Author Topic: Pretzel Crust?  (Read 18066 times)

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Offline norma427

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2010, 11:30:17 PM »
Norma, from your account of how he describes using this "powder" it sounds like NaOH. I don't know what else it could be. If it were baking soda or any kind of bicarbonate powder, I don't think gloves would be necessary. The reasoning for using warm water is to aid in dissolving the crystals when preparing the solution. The issue here is people tend to add it too fast to water when dissolving. That is the same info that came with the stuff I bought from abel and schafer.

Even if they say it isn't NaOH, I certainly would not smell it because if it's any stong base, it is bad for your lungs if inhaled. The easiest way I think you could test this is when you dissolve it use room temperature water. It will take longer to dissolve, but if it's NaOH or a strong base, it will generate heat and warm the water upon dissolving. You should be able to feel this heat by touching the side of the bowl. (Don't touch the solution!) You could also use a laboratory grade thermometer to see the temperature of the solution increase. It should still dissolve in the concentations being used for pretzel making even in room temperature water, it will just take longer and need occaisional stirring. This won't conclusively make it NaOH, but I don't see what else it could be.

When you dissolve this powder, sprinkle it in slowly, don't just drop a bunch of it in the water at once.

DNA Dan,

Since you know all about the  NaOH, I will try to see if I can see the container it comes in.  Thanks for the advise about handling it.  :)  I was wondering if you know how people can be in a place all day that uses this chemical in their water?  I could see the steam coming from the conveyor where the soft pretzels get their dunk.  In the place at the market I am at, they have a smaller conveyor that is about 6'x10'.  The building isn't that big and the place they make soft pretzels is small. 

Thanks for your information,

Norma
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Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2010, 07:05:05 PM »
Yeah I agree with you. I can't imagine they'd have a hot steaming NaOH bath in such a small place. In theory the steam would just be water vapor, but the concentration would increase as the water evaporated unless they were constantly keeping the water at a certain level. Who knows? The suspense is killing me. I hope you figure out what they are using. I would be interested in a less hazardous approach to this. 

Offline norma427

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2010, 09:17:28 PM »
Yeah I agree with you. I can't imagine they'd have a hot steaming NaOH bath in such a small place. In theory the steam would just be water vapor, but the concentration would increase as the water evaporated unless they were constantly keeping the water at a certain level. Who knows? The suspense is killing me. I hope you figure out what they are using. I would be interested in a less hazardous approach to this. 

DNA Dan,

I did get to talk to the soft pretzel man today and found out what he is using.  He gave me some and I wrote it down what the name of it was, but I put the paper somewhere this morning and right now I don't know where it is.  I will take a picture of the stuff tomorrow and see if I can find the paper.  When he reached into the plastic bag to get some he wasn't wearing gloves.  He just used a ceramic coffee cup and poured some in a brown bag for me.  He said to be careful with it and not get it wet, until I am ready to use it. 

Don't let the suspense kill you.  :o

I will post more, tomorrow.

Norma
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Offline norma427

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2010, 11:42:43 PM »
DNA Dan,

Well I think I have just found out about this mystery.  ::)

I just found my paper where I wrote the name of the chemical on.  It said Sodium hydroxide (caustic soda).  I looked on the web and see that it is NAOH.  You can see by the pictures I just took, that it looks like pretzel salt.  I guess this isnít going to be your solution.  :(

I am going to try and use it to make some pretzels.  If I find time this weekend, I will try it.

When I think about what the soft pretzels man was telling me today, it makes me wonder if people even know what they are dealing with.  He also said it was food quality.  I asked him how the pretzels wouldnít have the stuff on after baking. He said when the pretzels are baked, then it is okay.  He also told me it is illegal to use lye. Isnít this almost the same thing?  In his pretzel place  they hand twist the pretzels and then it goes down a conveyor into the dunk and then they bake the soft pretzels in a big oven.  At his motherís stand there is an oven at the other side of the dunk.

