The Fresh Loaf

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Pretzel Buns sticking.. driving me nuts!

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adam_dolcebakery's picture
adam_dolcebakery

Pretzel Buns sticking.. driving me nuts!

Hello all.. we are finally getting around to baking wholesale numbers of pretzel hamburger buns (pretzel brioche actually!) yet we are still dealing with the problem of the pretzel buns sticking to the cooling racks we bake them on. Why do we bake on cooling racks? I'll explain..

We are making pretzel brioche and the dough is very, very delicate. We have to proof them on the racks because once they have double in size, we then apply the lye bath to them. The cooling racks allow the lye to drip down into a lexan so we can reuse the lye. We can't at any point touch the buns with a tool or our hands and dip them by hand because the dough is so delicate. If we do, the dough will squash. So we have to leave them on the rack for the proofing process and basting with the lye.

I am going to try a teflon cooling rack but I am unsure if the lye with eat through it or become toxic. We sprayed pan release all over the chrome rack we currently use but we still had sticking. It's driving us nuts and we have people clamoring for these pretzel brioche buns.. any help or advice would be much appreciated. Thank you! :)

MANNA's picture
MANNA

Have you thought about shaping then dipping. Let them proof on sheet pan and bake? Would possibly create a crackle looking crust which maybe a selling point.

adam_dolcebakery's picture
adam_dolcebakery

We tried that and after about 30-45 minutes in the proofer they looked like they had melted lol the steam from the proofer didn't react well with the dipped buns. I found that by simply pouring the lye solution over the buns with cold water worked really well they only stuck. :/ 

Would teflon or a non stick surface handle the lye? Thanks! :)

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

you used flat sheet pans (not a rimmed type)?  After applying the lye bath, the pan could be tilted slightly to drain off the lye solution, but not so much that the rolls would develop a list to one side. 

I don't know whether the proofed rolls are clinging to the cooling rack because a portion of the dough sags between the wires,  If it does, a flat sheet might alleviate that problem.

Paul

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

maybe get a sheet pan and drill a few coin sized holes into them at those places where the rolls don't touch the sheet. You will then be able to dip the sheet into the lye solution and it will effectively drain off. This would be good even with a rimmed pan. After drilling the holes you might want to get a wooden rod bigger than the holes and hammer a couple of times at the hole - this will create a nice slope like in a shower cabin and the solution will drain off even easier.

proth5's picture
proth5

I did lye pretzels (not so long ago...) we had to use parchment with pan release sprayed on it to get a good release. They stick like crazy.

Could you perhaps use that over the racks and just punch a few holes in the parchment to allow the lye to flow down after dipping? The parchment paper should survive a quick dip or however you are applying the lye solution.

Easier than punching holes in sheet metal...

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

you shouldn't punch, you should drill. Sheet pans are usually not very thick and my very recent experience tells me that they should be very easy to drill through with even a run-of-the-mill HSS twist drill bit. Another plus is that once you drill a sheet, you'll be able to use it for a very long time, while punching holes in parchment would be a daily chore.

I still suppose that your method should be superior stick-wise, because there's no guarantee that the rolls won't stick to the sheet anyways :) Maybe try one sheet and see how it goes?

proth5's picture
proth5

was the reason for my suggestion - don't know how good the release would be from even sprayed sheet pans.

Here's an idea on the parchment paper.  If it works - take a stack of sheets and clamp them together - then drill holes through the sheets so that you have produced a couple/three hundred at a time.  Daily chore gone!

The hive mind is a strange and wondeful thing...

isand66's picture
isand66

I used parchment once without spray though and the paper stuck to the bottom of the rolls.  I now use a Silipat sheet and it works perfectly.

MANNA's picture
MANNA

How about using the screens for pizzas? The mesh is closer so it wouldnt allow the buns to sink in as much as cooling racks.

proth5's picture
proth5

stainless steel pizza screens, because that might be a great idea.

All my pizza screens are aluminum, however and that might not do in a lye environment.

MANNA's picture
MANNA

Most of our baking stuff is aluminum. Shouldn't be a problem. It may tun the screens black because of the alkaline reacting with the metal but that wont harm the product or people. I put a half sheet pan in the dishwasher instead of handwashing and it got some black spots due to the dishwasher soap. Black screens are better anyhow, attracts more heat.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

of wax for a non-stick surface?

adam_dolcebakery's picture
adam_dolcebakery

Wow! You guys rule! Thank you so much for your suggestions. I brought a non stick rack to try tomorrow and I love the pizza screens.. didn't know about those! These suckers are so delicate... they're essentially a doughnut. I will keep everyone posted and try to post a pic when they are done. Cheers! 

judsonsmith's picture
judsonsmith

I've heard of bakers brushing on or spritzing on diluted lye solution with an atomizer instead of dipping. Perhaps that would be more time consuming for you though since it sounds like you're making quite a few pretzels.

adam_dolcebakery's picture
adam_dolcebakery

I think my problem is proofing them in the grated pans. When they proof they "grow" into the holes and get stuck. I dunno, I am still going to try these ideas and others until I get it right. This has to happen. It's a feeding frenzy! Here are some pics though:

This grated rack (a normal cooling rack) worked almost. The buns just barely stuck. But still some pulled off. I am going to try and make more today. 

These are some "pull apart" pretzel brioche. These stuck a little too but came out great otherwise. Rolled out a 4 oz little hot dog bun, chopped it into about 6 pieces, then took the pieces and placed them side by side to one another, THEN proofed them which made them stick together. Baked them off, and wham. Perfect little bite sized, pull apart, pretzel loaves. I am making a bunch of them today, just for us to eat. :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

if you proofed them upside down and turned them onto the rack just before dunking.  Swelling would be done on a flat or couched surface.  Some kind of spacers at the corners to prevent squashing may be needed or slipping your fist between the two while inverting.   Then dunking or spraying or brushing with a big soft brush (wall paper paste type) with lye.    ???

adam_dolcebakery's picture
adam_dolcebakery

BOO YA. This pan worked. I sprayed it well with pan release, proofed them, then poured the lye over them. Then I coated them with seeds, etc. It worked. No sticking although I did run out of lye broth as you can see on some of the pull apart loaves. Cheers! 

 

shlegminitism's picture
shlegminitism

What do you call that type of pan that you ended up settling with? Just a perforated pan?  I wouldn't mind looking into some like it. Thanks

adam_dolcebakery's picture
adam_dolcebakery

I saw them in a local supply store. They were pricey. About $25 a piece. Maybe do a search for perforated sheet pans? I don't know the exact name of them but they are so far the only thing that works. Cheers!

rcoplen's picture
rcoplen

I worked in professional bakery and they baked their pretzels on a perferated pan so liquid could drain away!

oregoncrepe's picture
oregoncrepe

We freeze our pretzels/buns/etc on full sheets, take them off then dip  then place on silpats, salt and bake.   Works fine and saves the aluminium.

 

fraupretzel's picture
fraupretzel

Are the pans aluminum or stainless? Aluminum dissolves with lye bath into the bread! 

PetraR's picture
PetraR

Once my * Laugen Bretzel or Broetchen * have proofed on a baking tray that is lined with pachment Paper, I put them in the freezer for 30 minutes before I dip them in Bicarbonate of Soda and place them on another parchment lined baking tray and bake.

I do  have perforated baking trays , 2 of them, but since I do not use lye there is no need for those.

I do not use lye since I found that Bicarbonate of Soda gives me the same good old * Laugen Bretzel * taste that I grew up with in Germany:)