I made pretzel bites this week, hoping to take them to a party. Making the dough was easy. Cutting the dough into bite-size pieces was easy and fun. Boiling them in the baking soda and sugar mixture was also relatively easy, although time-consuming. Brushing them with an egg wash, topping them with salt, and baking them went well. They came out of the oven golden-brown, with a nice firm crust and a soft airy center. They tasted like crap. I don’t use that word often, but it is appropriate in this situation.
Maybe I’m not a pretzel person. I checked and rechecked my recipe – knowing that the “gross” taste came from the baking soda. I’m mystified. I followed the directions- boiled 90 seconds exactly on each side in the soda water bath. I cross-checked, vigorously consulting a variety of other recipes, to find out if the ratio of baking soda to water recommended in this recipe was common- it was. It is also gross. The pretzels tasted… strong. The doughy center was fine- although with bites this small there is no point to scooping out the edible center. The only thing I can think of is that the ratio of “strong” crust to good center is too high with bites this small and results in your mouth being overwhelmed by a malicious baking soda army. Like I said before, maybe I’m not a pretzel person, at least not in the classic cover in salt and dip in mustard vein. I like the ones they sell at Auntie Anne’s. Does that make me a low-class pretzel consumer? I guess I’ll never know – because it is unlikely I will ever attempt this move in the kitchen again. It really was that bad of an experience.
The photo is actually of day-old pretzel bites – they looked better fresh out of the oven. I only took a picture because I wanted to have visual proof that I attempted Item 17 on my List of 25 Things to do Before 25. I included a link to the recipe above because I wanted you to know which one to avoid.