Norma
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Offline norma427

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2010, 08:09:46 AM »
I  tried to look what kind of wheat flour was used in making the soft pretzels, but all the 50 lb. bags where turned over.  I saw there were 50 lb. bags of brown sugar, so I guess they also use brown sugar in making the soft pretzels.  The bags that had the sodium hydroxide in where plastic white bags with blue lettering. It looked like the bags were about 20 lbs. When I go back there again, I will try again to see what kind of wheat flour they use.

From Wikipedia:   

German pretzels are poached in a boiling sodium carbonate solution or cold sodium hydroxide solution before baking, which contributes to their unique crust.

From Wikipedia: Sturgis Pretzel House

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturgis_Pretzel_House

This History article is interesting how they learned to make pretzels from a hobo. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Sturgis Pretzel House is only about 20 minutes away from me.

Norma
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Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2010, 01:19:07 AM »
Yeah I have seen too many times some businesses and restaurants go through the motions of what has been handed down to them, without really understanding just what they are doing. NaOH isn't THAT toxic, the real hazard is when it gets wet. Especially in your lungs, eye, mucous glands, etc. Sodium Hydroxide is a strong base and when it's dissolved in water, it feels like a soapy solution. You can rinse it off your skin and it takes a lot of water and rinsing to feel like it's fully neutralized. It's probably up on the hazard list with pool acid. It will dissolve your skin if given enough time, but it's also harder to rinse off.

In regard to Lye, also from Wikipedia -->  "Lye is used to cure many types of food, such as lutefisk, green olives, canned mandarin oranges, hominy, lye rolls, century eggs, pretzels, zongzi (Chinese glutinous rice dumplings), and Chinese noodles. In the United States, food-grade lye must meet the requirements outlined in the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC),[2] as prescribed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).[3] Lower grades of lye are commonly used as drain openers and oven cleaners and should not be used for food preparation.[3][4] Lye is a strong alkali, producing solutions of about pH 13.0."

Historically lye was potassium hydroxide (KOH) and the term "lye" is considered a "common chemical name" referring to a strong corrosive alkali. In other words "lye" is not a descriptive chemical name. It would be the equivalent of using the term "Dog" instead of german shepard, collie, bassett hound, etc. Anyway lye was traditionally made from potash and used to make soaps and bleaching compounds in antiquity. I think the reason they ban the use of this stuff primarily in food production is because it's better to use the actual chemical name, such as sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. If you say "lye" it could mean either. Also in todays world, "Lye" is used as a drain cleaner and the purity is not food grade. When you consider the usage of the word "Lye", there is confusion on what it actually is you're using, plus there is a stigma attached to it that it's a lower purity chemical (drain cleaner).

One comment you made raised a big red flag with me. You mentioned it looks like pretzel salt. If you think this, so might others. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make sure you store it in an airtight container that is properly labeled! Personally, I store mine in a properly labeled container "CAUTION NaOH, DO NOT GET WET" also NOT in the kitchen. Reason being is if someone does mistake it for salt, they will be cooking a toxic meal and ingest it. You are now aware of the hazards, but its the friends and family that come over to cook and mistake it for salt that may be unsuspecting. Make sure people in your house know what it is.

If you read that other thread you'll see that the NaOH ruined my cookie sheets. What I do now is I use baking parchment. I make up the sodium hydroxide solution then I have a big bent flat spoon with holes in it. I put my pretzel on the spoon, give it a dip, raise it to drain the excess, then slide it off on to the paper. This has worked really well for me. You could probably also use a big wide slotted spatula. As for disposal, it's all about diluting it with lots of water. Remember to do it slowly, adding more and more water, then dump the bowl and run the water in the house a bit. I haven't had any issues with my plumbing but then again it isn't metal. Good luck and post pics when you make em!
« Last Edit: March 18, 2010, 01:23:21 AM by DNA Dan »

Offline norma427

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2010, 09:03:41 AM »
DNA Dan,

Thank you for telling me all the precautions when using the NaOH.  I already have it away from my food and will label it.  I appreciate you spending the time to explain what lye is. 

