While having a baking day in our CVap® kitchen, we decided to add a little twist. We were working with Rich’s Petite French Bread dough, and set a couple of loaves aside to experiment. They were pulled from the freezer the night before, covered in plastic wrap, and allowed to retard in the refrigerator. After slacking on the counter for about an hour, we began playing with the dough.
We rolled out a few of the petite rolls into ropes of dough about two feet long (just eyeball it). Just wing it on the shape – it’s okay if they’re ugly.
Once we got them into the shapes we liked, we plopped them into a boiling water bath (nine cups water, half a cup of baking soda). The baking soda increases the pH , which gives the pretzels that really nice deep dark brown pretzel color that we’re used to seeing. You have to prep pretzels with that soda bath to make sure they have the right amount of chewiness and bite. You don’t have to do the water bath, but the result won’t be the same without it. You can do whatever you want, bites, etc. Keep in mind that the smaller the pretzel, the less the time it should spend in the soda bath. For these, we were shooting for 20 to 30 seconds, flipping midway. We placed the boiled pretzels on a parchment-lined pan (sprayed with a little pan release). We brushed with melted butter and then sprinkled with coarse kosher salt or pretzel salt. You want a nice coarse salt.
We tried baking the pretzels in two different CVap ovens. The first was an RTV7-05 Retherm Oven set at 200°F vapor temp, 350°F air temp. The other pan we placed in a CHV7-05 Cook and Hold Oven set at same vapor and air settings. We let them bake for about 15 minutes in the RTV, 20 minutes in the CHV.
The pretzels in the RTV oven came out crusty and soft, at an internal temp of 205°F. The CHV pretzels came out beautifully, at an internal temperature of 200°F. We allowed them to cool a bit, peeled them off the parchment paper, and placed them on a cooling rack.
- Rich’s Petite French Bread dough
- 9 Cups Water
- 1/2 Cup Baking Soda
- Coarse Salt (kosher, sea, etc.)
- Melted Butter
Allow dough to slack in refrigerator overnight. Roll loaves into approximately 2′ ropes, then twist over into pretzel shapes.
Place pretzels into boiling bath of water and baking soda. Allow to boil about 30 seconds, flipping half-way through.
Place boiled pretzels on baking sheet lined with parchment paper (and a spritz of pan release). Brush with melted butter and place in CVap oven.
Program CVap RTV Oven or CVap CHV Oven as follows:
- 200°F Vapor Cook Temp
- 350°F Air Cook Temp
- Cook time RTV: 15 minutes
- Cook time CHV: 20 minutes
- Convection: On
- High Yield: Off
- Hold Time: Infinite
Preheat the oven. Allow 45 minutes to preheat.
Check doneness around 15 minute mark Remove when satisfactorily brown.