Pretzel Logic

1,725
233
Joined Dec 23, 2004
Can anyone offer up some tips on pretzels? Started a new job running the kitchen in a place owned by a fellow from NYC. He wants to do some classic NYC foods like knish, pretzels and bagels. I think the knish will work fine if I make them in batches, maybe freeze if necessary and thaw before baking. But I'm unsure the best way to do the pretzels. Will it work to do blanch the pretzels, then hold them and bake them to order? I've only done pretzels once and that was for an Octoberfest that just ran a single night. I'd planned to make one dough for pizzas and pretzels- does that sound like a plan?

Bagel advice wouldn't be turned down either for that matter.;)
 
113
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Joined May 30, 2015
Once boiled, you need to bake them relatively soon. The raw dough can be shaped & held in the walk in for a while and brought out, proofed at room temp for an hour or two, and boiled/baked in batches (every few hours) or boiled/baked all at once and held in a warmer. Either way, pretzels and bagels are labor-intensive and there are no good shortcuts IMO. The only difference is the boil water for pretzels is alkaline (small box of baking soda for a stockpot) and for bagels the water is neutral. For bublichki, I use alkaline water. The dough is the same though.

Also, pretzel/bagel dough is too dense for pizza dough and vice versa.

I used to make bublichki years ago with good results, but it was too labor-intensive to do commercially, so I started just making them as a one-off for my Russian friends at certain times of year.
 
1,725
233
Joined Dec 23, 2004
Once boiled, you need to bake them relatively soon. The raw dough can be shaped & held in the walk in for a while and brought out, proofed at room temp for an hour or two, and boiled/baked in batches (every few hours) or boiled/baked all at once and held in a warmer. Either way, pretzels and bagels are labor-intensive and there are no good shortcuts IMO. The only difference is the boil water for pretzels is alkaline (small box of baking soda for a stockpot) and for bagels the water is neutral. For bublichki, I use alkaline water. The dough is the same though.

Also, pretzel/bagel dough is too dense for pizza dough and vice versa.

I used to make bublichki years ago with good results, but it was too labor-intensive to do commercially, so I started just making them as a one-off for my Russian friends at certain times of year.


Thanks. Pretzels and bagels is a bit outside of my usual menu items so I appreciate the advice. I'd seen a few people suggest using one dough so it's good to know now that's not ideal. I have done pretzels but never tried to hold them. It will depend on demand I suppose. The owner wants NYC food which is cool, but we'll see how it goes here in Coeur d'Alene.
 
113
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Joined May 30, 2015
You could probably do a weekly bake, freeze them all and thaw them daily with a quick pop in the oven to warm them up. They're naturally dense & chewy, so freezing shouldn't affect the texture. Also, if you add seeds, you need a glue (try a neutral tasting syrup like clear corn syrup lightly brushed before baking) to hold them on. Water works fine for salt adherance, but seeds need some extra help.

Either way, good luck, and happy to help. Try to find some Nathan's original mustard as well. It goes great with pretzels.
 
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Joined Apr 25, 2017
You can par bake the pretzels and then freeze them.

We find half of the baking time is best for our recipe and then the other half when you want them finished.

Dark brown sugar in your dough will aid in getting a nice deep color.
 
1,725
233
Joined Dec 23, 2004
I did a test between pretzels done by blanching in water with soda and the McGee method, soaking in a solution of baked baking soda. The latter was the clear favorite. The customers over the last couple days have remarked that we have the best ones in town! And so far I'm just baking 100% and reheating; I expect parcooking them will be even better.

Thanks to everyone for the advice.
 
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