When I was at the pretzel bakery I noted they did use parchment paper on the baking sheets, before they put them into the big Blodgett ovens.  I do have some stainless steel baking sheets and also a stainless steel slotted spoon, so I will use them.  Since I  recall how the other pretzel bakery in Ephrata had the candy kettle and the simmering solution, I am almost positive they are using the same sodium hydroxide.  Both of these pretzels bakeries have been operating for over 50 years.

Do you have any idea of how much of the sodium hydroxide solution I should use when I try to make pretzels? About how much sodium hydroxide to water ratio?

I will try basically the same recipe that I tried when making the pizza crust and pretzels at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10286.msg91547.html#msg91547 I might try replacing some of the KAAP with wheat flour.  Since that recipe had brown sugar, I will start from there.

There are many Auntie Anneís soft pretzels places around here, so when I go there again I will try and see what they do with their soft pretzels.  I am almost sure they wouldnít be using the
sodium hydroxide to dip their pretzels.  They have many teenagers working at these places and they are world wide.  There is another place at the flea market that also makes hand rolled soft pretzels.  If it is a rainy day sometime, I will try and get over there and see what they do.  I donít think they are using the sodium hydroxide.  Their building is only about 8'x10'.  It is located next to a funnel cake stand I used to own.  I know they used occident flour, but not the other ingredients.  I also know Amish people that run a soft pretzel stand at another market.  I will talk to them and see what they use.  I know they make some great soft pretzels that they roll around hot dogs or small sausages and also some with ham and cheese inside. Maybe there will be another solution.

I will post pictures when I try the soft pretzels.

Thanks,

Norma
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Offline norma427

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #27 on: March 18, 2010, 01:02:17 PM »
DNA Dan,

I talked to the Amish people that have a soft pretzel stand at another market.  They told me they just use baking soda, about 1 tablespoon in a bowl of warm water and then dunk the pretzel dough into the solution.  They also said to use All purpose flour and brown sugar. 
I will try these two methods when I make the soft pretzels.

Norma
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Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2010, 01:14:08 PM »

Do you have any idea of how much of the sodium hydroxide solution I should use when I try to make pretzels? About how much sodium hydroxide to water ratio?

I will try basically the same recipe that I tried when making the pizza crust and pretzels at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10286.msg91547.html#msg91547 I might try replacing some of the KAAP with wheat flour.  Since that recipe had brown sugar, I will start from there.



The recipe I have calls for a 3-4% NaOH solution. This means weight by weight or volume by volume. Since the NaOH is in solid form, it's easiest to just use 100 grams of water and 3-4 grams of sodium hydroxide(Weight by weight). You can scale this up if you need more volume. I try to use a glass bowl that is just a little bigger than my pretzels and deep. This way I don't have to make as much solution to fully dip the pretzels (otherwise you're just wasting the stuff). This also depends if you have a deep "dipper" or are using a spatula, it may be easier in a shallow pan, but you'll need more volume. I feel a litte safer handling it in a bowl that is not full to the rim. I don't think at this concentration it will etch glass, but I would do your dipping then dispose of it. Definitely would not store as a liquid.

The mix from Abel and Schafer has you make the dough, let it rise, roll out the preztels, then let them "retard" in the fridge uncovered so they dry out. This makes a dry outer surface and creates a dried skin, so when you dip in NaOH just prior to cooking, you get that outer chewy skin that pretzels are known for. The preztzels feel pretty "leathery" just prior to going in the dip. You may also find that any recipe that has brown sugar in it will be uncalled for with the sodium hydroxide. I think those recipes are more akin to Auntie Annie's where NaOH is not used and the sugar is needed to create a sweetness and brown surface. With the NaOH you'll get plenty of browness just from a regular dough. I think you'll find it produces a color, flavor and texture that is nearly impossible to duplicate with something else, which is why the technique continues to be used today. Good luck!

