Preztels For The Beer Event

by A.J. Coltrane

A big batch of pretzels:


Using this recipe:

400g bread flour, 220g water (55% baker’s percentage), 10g (2.5% bp) salt (does not including the finishing salt), 4g diastatic malt (1% bp), 20g unsalted butter (5% bp), 1 tsp yeast.

It’s the same ratios as the 2nd Pass — everything was doubled this time. (All the more reason to use Baker’s Percentage when baking.)

Each pretzel used 1/2 of the recipe, so each one contained basically 1/2 lb of flour. Everything on the counter represents a little over 6 pounds of flour, almost 10 pounds of ingredients in total. The oven has enough room to bake two at a time, so I was starting a new batch every 20 minutes. Two in the oven, two proofing on the counter covered in egg wash, two resting before shaping, two being shaped, and two in the mixer. It was an assembly line.

I finally got the “classic pretzel shape” right. I’m not sure what I was thinking before. I doubt I’ve ever really looked at a pretzel I guess.

All that, and we discovered that we couldn’t bring them into the beer event, so they got to hang out in the car.



The Second Pass At Pretzels

by A.J. Coltrane

The malt powder arrived today. Time for a 2nd attempt.

The recipe from the 1st attempt:  200g bread flour, 102g water (51% baker’s percentage), 6g (3% bp) salt (does not including the finishing salt), 1/2 tsp yeast.

Tonight’s recipe:  200g bread flour, 110g water (55% baker’s percentage), 5g (2.5% bp) salt (does not including the finishing salt), 2g diastatic malt (1% bp), 10g unsalted butter (5% bp), 1/2 tsp yeast.

TLDR;  Less salt, more water, and I added malt and butter. The recipe is now sort of an aggregate of Beranbaum and Hamelman.

The Beranbaum recipe calls for 400F. Hamelman calls for 450F. I decided to make two batches, one at 425F and one at 450F:


The two on the top were baked at 450F for 16 minutes. The two on the bottom were baked at 425F for 14 minutes. The lower temperature and shorter time was enough to cook the pretzels, but the color still wasn’t as deep as I’d like. Even the 450F batch darkened quite a bit in the extra two minutes it was given.

The other mini-experiment was an egg white wash vs a “whole” egg wash. The two on the left got the egg white wash, the two on the right used “whole” eggs. I couldn’t really tell a difference either in appearance or texture (bite).

All in all, every change seemed to be an improvement. Now it’s time to try making some really large pretzels and see how that goes.