it to increase the fiber content of all kinds of bread and rolls, plus pizza crust, and no one is ever the wiser.

No sulking pleas of “This isn’t whole wheat, is it?”

Or, “What’s wrong with this bread?”

(You’ve been there, right?)

I fell in love with the following roll recipe while Charlotte, the woman who creates our Baker’s Catalogue recipes, was testing a version recently for our fall catalogues. She kindly shared her recipe with me, and by adding Hi-maize, plus a couple of twists and turns (literally), I turned the dough into pretzel rolls – high-fiber pretzel rolls, each one checking in with 4g of fiber.

Not a huge amount, admittedly; but better than 0g fiber – which is what you get in your typical white bread.

Fiber aside, though, these rolls simply taste fantastic. Think Philly or NYC soft-pretzel vendor: that familiar aroma wafting from the pushcart; the chewy/soft pretzels, deep golden brown flecked with coarse salt. The flavor – salty crust and bland interior complementing each other beautifully.

These rolls have all of those classic pretzel attributes, and more: fiber.

Yes, you can have your white rolls – and fiber, too. Give these a try; you’ll soon find yourself keeping the Hi-maize close by, for whenever the inevitable white bread urge hits.

High-Fiber Pretzel Rolls, here we come!

Combine the following in a mixing bowl, or the bucket of your bread machine (set on the dough cycle):

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups (17 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup Hi-maize Fiber
2 teaspoons instant yeast

Want to make these rolls without the Hi-maize? Substitute all-purpose flour, increasing the water in the dough to 1 3/4 cups.

Mix and knead — by hand, stand mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a smooth, fairly soft dough. It’ll probably stick to the bottom of the bowl just slightly, if you’re kneading in a stand mixer.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl (or 8-cup measure), and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it’s very puffy.

Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 8 pieces. Pat each piece into a rough log, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes, to relax the dough’s gluten and make it easier to shape the rolls.

Roll each piece of dough into a 16″ rope.

Shape the ropes into tight pretzels, tucking the two ends through the center and squeezing them together underneath. Press the rolls down gently, to flatten.

Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment. Place the rolls on the baking sheet, cover them, and let them rest for 15 minutes.

While the rolls are resting, preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare a water bath by combining 1 1/2 to 2 quarts water (enough to fill the pan about 1 1/4″ deep), 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/4 cup baking soda in a 10″ to 12″ shallow saucepan or deep skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Drop the rolls, 3 or 4 at a time, into the water bath. Cook for 30 seconds; turn over, and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

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Place the rolls back on the baking sheet.

Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake the rolls for 20 to 24 minutes, until they’re a deep golden brown.

Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the pan…

…or transfer to a rack.

Go ahead, enjoy one while it’s still warm. If you’re a fan of yellow mustard, slather it on.

Or even better, slice and stuff with salami and provolone, or your favorite deli sandwich filling.

Close your eyes; you just might believe you’re on 7th Avenue, queuing up with a can of Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray…

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for High-Fiber Pretzel Rolls.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Cindy Leigh

    Perfect for my leftover corned beef.
    Wait, wait, how does anyone end up with leftover corned beef? ;) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  2. Barbara Steimle

    Do you think the recipe could be halved? It looks incredible!

    It certainly can be! Please let us know how the recipe works for you.-Jon

    Reply
  3. Janet

    Oh boy! I make pretzel rolls at least once a week with my unfed sourdough starter so I’m going to adapt this recipe and try it. I’ve never used salt in the boiling water just baking soda. New thing to try! Love the hi-maize flour for adding fiber but have never tried it in my pretzels. Love your blog.

    New things are always fun! Thank you for the love, we certainly appreciate it.-Jon

    Reply
  4. Angi

    I’m so excited to try these…I only had white whole wheat flour around so I used that. The dough is pretty dry so I’m hoping they come out OK in the end. Do you have recommendations for using WWW flour successfully? A million thanks for the recipe! :)
    Hi Angi,
    Any time you want to try WW or WWW instead of AP in a recipe, it is best to do it in stages. Start with 50/50 of each, adjusting liquids etc. as you go along. Keep increasing the WWW until you have a ratio you are happy with, and the right amount of liquid to keep the dough consistency the same. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  5. Bernadette

    I have a very similar recipe for pretzel rolls but I never thought of adding hi-maize flour to it. I do have a little problem forming the dough into the actual pretzel shape and was wondering if you could just leave it in a ball shape? If so, does the dough need to be slashed before boiling? Thanks so much for this recipe and I love King Arthur Flour!!
    Shaping them into pretzels can be difficult. I worked in Munich, Germany and we made a lot of Bretzen year round. I was not rotating through that station during Oktoberfest, fortunately? They need to be shaped in the air for speed and it is just easier. Here are a video you could take a look at it. Yes, you may always choose to shape the dough into rolls and there is not need to slash the dough before boiling. Have fun! Elisabeth

    Reply
  6. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez - SENAC Rio - Petropolis, R.J.-BRAZIL

    Marvelous recipe. Something between Lemon Buns and Bagels!
    I really appreciate both breads. But now, why not give a try on this Pretzel buns????
    One of my favorite breads here is Naan, superb recipe i´d learned here at Kaf´s recipe section. This Pretzel buns looks like that Naans, softly, aired, puffy dough!!
    Lets try them and tell you soon!
    Can’t wait to hear back, Ricardo. I have made our Sourdough Pretzels shaped into what I call pretzel bites. They are really just small enough to resemble a donut hole. My kids have sold them at several lemonade stands and they always do well! Elisabeth

    Reply
  7. Alicia

    Can I use soy milk in these? They look awesome! But I’m off milk right now due to allergies in my nursing son. Or should I just wait until I can have milk again?
    Soy milk should work just fine in this recipe, Alicia. You will love these! Elisabeth

    Reply
  8. Kate

    Hi- These look amazing! Is there a gluten free version of the recipe?
    Not yet! But we will add it to Amy’s list! Elisabeth

    Reply
  9. Diane Weiland

    Oh my goodness, these are sooooo good! Better than a soft pretzel because you don’t have to save the best part (the knot) for last. The whole thing is one giant pretzel knot! Am going to try topping the next batch with KA Everything Bread and Bagel Topping. Thanks King Arthur for another fabulous recipe!