Offline norma427

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #29 on: March 18, 2010, 01:25:29 PM »
The recipe I have calls for a 3-4% NaOH solution. This means weight by weight or volume by volume. Since the NaOH is in solid form, it's easiest to just use 100 grams of water and 3-4 grams of sodium hydroxide(Weight by weight). You can scale this up if you need more volume. I try to use a glass bowl that is just a little bigger than my pretzels and deep. This way I don't have to make as much solution to fully dip the pretzels (otherwise you're just wasting the stuff). This also depends if you have a deep "dipper" or are using a spatula, it may be easier in a shallow pan, but you'll need more volume. I feel a litte safer handling it in a bowl that is not full to the rim. I don't think at this concentration it will etch glass, but I would do your dipping then dispose of it. Definitely would not store as a liquid.

The mix from Abel and Schafer has you make the dough, let it rise, roll out the preztels, then let them "retard" in the fridge uncovered so they dry out. This makes a dry outer surface and creates a dried skin, so when you dip in NaOH just prior to cooking, you get that outer chewy skin that pretzels are known for. The preztzels feel pretty "leathery" just prior to going in the dip. You may also find that any recipe that has brown sugar in it will be uncalled for with the sodium hydroxide. I think those recipes are more akin to Auntie Annie's where NaOH is not used and the sugar is needed to create a sweetness and brown surface. With the NaOH you'll get plenty of browness just from a regular dough. I think you'll find it produces a color, flavor and texture that is nearly impossible to duplicate with something else, which is why the technique continues to be used today. Good luck!

DNA Dan,

Thanks for all the additional information.  I guess when I try to make the pretzels I will make two doughs, since you have told me the brown sugar isn't necessary.  I want to try out the NaOH and the soda method. 

The pretzels at the pretzels bakery must contain some brown sugar, because they have 50 lb. bags in their shop.  Makes me wonder.   ::)

I have tasted the Amish peoples soft pretzels too, and although they are different both are great.  Guess I will be experimenting for awhile. 

Thanks again,

Norma
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Offline GotRocks

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #30 on: March 19, 2010, 10:38:37 PM »
great thread, I always wondered how pretzels got their shine,

Sodium Hydroxide is commonly called lye, and yes it is some nasty stuff if handled improperly but as someone mentioned it is commonly used in the processing and preservation of many foods.

I work with quite a bit of sodium hydroxide when I am brewing biodiesel, I first mix it with methanol to dissolve it, and then add that mixture it into warm vegetable oil to make the glycerin drop out,  I retain the Methylated esters from that reaction and run my diesel equipment on the stuff, I also recover the excess methanol from my glycerine waste to re-use that for more fuel and I make soap from the glycerin i have left..
The heat generated from lye when mixed with water or alcohol is pretty amazing, think of having 16 gallons of highly flammable methanol boiling from the heat generated during the addition of the lye. It can be a little unsettling

Make sure you have eye protection, and an acid handy (such as vinegar) to neutralize the stuff if you get it on your skin. The phosphoric acid in Coca-Cola will work too if that is all you happen have at the time.
Do not mix a lye solution in an aluminum bowl or use aluminum utensils or pans with the stuff,  the reaction shreds aluminum creates a flammable gas in the process, if I remember correctly it is hydrogen?

Lye is also used in the production of methamphetamine, so there may be some legal paperwork required to get any amounts over 1 pound. Red Devil lye is no longer sold in hardware stores because of this. You may also be able to get Lye in proper amounts at a home soap-making and candle making supply shop.
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Offline norma427

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2010, 12:09:46 AM »
I had some problems finding information at the Abel & Schafer website about Product specification for the Bavarian Pretzels mix, http://www.abelandschafer.com/index.ihtml  but after much searching came across this ingredient list.  Does anyone know what some of these items are like: Defatted Soy Flour,  DATEM, Enzymes, Azodicarbonamide or when I could find these in small quantities?

