During a baking day in our CVap® Kitchen, we decided to add a little twist. We were working with Rich’s Petite French Bread dough. Just for S&Gs, we set a couple of loaves aside to experiment. Primarily, our goal was to make soft pretzels. After slacking on the counter for about an hour, we began playing with the dough.
Rolling into Ropes
First, we formed the dough into ropes, about two feet long (just eyeball it). Just wing it on the shape – it’s okay if they’re ugly.
A Boiling Pretzels Bath
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). Consequently, the baking soda increases the pH, which gives the pretzels that really nice deep dark brown pretzel color that we’re used to seeing. Critically, pretzels must boil in that soda bath to obtain the right amount of chewiness and bite.
Although you don’t have to do the water bath, the results won’t be the same without it. Make whatever shapes you want – bites, sticks, traditional crossed, etc. Keep in mind that the smaller the pretzel, the less the time it should spend in the soda bath.
For these, we shot for 20 to 30 seconds, flipping midway. Next we placed the boiled pretzels on a parchment-lined pan (sprayed with a little pan release). Finally, they were brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with coarse kosher salt or pretzel salt. You want a nice coarse salt.
Baking Up Bavarian
We baked 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. In contrast, the other pan went into a CHV7-05 Cook and Hold Oven set at same vapor and air settings. They baked for about 15 minutes in the RTV, 20 minutes in the CHV.
Indeed, the pretzels in the RTV oven came out crusty and soft, at an internal temp of 205°F. Likewise, the CHV pretzels came out beautifully, at an internal temperature of 200°F. Subsequently, after cooling a bit, we peeled them off the parchment paper, and placed them on a cooling rack.
Finally, we ate the hot pretzels with a little mustard. So good! It made us wish we could drink cold beer at work. That would have paired perfectly with these perfect pretzels.
- 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.
Next, 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
- RTV cook time: 15 minutes
- CHV cook time: 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.