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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 479
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A Double Batch of Homemade Pretzels
Sunday 4 October 2015   —   Category: Cooking & Food
My family was so impressed and excited by my first attempt making pretzels in August that a month later I decided to go the extra mile and make a double batch on my wife’s birthday.

Not only would we be able to enjoy pretzels with the celebration meal, but my two oldest children (ages 21 and 20), who have already left the nest, would also be able to take some home with them.

The day before her birthday I made a double batch of dough following the Traditional Soft Pretzel recipe by Andrea Slonecker from her book Pretzel Making at Home.

From one of the batches I planned to make 12 pretzel rolls for the meal, and from the other 8 traditionally-shaped pretzels which the kids could have.
After dividing the dough into 12 equal portions and shaping them into rolls, they were ready for proofing (the final rising). During my previous pretzel-making the dough had stuck to the parchment paper it had risen on, so this time I decided to use individual squares of wax paper.
 
After sitting in a slightly-warm oven for an hour or two, the pretzel rolls had finished their proofing.
 
The risen rolls were now ready for their short lye bath before baking. I had put them on individual squares of wax paper, imagining that I could dangle each sheet over the lye water, and the ball of dough would simply and gently plop into the bath. How wrong I was! I was so shocked to discover that the dough stuck to the wax paper much more than it had to the parchment paper. It was as if they had been glued on! I was suddenly in deep doo-doo!
 
It was a huge struggle to pull and scrape each ball of risen pretzel dough off the wax paper! In the process, each roll lost some dough and became stretched and squished. I was horrified, but had to soldier on the best I could. That’s the last time I’ll ever use wax paper for making pretzels! Both the dough and my emotions flattened out quite a bit.
 
Fortunately, the rolls and my emotions revived during baking. Their nice size and shape obliterated the trauma they and I had been through only a few minutes before.
 
Not only did the rolls look nice, but they had that great pretzel taste and texture I was expecting. Everything turned out all right after all!
 
For the second batch of dough, I let my wife and three children each fashion two portions of dough into any pretzel shape they desired.

Having learned my lesson with the wax paper the hard way, this time I heavily floured the cookie sheet, without using any parchment or wax paper, before putting the pretzels on to rise.
 
My thirteen year old daughter decided to be creative and make a pretzel in the shape of a fish, with a separate little ball of dough for its eye.
 
Compared to when the pretzels rose on parchment and wax paper, it was pretty easy to scoop each pretzel off the floured cookie sheets with a spatula and put them in the lye bath. This is the best method I have found so far.
 
After the lye bath and about eight minutes in a 500°F oven, we had a good-looking and tasty batch of pretzels for my children to enjoy.
 
Well, my second round of pretzel making came to a successful conclusion — and I learned a number of valuable lessons along the way. My kids didn’t take as many pretzels as I had imagined they would, so I’ve got a decent stock in the freezer. Once those have been enjoyed, I wonder what kind of pretzels I will make next?
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 479
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Reader Comments
On December 9, 2015, Joe Mac wrote:
Those pretzels look amazing! Nice work. When you made a double batch, did you do that by doubling all the ingredients or by making two batches of the normal recipe?
On December 10, 2015, Brian wrote:
In reply to Joe's question: I had made two separate batches, but I don't see why doubling the recipe to make one big batch wouldn't work just as well.
 
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 479
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