Bavarian Pretzel Mix      10 lb     
Water (+/-)    4,75 lb    
Compressed Yeast    0,25 lb    
Total weight :    15 lb    Bavarian Pretzel Mix      10 lb     
Water (+/-)    4,75 lb    
Compressed Yeast    0,25 lb    
Total weight :    15 lb       


Product name: Bavarian Pretzel Mix     Item Number: 22110
Packaging / Storage
Packaging:    Multi-walled bag.
Package Size:    50 lb
Palletizing:    5/8
Shelf life:    12
Storage:    Store in cool, dry, clean environment.
Nutritional Facts /
Calories:    360    
Calories from Fat:    40    
Total Fat:    4,5 g    7 %
Saturated Fat:    1 g    4 %
Cholesterol:    0 mg    0 %
Sodium:    790 mg    33 %
Total Carbohydrate:    67 g    22 %
Dietry Fiber:
   2 g    
Sugars:    2 g    
Protein:    14 g    
Vitamin A:    0 %    
Vitamin C:    15 %    
Calcium:    2 %    
Iron:    6 %    

Visual, texture, color:     White, dry powder blend.
Taste, aroma:    
Ingredients
Wheat Flour, Canola Oil, Salt, Wheat Gluten, Defatted Soy Flour, Dextrose, DATEM, Malted Barley Extract, Enzymes, Ascorbic Acid, Azodicarbonamide, L-Cysteine.
 
The Information contained in this publication is based on our own research and development work and is to the best of our knowledge reliable. Users should, however, conduct their tests to determine the suitability of our products for their own purposes. Statements contained herein should not be considered as a warranty of any kind, expressed or implied and no liability is accepted for the accuracy of this information.
Product description
This mix produces an exceptional Old World Bavarian pretzel. May be formed into traditional twists, rolls or sticks.

I want to try and make this Bavarian Pretzel as authentic as I can.

Thanks,

Norma
« Last Edit: March 20, 2010, 07:50:14 AM by norma427 »
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2010, 11:33:45 AM »
Does anyone know what some of these items are like: Defatted Soy Flour,  DATEM, Enzymes, Azodicarbonamide or when I could find these in small quantities?

Norma,

I think you will have a lot of difficulty trying to find the above ingredients in small quantities, although you should be able to find soy flour in some form and, if the enzymes are diastatic malt, you already have that if I recall correctly. The above ingredients, particularly, DATEM, azodicarobnamide, enzymes and L-cysteine (mentioned in another ingredients list in your post), are very common in doughs that are prepared in commissaries for final baking in supermarket and similar baking facilities. If you can identify such a commissary, you might be able to get small amounts for your purposes. However, you will have to do some research to determine how much of the ingredients to use (quantities are often stated by percent of flour weight).

DATEM (Diacetyl Tartaric (Acid) Ester of Monoglyceride) is an emulsifier that helps strengthen the dough. Enzymes might be diastatic malt or possibly fungal amylase and would be used to get increased amylase enzyme performance. Azodicarbonate is a flour bleaching agent but it is also a dough strengthening agent. FYI, it is banned in several countries (Europe and Australia). The L-cysteine  is also a dough strengthener.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 10:42:09 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline norma427

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #33 on: March 20, 2010, 12:12:17 PM »
Peter,

Thank you for the information.  I do remember seeing soy flour at our local store, but not Defatted Soy Flour.  Maybe by not using the other ingredients since they are mostly used in commissaries, I will be able to come up with a dough that is similar to the Bavarian Pretzel.  If this doesnít work out, then I will look for the other ingredients.  I really donít think I would look for the Azodicarbonate, since it is banned in some countries.

