How to Make Pretzel Biscuits with Erika Council of Bomb Biscuits Atlanta
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This cross between a biscuit and a pretzel is the genius comfort food creation we've all been waiting for.
What happens when you combine the mouthwatering flavor of a soft pretzel with a tender, flaky homemade biscuit? You get a comfort food crossover that combines the best of two worlds: swinging by an Auntie Anne’s on a mall trip and rolling up to breakfast in Grandma’s kitchen. World, meet pretzel biscuits.
We have Erika Council of Atlanta, Georgia to thank for this creation. While she bakes close to 600 biscuits professionally each week for her pop-up shop Bomb Biscuit Atlanta, Erika makes time to invent new variations of biscuits to delight her family at home. To them, she’s known as a “biscuit Jedi.”
Biscuit making has always been a family affair for Erika. Her late grandmother, Mildred Cotton Council, opened the southern institution Mama Dip’s Kitchen. “You get a basket of biscuits with every meal,” she says. “On my mom’s side, too, we made biscuits all the time—it was just something I was always exposed to.”
Carrying on the family tradition, her inventive pretzel biscuit recipe was inspired by her 8-year-old. “My son loves biscuits, but he also really loves pretzels,” she says. They can never pass by an Auntie Anne’s without stopping to grab one. “I wanted him to love me as much as he loves Auntie Anne’s.”
On her journey to find the perfect pretzel-biscuit hybrid, the key for her was to find a recipe that used everyday ingredients. (Read: no lye, an alkali that’s usually used in pretzels, but can be dangerous if used incorrectly.) After some research, she found the best way was to upgrade her biscuits with a simple pretzel wash that utilizes baking soda, water, egg wash and pretzel salt. When brushed onto the biscuits, you get that pretzely flavor that comes pretty darn close to an Auntie Anne’s treat.
Craving one? We thought so. Here’s how to pretzel-wash biscuits at home for your family.
Pretzel Biscuit Recipe
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour. Erika recommends White Lily flour.
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons shortening, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/8-inch slices
- 1-3/4 cup buttermilk, chilled
- 1/2 cup water
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 egg, beaten plus 1 teaspoon water
- Pretzel salt or coarse salt
Step 1: Start Your Biscuit Mix
First, adjust your oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 450ºF. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Next, cut the chilled shortening into the flour mix. Erika recommends getting hands-on with the process by breaking the chunks with your fingertips. Continue until only pea-sized pieces remain. Cut the butter in using the same technique. Once you’re happy with the results, place the mixture into the freezer for about 15 minutes.
Editor’s tip: Don’t skip the chill time. One of our best tips for how to make flaky biscuits is to keep the dough cold while working with it.
Step 2: Add the Wet Ingredients
Add the buttermilk to the chilled flour mixture. Using a fork, stir the mixture until the ingredients are combined. No dry flour should be visible. The dough should start to form into a ball, though it will remain sticky and a bit shaggy.
Step 3: Knead and Fold
Time for the fun part! Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, adding additional flour as needed. With floured hands, pat the round into a rectangle that’s about ¼-inches thick.
Fold the dough into thirds, then, lifting the short end, fold into thirds again to form a rectangle. Dust with flour as needed. Repeat the folding process once more, patting the dough to form a ½-inch thick rectangle.
Editor’s tip: One of our Test Kitchen’s favorite accessories to have in the kitchen is a bench scraper. This isn’t just to clean up sticky messes from the counter, but it also helps to have a measuring tool to ensure your dough has reached perfect thickness.
Step 4: Cut the Biscuits
Cut the dough using a 2-inch round biscuit cutter. Re-form your scraps to ensure every bit of dough gets used.
Place the biscuits 1-inch apart on a greased baking sheet and chill until your pretzel wash is ready.
Erika’s tip: For perfect rounds, firmly press down the cutter instead of twisting. Twisting the biscuit dough can seal off the edges, preventing your biscuits from rising.
Step 5: Add the Pretzel Wash
Bring ½ cup water to a boil and slowly stir in the baking soda. The mixture should start to foam. Remove from the heat and continue stirring. Brush the tops of each biscuit with the soda wash.
In a small bowl, beat an egg with the additional teaspoon of water to form an egg wash. Brush this over your soda wash for the perfect golden-brown glow. Sprinkle salt over the tops of your batch of biscuits.
Erika’s tip: Feel free to skip the egg wash. You can also fix any mistakes by brushing the tops of the biscuits with melted butter.
Step 6: Bake and Enjoy
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the top of the biscuits are a deep golden brown. Remove biscuits from the oven and cool slightly before serving.
Erika says these biscuits are best eaten the day of—though by how delicious they look and taste, we bet you’ll not have to think twice about gobbling them up.
More Creative Biscuit Ideas
The biscuit upgrades don’t stop at a pretzel wash. There are so many ways to add your own spin a basic biscuit recipe.
- Make it savory: Add ingredients like cooked ham, green onion, cheese or spices to the dough mixture. This recipe for Ham and Green Onion biscuits is a good place to start, and our Easy Cheesy Biscuits always delight.
- Turn it into dessert: Erika enjoys transforming simple biscuits into shortcakes with help from whipping cream and fresh fruit. Try it at home with this recipe for Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake.
- Make a homemade spread: A simple homemade spread can take any biscuit from good to great. Try pairing apple butter with your next batch.
Note: Recipes submitted by our trusted contributors are created and tested in their kitchens.