Learning Kitchen: Pretzel Fails

I rely on my trusty Joy of Cooking cookbook more than any other in my collection. While some of the recipes could do with healthier alternatives, it’s chock full of the basic knowledge and methods that one needs to create. Sometimes, though, things go sideways…

I tried my best to follow exactly the recipe and method of their pretzel recipe (which I’m not reproducing here because #copyright).

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Mixing the dough with the dough hook.

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In an oiled bowl, just before being covered to rise.

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It doubled in size, then I punched it down.

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Rolling the pieces out to 18 inches long, per the recipe.

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Twisting into the shape.

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Boiling in the prescribed water-baking soda mixture for the full minute after letting them rise to double their initial size.

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Baked at the required high temperature for the right amount of time.

So why did the twisty middles end up soft, moist, and almost gluey?

My guess is that I didn’t let them dry enough between boiling and baking, or that I didn’t work the dough enough to create the proper amount of gluten. I noticed that when I dropped them into the water, they deflated and became misshaped without incredibly fragile handling. Maybe this was the problem?

Fellow bakers and food scientists everywhere – please help!

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