I made a dough last evening and will see how it works out today.  I used wheat flour, brown sugar, sea salt, IDY, vital wheat gluten with Vitamin C, diastatic malt powder, water and oil. 
Since using the wheat flour and the dough is light brown, I am not sure if this is the way to proceed, but if this doesnít work, I will change to All purpose flour and try something different.

Norma
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Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2010, 10:13:16 PM »
Norma,

That would certainly explain the elasticity of this dough. It's quite difficult to roll out to make the pretzel form. I think the commercial preparation is meant for it to go into a hopper and be extruded on a machine.

The list you found says 10lbs,  but the bag at the store is 50lbs. I think the upper portion of that list is a size they no longer sell, because the 50lb sack states you have to add water AND yeast. Further down it does state 50lbs. You a correct, their site states they have info on all these mixes but they are either missing or difficult to find. You can't really beat $37.70 plus shipping for a 50lb mix. I did the math assuming I can get about 200 pretzels from it which comes out to about 25 cents each, minus the NaOH, yeast, water, and energy to cook them. I went ahead and ordered another bag. I have to use this sodium hydroxide for something! I wish I could buy some of their dough improvers but they're just so expensive to "try out" on a few pizzas. It would be nice to experiment with the freezemaster for making and storing skins in the freezer. Count me in the contest, I'm going to try a pretzel pizza too!

EDIT: I see now, at the information page found here: http://www.komplet.com/USA/Produkt_Spez.a4d?Artikelnummer=0001-00040002P10080

The first portion of your list is the recipe for making a batch assuming you start with 10lbs of mix. That's a lot of pretzels for the home cook!
« Last Edit: March 20, 2010, 10:28:15 PM by DNA Dan »

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2010, 10:33:06 PM »
I just noticed here:

http://www.komplet.com/USA/Produkt_Spez.a4d?Artikelnummer=0001-00040002P10081

They have the info for the sweet pretzel mix. I recall at one time they were selling this retail but suddenly stopped, I assume it's licensed by places like Auntie Annies and the like. They would probably sell it if you were a commercial baker. Notice it has the brown sugar but also states it does not need to be dipped in NaOH. The recipe for these are much more simpler and probably more conducive for the home cook. It doesn't have all the fancy chemicals in it.

Offline norma427

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2010, 10:39:12 PM »
DNA Dan,

Now I really wonder about the pretzel dough since you just posted the ingredients for sweet pretzels dough.  The ingredients only state: Unbleached Wheat Flour, Light Brown Sugar, Corn Starch, Salt. How could that dough rise without some kind of yeast? 

You are right about using the NaOH for something.  I can understand where you are coming from, when saying the dough improver would be too expensive, just to try them out.  If I canít come up with a decent pretzel recipe, then I might look for some dough improver. 

That's great, you are also going to try a pizza crust with pretzel dough.  ;D I guess the dough would have to be par-baked. Do you have any ideas on this.
I tried the wheat pretzels today. I still have to work on skills of being a pretzel roller and determine how thin I have to make them. One batch was dipped in a solution of 6 teaspoons of baking soda to 1 qt. of water, that I kept simmering on the stove. The other batch was dipped into a solution of 3 grams NaOH to 100 grams of water. I put the NaOH and water in a pyrex deep pie pan and used stainless steel utensils. The pretzels were both baked on parchment paper. I didnít have any problems using the NaOH.  I should be able to experiment a lot with the amount of NaOH the soft pretzel man gave me.

The pretzels using the NaOH did get darker, but I might need to do something different to try and get them to shine. Do you have any idea what I might be doing wrong?

If I have time this evening, I am going to mix another batch and use All Purpose flour and be able to see and taste what the difference is using All purpose flour. The last batch of pretzels and the pizza crust were made with All purpose flour.  Maybe if that doesnít work I will try bread flour.

