The Fresh Loaf

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An almost perfect Pretzel bake......(Hamelman's "Bread")

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Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

An almost perfect Pretzel bake......(Hamelman's "Bread")

I have blogged about baking Pretzels before and this time I had one concern I wanted to be able to improve on-shape. Turns out two improvements were made and I will need expert baker's help to determine what is responsible for the slight texture change -which in my eyes made them perfect!


So, my previous bakes ended up with Pretzels that rose quite a bit in the oven and due to poor shaping, almost turned more into a pretzel shaped bun, than a Pretzel. The current Pretzels received(in general) superior shaping but also did not have a lot of oven spring. I don't know if that is the reason that the resulting Pretzel is chewier, I don't even know why the oven spring was only moderate- maybe once I elaborate on my procedure you guys can help me figure out what caused the chewiness, because I definitely prefer that over the more airy results I had in the last two bakes. Not that there was anything wrong with the other guys-just a personal preference! Here's the link to the old post ,I guess I only blogged about them once, but this is actually the third try-the second bake was done without sticking the pate fermentee in the fridge and they still turned out, pregnant looking and more airy.


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/16948/pretzel-baking


Procedure this time around:


-I anticipated not being home for the mixture of the dough and gave my husband specific instructions as to what to do. For that reason I prepped as much of it as I could and the flour ended up with a 4 hour, roomtemp(maybe 70) autolyse.


-The pate fermentee ended up not doming and falling until I was back, so I can attest to the quite amazing gluten development the autolysed flour had already, when I started hand mixing the dough


-Bulk fermentation was at about 1 hour 50 minutes......forgot to fold the dough until the last twenty minutes of bulk fermentation-so it got folded close to the end


-pre-shaped into cylinders,rested the dough for about 20 minutes, then shaped the pretzels. the first few still looked like they would end up kind of tight, so I decided I would roll out the long strands of dough , let those relax again for a few minutes and then shape them into pretzels. THAT worked perfect and you will see that some of the pretzels stayed quite open.


-final fermentation about 30 minutes- and no they did not increase by 75 percent-closer to 50%...I REALLY wanted to eat pretzels last night and hurried the poor things along


-fridge time about 30 minutes,then dipped them and baked them about 16-18 minutes


Resulting Pretzels



Now I just have to figure out the right way of storing them. Unfortunately Pretzels are really not good to keep-even the next day they are significantly less crunchy. I should have frozen these as soon as they were cool-maybe it isn't too late yet.


Christina

Comments

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Where's the mustard!  I got some peperoni, if I slice it thin... and the pretzel too...  :P

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

Come on , Mini! Break out your sharp brain and tell me why these are chewier-is it the autolyse? The hurried fermentation? The fact that it is Spring in Chicago? Tell me, tell me........

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Cutting the rise short can make them chewy.  My brain needs a sharpener.  I think you will be doing a batch soon and you can tell us more.


Could be one of two things... the moon or the sun.  (one is cold, one is hot)  I don't quite understand the 4 hour autolyse.  Is that mixed up dough and allowed to bulk rise on its own?  And you mixed the pate fermente into the dough when you got home?  You had a previous bake with cold pate fermente but was this batch made with bread flour?  


The last time I made pretzels was a few years back and it was in China and boiling in soda water.  We would have chewed on anything really.  I'm more for the soft pretzels in big knots.   Extra crispy arms, hmmm, try warming them up again in a hot toaster oven... 2 times baked might do it.  Maybe hubby mixes longer or shorter.  Get him to repeat what he did while you watch and just observe what he does, say nothing.  Find out his secret.


Mini

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

hahaaaa,mini.ok, sorry that my post seemed a bit confusing.


here the clarifications to going straight to your sharpening brain:


-all three times the same flour was used


-4 hour autolyse of flour and water only-then mixing up the dough-bulk rise for the time stated in the original post and so on


-and hubby ended up not getting his hands on the dough at all-i mixed,baked it all on my own


c

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

was pretty much developed when you added the yeast...  interesting...


And with the other batches, the gluten was developed with addition of yeast, possibly loosening the gluten structure?


Sounds good to me, apples and oranges!  Wanna test it?  Do another autolyse but add a tiny bit of the yeast.  It should come out like the first two batches.  Or maybe something inbetween...


