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Pretzel and mustard? Yes please!
February 6, 2010 2:53 PM   Subscribe

My wife is making these pretzels for our party tomorrow. How much of the process can be completed tonight and chilled in the fridge to be finished in the morning so that the pretzels are hot and fresh for kickoff? Can they be shaped and chilled tonight then allowed to come to room temp before boiling?
posted by Keith Talent to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You can safely do everything up to glazing and baking the night before. On the day, take them out of the fridge, let them come to room temp (lightly covered), glaze, salt then bake.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:56 PM on February 6, 2010


Here's something from thefreshloaf.com about whether or not you can retard (that's what chilling the dough while it proofs is called) bagels overnight. Great site for bread nerds.
posted by Decimask at 2:59 PM on February 6, 2010


I have made these pretzels, and I would recommend getting to the point of shaping the pretzels and then fridge overnight. I personally wouldn't boil them the night before, as this starts the cooking process and likely kills some of the yeasts in the bread, and if you let the boiled pretzels sit overnight you may lose some of your rise. (The yeasts will continue to work a little in the fridge, but at a much, much slower pace.)

You should chill then immediately after shaping, because the pretzels don't really have a second rise before the boiling in baking soda water (if you do everything in one step). Basically the rule of thumb for fridge/freeze bread dough is you can freeze just before it starts its second rise, which really occurs during the boiling process for these pretzels. I'd say let them sit about at least an hour at room temperature before boiling, or if you noticing them starting to puff up a bit, then they are probably ready to go.

Remember to use a non-reactive (stainless steel or enameled) pot for boiling the baking soda solution! You could also cut back a little from the recommended amount of baking soda, maybe a Tbsp or so less than the recommended 2/3rd cup.
posted by sararah at 3:39 PM on February 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, I've made that mistake before (same exact recipe); boiling them just a few hours before baking will result in disaster. Boil, then bake right away. Otherwise, they won't rise at all and you will end up with a rather inedible mess.

The Alton Brown pretzels are pretty difficult to shape. The only way I could get them to keep their shape was to drop them in the boiling pot immediately after shaping—they shrink very quickly. Perhaps if you let the dough dough stretch for a while after you roll it into rod shapes you wouldn't have this problem.
posted by halogen at 6:12 PM on February 6, 2010


Re: shaping and chilling for the pretzel challenged -- I've been embarrassingly lame at making pretzels pretzel-y looking, so after grumbling through several boiling water/falling out of shape incidents I've taken to rolling the dough out into long snakes, cutting them at 2" or so intervals.

Makes a ton of little pretzel niblets which, for me, are easier to handle and also goes further if there are many people at the event. Topped with bacon salt, (the pretzel niblets, not the people) oh my, they're good.
posted by mcbeth at 12:36 AM on February 8, 2010


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