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Summer must haves: Pretzel buns and beyond meat

So it’s already August, but summer’s not over yet. You’ve got almost two months left to get your grillin’ on! If you’ve been less than pleased with those cheap store bought buns you’ve been forced to consume so far this season, fear not! I have what you need. These will be cheap, these will have fewer than twenty-two ingredients (eigh to be exact), and they will impress!

You’ve made your own bean burgers plenty of times, but now it’s time to step up to the plate and make not only a bun, but the coveted pretzel bun. Ten times tastier than the average bun, the pretzel bun combines the nostalgia of summer baseball games with the ability to pile as many pickles, onion, lettuce, tomato, and condiments onto your Gardein burger as you can.

For this post I also wanted to showcase an exciting new vegan product that recently hit the shelves at Strawberry Fields in Urbana. Beyond Meat is a chicken-style faux meat that might creep out hardcore vegans due to it’s amazingly convincing taste and texture. And those new to veganism may thank the gods for this answer to their poultry prayers. So far there are three styles of the faux chicken: grilled, seasoned, and unseasoned. Also coming out soon is a Beyond Eggs line (a different, but like-minded company with sustainability in mind) that has Jeremiah reminiscing about his single days, eating nothing but scrambled eggs morning, noon, and night.

To top our amazing pretzel buns, we shredded the unseasoned Beyond Meat, which come in about 1-inch by 3-inch strips. Then we mixed it with Organicville BBQ sauce. To add that crunch I like on my sandwiches, I shredded some purple cabbage and a carrot and mixed them with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Jeremiah said it reminded him of one of his favorite dishes at Black Dog back in his omnivore days.

So now you have the tools to create a most delicious and unique bun. Hopefully your friends will continue inviting you to their barbeques, even though you insist on getting your burgers on the grill first before it gets slathered in a myriad of animal juices.

Pretzel Buns

Found in VegNews magazine (July/August 2013)

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 ½ cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • ½ cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 T olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 6 cups water, for boiling
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp coarse salt

In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit 5 minutes, until frothy. In a large bowl, combine flour and vital wheat gluten. Add salt and oil to yeast mixture stir until dissolved.

Add two cups flour mixture to yeast mixture and stir together. Slowly add remaining flour until dough is slightly sticky. On a clean, floured surface, knead dough until elastic, about ten minutes. Dust with more flour if still sticky.

Form dough into a ball and place in a well-oiled bowl, coating all sides of dough. Cover with a damp towel and let sit one hour in a warm place, until dough is doubled in size.

On a floured surface, knead dough for three minutes until smooth. Cut dough into eigh pieces and roll into balls and flatten slightly. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, cover with a damp towel, and let rise for fiftenn minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large pot boil six cups water. Slowly add baking soda.

Gently add two or three dough balls to boiling water. Boil dough balls for thirty seconds, then flip and boil another thrity seconds. Remove from water and place back on parchment, continue with the rest. Once all buns have been boiled, cut two slits on the top of each bun and sprinkle them with a bit of coarse salt.

Bake buns for 14-16 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Cut with a serrated knife and enjoy. They are best warm and freshly made.

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