    Reply
  10. Alicia

    I see another Alicia is posting about milk too, haha. So her question was on using soy milk and mine was to be do I have to use dry milk. You answered soy was okay so does that mean the dry milk and the water are just reconstituting to..reg milk and can I just use regular milk instead of water?
    Hello Alicia #2 – Yes, you may use 1 cup of fresh milk in place of one cup of the water and omit the milk powder from the recipe. Do not forget to add the last bit of liquid being 1/2 c water. Have fun with this recipe! Elisabeth

    Reply
  11. Renate

    Just made those, I doubled the recipe and made 2 batches they look and taste great, just one problem, I baked them on parchment paper, just like the picture shows, and the first batch stuck !!! on the paper. I tried to moisten the back of the paper, which helped some, but I was not pleased at all. They look great, just like the picture. My second batch I baked on greased aluminum foil, I was able to peel them right off the foil after baking.
    I am sure to make them again, just bake them on foil!!
    Hmmmm. Did you use our parchment paper, Renate? I am glad you were able to improvise by using foil. Good thinking! Elisabeth

    Reply
  12. Marcy

    I am a very new baker but the pretzel rolls looked so good that I had to try them. I’m glad I did – they came out looking great and tasting even better. I do have one question – the dough was incredibly sticky, although I managed to scrape it into submission. Should I have added more flour? I should add that I used all AP, but did not increase the water from the recipe amount. Anyway, thanks for this.
    Dear very new baker – in this recipe, you can add flour to make the dough easier to work with. We’re proud of you for making the sticky dough work for you! May you continue the happy baking journey. Irene@KAF

    Reply
  13. Ellen Deffenbaugh

    I just made these this morning. They are amazing!!! I used the high-fiber flour as I didn’t have the maize one. I have seen lots of pretzel rolls in the store, and while tempting, they always look stale. I think I have yet another vice. Homemade is soooo much better. Thanks for posting this!

    Reply
  14. Penny

    Hello,
    I was curious if it would it be possible just to brush some of the baking soda liquid onto the rolls rather than putting them into the water bath? I always fail miserably when I try to water bath bread before baking…sigh.
    Thank you for your thoughts,
    Penny

    Penny, you can totally do that, and the rolls will be brown, but they won’t have that pretzel-y texture. Think positively – try the water bath again. Make sure the water is bubbling GENTLY, and try slipping them in and out with a slotted spatula… Good luck! PJH

    Reply
  15. Meg

    I made these having never made pretzels before. I was intimidated by shaping and not having a 10″ or 12″ pan for the water bath. Shaping was so easy – I noted to turn the rolls over after the initial cross to tuck in. They look beautiful. I used my standard 6 qt pot and boiled them two at a time. My pretzels were very brown in 18 minutes so I took them out. These were amazing and will be added to my regular rotation. Gone is my fear of making pretzels, and I doubt I’ll try any other recipe.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Active dry yeasts benefits from being dissolved in liquid before being mixed in bread dough. ~Jaydl@KAF

    2. Skippy

      Thanks for the advice about the yeast! Okay, I made this recipe with so many swaps it will make you wonder why you even bother going to all the trouble of testing your version. But I had dietary issues to contend with as well as a not fully stocked pantry, with too much rain to inspire me to trudge out to the store again.

      I based all the changes on the previous questions and replies in this comments section:

      No dry milk for the vegan audience (including me), I added another half cup of flour for that and an additional 1/4 cup of water. Then I traded one cup of almond milk for 1 cup of water, so I had 1 c. of almond milk and 3/4 cup of water.

      I warmed the almond milk slightly and proofed active dry yeast in that, since I didn’t have instant yeast.

      No butter allowed, so I used two tablespoons of olive oil.

      I am bringing these to a large-ish crowd, so I decided to make 16 smaller rolls rather than 8 big ones.

      And after all that, everything seemed to proceed well. I haven’t tried them yet, but the rolls are the exact same color as the ones in the picture, though my shaping is pretty bad. The only problem I had was that they stuck to the aluminum foil I used to line the pan (sorry, out of parchment). I had greased it, but I think a lot of the water from the baking soda bath got on the sheet and almost glued them in place.

      Thanks again for all your help, and I hope my notes can help someone else.

    3. PJ Hamel , post author

      Skippy, “it takes a village” to create wonderful recipes – thanks so much for sharing your experience here. PJH

  16. Joy Williams

    These look delicious, and I’m usually very satisfied with your recipes, but I’m a bit concerned that this Hi Maize ingredient might be from GMO corn, which I’m really trying to avoid. Any word on that?

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Joy,
      I went to the Hi Maize manufacturer’s website, and this was under their FAQ page:
      Q: Is Hi-maize genetically modified (GM)?
      A: No. Hi-maize has been developed during a 20 year natural plant breeding program and does not contain genetically modified material.

      Hope this helps! ~ MJ

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