Philly Soft Pretzels

Jayden is 1) telling you how to make un-diet-friendly breads with oozy, sticky fillings and glazes while 2) holding a giveaway contest for the bread book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  To enter, look through the list of all the breads you can make and pick your favorite.  My pick was Soft Pretzels, because I am constantly trying to find a recipe that will give me the dense, tasty soft pretzel like those in Philadelphia.  Real Philly soft pretzels have nothing in common with Auntie Anne’s or Wetzels.  Those are soft and buttery – good in their own right, but not the same.  Philly soft pretzels aren’t even like the sad pretzels you buy at the movie theater.  They’re just good.  Great.  They make you excited about going to Philadelphia before you can reign it in and remember you’re making the trip to visit family and people, not food.

Anyway, apparently I made Jayden instantly wish she knew of this pretzel heaven so I told her about PretzelsDirect.  Last year (by which I mean last Christmas-season, not the last-month-2007 kind of last year), we didn’t go to Philadelphia to see everyone in the cold, snowy weather.  Which means we also didn’t get to see any pretzel vendors to pick up pretzels to bring home.  Incidentally, Tasty Kakes didn’t come home, either.  It was all sad.  So, for T’s birthday, I decided to order pretzels.  This seemed like a good idea, and PretzelsDirect’s pretzels looked exactly like the ones I wanted.  I went with the Hometown Care Package, which throws in mustard, Tasty Kakes, and Herr’s chips.  All for the reasonable price of $30!  Ahem.  In order to deliver fresh pretzels to your door, overnight shipping is required.  This bumps up the price considerably.  Like, crazy expensive.  Yet, cheaper than a plane ticket and understandable.  Who wants stale pretzels? 

So, the pretzels came and T was thrilled.  I thought he’d be excited about the Tasty Kakes, too, but I guess I’m the one who gets thrilled about those.  No, T was most excited about the mustard.  Did you know that proper pretzel mustard is not sold in stores?  It is only available from pretzel vendors who give you tiny plastic cups of it.  So, when T saw an entire bottle of this precious mustard, he was quite happy.  Maybe even happier about the mustard than the pretzels themselves.  We dutifully wrapped the pretzels individually so they would survive the freezer and T would pull 1 or 2 out, toast them up, sprinkle on the pretzel salt (also sent in the package) and dole out a bit of mustard.  He made that mustard last through every last pretzel bite.  It was impressive.  And also sad because now how are we supposed to get the stuff?  Order an overnight package of pretzels?  Hoard dozens of plastic cups when we encounter a pretzel vendor?

Rejoice, fellow mustard lovers!  For now, you can buy just the mustard from PretzelsDirect and, because mustard is not perishable, you can have ground shipping so delivery is not so expensive.   Hooray!

Incidentally, when we were in Philadelphia in December, we bought some pretzels 3 for $1 (and we should have gotten more) but their mustard was like a spicy honey mustard.  Good, but not the same.  Also, it came in a 3 oz. plastic container which appeared to go through security without any trouble.

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One response to “Philly Soft Pretzels

  1. Hey, I’m Jeff Hertzberg, one of the co-authors of “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.” Sounds like you may want to check out our pretzel recipe on page 127 of our book! Let us know how it works out, on our blog at http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com. Jaden’s site is a blast, by the way.

    Jeff Hertzberg

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