Picture 1 dough
Picture 2 finished soft pretzels-top soda solution-bottom NaOH solution
Picture 3 NaOH pretzel

Norma
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Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #37 on: March 20, 2010, 11:40:36 PM »
For the pretzel crust I see two possiblities:

1) Parbake as you mentioned.
2) Brush the exposed crust edge with NaOH. So you'd have a soft center with a pretzel edge. I'd even probably sprinkle on a little pretzel salt too  :chef:

In regard to your photos, I have to say those are the best whole wheat pretzels I have seen. I don't know if it's the protein or gluten content but in my hands doughs made using whole wheat flour seem to lack a lot of extensibility (I notice your pretzels have a cracked surface.). Perhaps there isn't as much gluten development as you would get from an enriched white flour.

Anyway, I think your dough looks very wet. Was this prior to rolling it? Was it this wet going into the dip? If the dough is really wet it will dilute the NaOH on the surface reducing it's effectiveness. Also I checked the abel and schafer site and they say to use 4% Sodum Hydroxide solution. Did you dry the pretzels out prior to dipping? I think this is one of the tricks to make sure that the 4% solution fully interacts with the dough. I have seen the smooth leather surface of the pretzels become somewhat pitted and dissolved looking after dipping. There should be a difference in the surface texture after you dip them.

In term of thickness, I shoot for something about 1/2" in diameter.

BTW, Presentation is easy to fix, how did they taste??

« Last Edit: March 20, 2010, 11:45:46 PM by DNA Dan »

Offline norma427

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #38 on: March 21, 2010, 12:53:57 AM »
DNA Dan,

As you mentioned, your ideas for a pretzel crust could work either way.  :chef: I first need to get my dough formula right, before I try a pretzel pizza crust and then decide how to use the NaOH. 

Thanks for saying the whole wheat pretzels looked good.  I donít know if the added vital wheat gluten with vitamin C had anything to do with adding gluten to the whole wheat, but I can imagine it did.  I added 2 teaspoons of vital wheat gluten to the same formula I made before.  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10286.msg91547.html#msg91547                                                               
I  am not an expert on knowing how much added vital wheat gluten would be needed for wheat flour to bring it up to All purpose flour.                                                                             

I also added 2 cups of water to this recent formula.  I did add 1 Ĺ cups of water to the batch above, but then added a little more water, because the formula was too dry in my opinion.  Maybe I added a little to much water this for this recent batch.  This picture of the dough was prior to rolling it out.  I noticed that the first pretzels I rolled were a little harder to roll out.  The dough was then left out at room temperature until I rolled out the pretzels for the NaOH.  These were better to roll out, so maybe I would need to let the dough warm up more.  The first batch was a little moist going into the baking soda solution.  The second batch was left to sit out for about 20 minutes and wasnít as moist.  I didnít let the pretzels really dry out, so that could have been another step that I did wrong.  I also will need to up the NaOH solution to 4%.  My pretzels were much thicker than Ĺ inch when I was finished rolling them. Will try and roll them out thinner the next time. 

The whole wheat pretzels did taste good in my opinion. They were soft inside.

Thanks for your help,  :)

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Pretzel Crust?
« Reply #39 on: March 21, 2010, 08:25:44 PM »
Try rolling out the pretzel form, (1/2" diameter if you can), then put them on a cooling rack of sorts and place them in the refrigerator for 1 hour. The main point of doing this is to retard the dough so the dough doesn't get all puffy. If it did, when you manipulate the dip it would deflate the dough. So the retardation sort of keeps the yeast in a slow growing state, helps develop the flavor profile a bit, and also dries out the skin to prepare it for the dip.  When I do this, the pretzels aren't puffy at all going into the oven, they puff up immediately while cooking.

I am no expert on wheat gluten and the like. I just know that everytime I make a whole wheat dough, it's nearly impossible to get it to windowpane. Probably more lack of experience than anything.