Continue stirring in flour until dough comes together to form a ball. You might not need all the flour.
Knead dough for 8-10 minutes until dough is soft and supple
Form dough into a large ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled - 1 - 1 ½ hours.
Gently deflate dough and divide into 12 equal pieces
Form each piece into a smooth ball and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with a nonstick spray
Cover with a clean dish towel and allow rolls to rise for 20-30 minutes
While rolls are rising, preheat oven to 425°F and set up a pot with water and baking soda. You want the water at a rolling boil when the rolls have risen.
2 quarts water, ¼ cup baking soda
Place 2-4 rolls in the boiling water. Boil for 30 seconds on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place back on parchment lined baking sheet.
Slice each roll with cross marks with a razor or very sharp knife
Continue with remaining rolls
Sprinkle with coarse salt just before baking, optional
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Bake in preheated 425°F oven for 18-20 minutes
Remove rolls from oven and transfer to a baking rack
Once buns are completely cool, place in an airtight container and store at room temperature
Don't skip the baking soda bath! - This is what creates the pretzel like exterior on these buns.
Do not overcrowd your pot when boiling the buns. Just boil a few at a time.
Watch a clock when boiling. Just 30 seconds per side!
Score the rolls! After you remove the rolls, make your mark! It needs to go deep enough to score through the skin that was formed from boiling. A razor blade works best, but a very sharp knife will work too. When using a knife, I usually make two parallel lines instead of crossed lines. The knife tends to catch when making the second cut, pulling the cross or X apart.
After boiling, the buns will look dimpled and slightly deflated. This is normal.
Adding the coarse salt is optional. If adding, sprinkle on just before placing in the oven.
If freezing or saving the buns to use for later, do not add the salt on top of the buns. The salt dissolves over time and causes the surface of the buns to become wet.
When making mini sized buns, reduce cooking time to 12-15 minutes