Mini

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

thank you, mini!


it seems to me that you are also suggesting i bake them again-hmmmmm? interesting prospect more pretzels..will be right on it!


somehow 16 of these buggers managed to vanish in two days-sounds bit suspicious to me!maybe that calls for two batches-one with yeast less autolyse and with yeasted autolyse...


c

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

wet time on the flour with the long autolyse.  If we add yeast do we have to call it then pretzel poolish?  You might want to wait a week.  

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Begging for some mustard to dip in.

scootertig's picture
scootertig

Are your pretzels actually "crunchy"?  I make them all the time, but never get crunchy on the outside.  I have a bunch of German friends (mostly from Hamburg and surrounding areas, so not Bavarian) who tell me I've got it dialed in, but I keep hoping for a thicker outer layer.


Using lye gives me the perfect flavor and color, but I'm wondering what I'm missing for the texture...

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

hmmm, my pretzels do not have a thick crust, but a thin crunchy crust. not as crunchy as let's say french bread, but,well, yeah crunchy.


and of course the thin arms are crunch heaven. i have no idea what you would need to do differently-you are bakign them in a dry oven,yes?


c

scootertig's picture
scootertig

Thanks for the response!  Yes, I'm doing them in a dry oven (do I need to add steam?).   I dip in boiling lye (4 oz lye/1 gal water), and then bake in a 500 degree oven for 10-ish minutes.  I would not describe mine as anything like crunchy.


I don't have Hamelman's book, so I guess that'll have to be a starting point.  I've been using Jeff Renner's recipe (easily found via Google, I'm sure).


In spite of the compliments I've been getting over the last 4 years, I've still never really been happy with the results, so I'm really interesting in doing (almost) anything I can to make them taste more like I know they should.  Of course, it doesn't help any that I don't have anyone around who's made them before, so there's nobody to give me pointers.  That's why I'm glad I found your post!  Maybe I can pick up some good tips...

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

well, i dip mine in cold lye-lye pellets mixed into cold water....maybe that would make a difference?and no, no steaming needed!


i will look around for any additional info, too. if i find anything helpful i will post it here


c


edited to add: do you refrigerate the pretzels after the final proof in order to allow for skin formation ?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

not a hot lye bath?


Oh that is so funny.  I have to laugh at myself, LOL!   I thought I had to dip them like bagels in hot liquid.  Where in the world did I get that idea from?


Mini

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

I don't know where you got that idea-I feel like I read it somewhere,too, to use hot lye. But in Hamelman and another site http://www.andreas-boerner.de/kulinarisches/laugengebaeck_de.php?s=lauge
it does not say to heat the lye bath.
C

LindyD's picture
LindyD

You were completely correct, Christina.  Check page 270 of Bread and you'll see the following in the sidebar:  



Sodium hydroxide (lye) pellets, mixed slowing and carefully in the dipping tank at the rate of 4 ounces  lye (by weight) to 1 gallon cold water...



Great looking pretzels!

scootertig's picture
scootertig

I know that the Jeff Renner recipe suggests a "simmering" lye bath, and that the one time I tried a cold lye dip, I didn't get the color I wanted, but I'll give it another shot.


I just picked up a copy of Hamelman's book, so I may try it this weekend (or sooner!).


Now I need to find a reliable way to par bake these so that I can prep them in advance, but still have them "hot from the oven" on a shorter timeline.  I'll report back on the cold lye...

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

they can be frozen.  I can buy them frozen here all the time! (Ööps!  I better come up with some creative looking ones or someone might think I storebought my blog entry.)


The instructions say to preheat oven to 200°C convection or 220°C to 240°C for upper & lower heat.  Spread out frozen pretzels on parchment and thaw about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and bake 15-16 minutes to goldbrown.  That's for the thicker ones.  Skinny ones would be done sooner.  I just thought this might come in handy.


I remember a warning about adding baking soda to hot water too quickly, it can foam over!  It was a different recipe using soda.  That could be where the idea of heating the solution came from.  Boy am I glad!  Heat would make it complicated. 


I also find recipe discrepancies in timing, some use 10 sec some say to wait until they float at 30 seconds which seems to be the maximum "bath time."


Here I have to look for "Natriumhydroxid" pellets.


Mini