Producing pretzel breads and rolls, which have recently increased in popularity in the US, can be time- and labor-intensive. These popular artisan products require long fermentation times plus immersion in a heated water bath containing a low concentration of food-grade caustic soda.

“There’s a lot of manual work involved, yet it can be highly automated, and we have solutions for that,” said Edgar Wenkel, applications engineer and master baker, Gemini Bakery Equipment Co., Philadelphia, PA. According to Mr. Wenkel, the company developed an automated caustic soda application process about a year ago, and some bakers have already adopted this solution. A recirculating waterfall system applies the low concentration of food-grade caustic soda.

Gemini’s pretzel system places formed dough pieces on peel boards for proofing, removes proofed dough from the peel board, applies the caustic soda that gives the pretzels their moisture-sealing crust and then redeposits the dough onto a pan for baking.