Pretzel Rolls (and why I love Costco)

There is a local grocery store here that sells pretzel rolls in the bakery, and my family likes them so much that we always pick up a package when we go. It’s not a place we go to often because it’s more pricy than the other two chains around, but it does have more selection. Anyway, during the last visit, we picked up the 4 pack for the whopping 2.99 (yeah, the price has an ouch factor) and headed home. Later that evening, during dinner, we were HIGHLY disappointed that they were stale and dry!

With Thanksgiving coming up, I’ve been wanting to experiment with different recipes so yesterday I made it my personal quest to find a pretzel roll recipe to replace the store bought ones. We had a pretzel roll bake off, making two very different recipes and taste testing them. I’d like to say we tested them over dinner, but they kept “disappearing” from the pile all day.. Here are the two recipes I used: 1) Bretzel Rolls Bavarian Pretzel Sandwich Rolls and 2) Golden Pretzel Rolls. I didn’t follow either recipe exactly with technique.

First things first, however. Why do I love Costco so much? Which yeast product do you think costs more, the jar or the package?

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The package… I mean seriously the package cost $4.99 at Costco and the jar cost $6.99. I calculated, while being reasonable enough to know that I won’t use all the yeast before it goes bad, and estimated that I would save about $20 this year in yeast alone. This was even cutting quantity in half and calculating based on 16 ounces instead of 32, so If I really felt like baking then we’d save $40 :) A little trick I learned from my Mother-in-Law is that the stuff stores just fine in the freezer, so I just fill my little jar and keep that in the fridge.

My husband was grumbling on our recent Costco trip because the nearest Costco is now 45 minutes away. With a membership renewal up, it added to his frustration and he asked the question “do we really save enough to justify membership cost AND gas?”. So now, as he rolls his eyes, I take the receipts and calculate estimated trip savings. I’ll have to share my breakdown in a another post after our next visit next weekend ;)

Oh yeah! this post is about pretzel rolls not frugal shopping, so back to that. I used my bread maker on dough cycle for both recipes, and with recipe number one, made some modifications for simplicity. First, I didn’t do the whole let the yeast proof in a bowl thing. I just dumped the stuff in my bread maker like I always do, and the dough came out nice and plump. I did follow the knead for 2 minutes, rest for 10, shape and rest for 30 minutes more thing. Another modification is I cut them into 16 rolls instead of 12. I didn’t want sandwich size buns. The final change was I cut the top with a knife after the boiling water and also covered with an egg wash.

They are so cute, aren’t they? BTW, if you don’t have one of the silicon bake mats I recommend getting one. They make baking messing sticky things a breeze and with no extra oiling. Plus you can make chocolate decorations on them.. nothing sticks.

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Recipe two was a little less intensive because there were no rest periods. Instead of using a mixer then resting the dough for 45 minutes, I just threw everything in my bread machine on dough cycle. I love my bread machine :) Then just dumped it out and cut it in 16 pieces. I didn’t understand why they didn’t call for baking soda in the water, so I followed the instructions on recipe number 1 for boiling.

My camera battery died between number one and number two, so the pictures are sub par :(

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So the winner? Well, I think we liked number one as a dinner roll and number two was more chewy like a traditional pretzel. Both had a chewy quality to them, just two was “very chewy”. Matthew liked two the best I think, because those are the ones that kept disappearing.

The next big test is how well they reheat after coming out of the freezer. I made the equivalent to 4 packages of rolls with each recipe with would be $24 worth, and it cost me about $1 in ingredients if that.

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