Baking & Snack - July 2020 - 51

EQUIPMENT

Pretzel Tech

tasteful

Automated systems take control in developing new and improved soft pretzels.
by Nico Roesler

C

Creating a soft pretzel's iconic taste, golden sheen and
texture involves many careful calculations. Advances in
caustic and lye application systems and robotic twisting
machines, in addition to baker creativity, are producing
improved pretzels ranging from dark and salty to light
and soft - and twists far beyond the classic loop.
The traditional soft pretzel shape in the United States
features the recognizable twist of a dough strand. The
European version comes with a thicker middle portion
of the dough knot. Today, bakers can take the dough and
shape it into a variety of knots and braids to make any
product stand apart.
"Pretzel dough can be made into various shapes,
and that evolution seems to be never ending," said Rick
Liberatore, regional sales manager, Gemini Bakery
Equipment/KB Systems.
That evolution is slow to catch on here compared with
some parts of Europe, but it is happening.
"In the United States, mostly we are sticking with the
well-known products," said Matt Zielsdorf, director of
bakery sales for Fritsch, a Multivac company. "Soft pretzels are offered at sporting events in the stadiums but
also in the shopping malls where they are freshly made."
This authentic in-person experience has always added

to the appeal of pretzels. To recreate this experience for
consumers at home, bakers can look to recent advances
in manufacturing technology, specifically, Mr. Zielsdorf
said, bakers' use of the 5- to 7-inch "noodle" string of
pretzel dough that can be automatically or manually tied.
"One can say that the noodle, in its various forms,
has been an innovation," he said. "The technology has
become faster and more compact. Pretzels with large
weights can now be produced. And the larger the pretzel, the more popular they seem to be."
Turning that noodle into a plethora of pretzel products requires some strategic planning, beginning with
formulation and mixing.

Intricate pretzel designs can
be paired with various inclusions and toppings to create
new pretzel products.
Fritsch, a Multivac company

Dough deliberations
While the defining characteristic of a pretzel comes
from a caustic bath, the dough itself is markedly different from a traditional bread or bun dough. Soft pretzel
dough is typically much more dense.
John Eshelman, director of pretzel and snack machinery sales, Reading Bakery Systems (RBS), said hard and
soft pretzel doughs are usually formulated with about a
40% hydration level. Bread doughs are often 60% hydration or more. Additionally, he said, protein levels in flour

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Baking & Snack - July 2020

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