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Best Soft Pretzels in Boston Area?

pondrat Aug 31, 2008 08:46 PM

Where would you go to get the best hand crafted soft pretzel in the Boston area.

I'm not talking about the phony "pastry pretzels" at Aunt Annies, nor the frozen ones baked by hanging them on the pretzel tree with the sun lamp at the snack shop at Target or Walmart.

I'm looking for the old fashion hand twisted soft pretzels similar to the German Bretzen.Typically boiled in water with baking soda and then baked with coarse salt.

  1. BarmyFotheringayPhipps Aug 31, 2008 09:06 PM

    The bucket of pretzels at Jacob Wirth is one of the few really tasty things on their entire menu. I'll also give a plug to the soft pretzels and beer cheese at Deep Ellum. Actually, Allstonian and I went there on Friday, and I was surprised at how much better the food was than it had been for a while there.

    4 Replies
    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
      yarm Oct 6, 2013 08:57 AM

      Deep Ellum changed their pretzel supplier this week. Crispier crust and not as moist inside. Not sure I approve of the change (regardless of the price increase).

      1. re: yarm
        p
        postc Oct 6, 2013 09:47 PM

        Thanks, good info on the change in supplier at Deep Ellum. Any idea on why the new pretzel supplier there?

        1. re: postc
          yarm Oct 8, 2013 06:33 PM

          The best answer I got was that they could get them in fresh daily. Then again, we had no problem with the old ones that were frozen for freshness.

          1. re: yarm
            p
            postc Oct 8, 2013 09:50 PM

            Thanks, yarm. I'll have to give these new ones a try.

    2. v
      Velda Mae Sep 1, 2008 05:15 AM

      After seeing reviews on this board, I just tried the soft pretzel at the Lower Depths in Kenmore for the first time. It was baked to order and very chewy with a nice spicy mustard accompaniment. The dough was a bit more buttery than I'm used to but still good. My gold standard for soft pretzels are the ones baked by the Amish in Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. Their dough isn't quite as buttery but they will brush fresh butter on top of them if you like.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Velda Mae
        pondrat Sep 1, 2008 07:20 AM

        Having grown up down there I'm a huge Reading terminal fan (especially DiNic'spark sandwich) and know the Amish style well. They're somewhere between Auntie Annies and the classic Federal Pretzel Company. I'm looking more toward the less buttery, more German style style from Federal or Philly Pretzel Company ....Sounds like Lower Depths and bamy's ,Deep Ellum might be more of a match. Jacob Wirth is a natural.

        I taste tested the Pretzel Rolls that deglazer mentions below and I was pleasantly surprised..Been trying to decide what best to stuff it with that goes well with german mustard...maybe a bratwurst...or some lebanon bologna.

        Oktoberfest is just 2 weeks away..so I see a "beer and soft pretzel craw" in my future.

        1. re: pondrat
          v
          Velda Mae Sep 2, 2008 05:38 AM

          Lower Depths are definitely closer in shape to those of the Federal Pretzel Company. They're thick and the braid is tight as opposed to the Amish which are thinner and more open.

          I lived in Phila for 7 years and still pine for the Reading Terminal Market. Did you know that Tony Luke's is going into the old Rick's steaks space?

          1. re: Velda Mae
            pondrat Sep 2, 2008 06:46 AM

            Thanks Velda, this is EXACTLY the pretzel I'm looking for...I know there had been quite a legal battle about Ricks lease...to have Tony Lukes and DiNics in the same building is a dream..

      2. d
        deglazer Sep 1, 2008 05:19 AM

        Have you tried Swiss Bakers http://www.swissbakers.com/ ? You can get them at farmers markets and some Whole Foods. I can't comment on the pretzels since I've only tried the pretzel rolls, but I like those a lot (different thing, I realize)

        4 Replies
        1. re: deglazer
          pondrat Sep 1, 2008 07:27 AM

          The Swiss Bakers pretzels look GREAT... I'm off to the Farmers Market next week...

          1. re: deglazer
            l
            lergnom Oct 4, 2013 05:47 PM

            The Swiss Bakers pretzel is very good. A little denser than many and flavorful.

            1. re: deglazer
              d
              dtremit Oct 10, 2013 11:43 PM

              If this is the pretzel they're selling at the pizza bar at WFM, it's quite good -- and less than $3 for a big pretzel. It gets a little overcrisp if they warm it in the oven, I find. In addition to the locations they list on the website, it has shown up at the new Somerville WFM.

              1. re: deglazer
                p
                ParisLady Oct 11, 2013 11:09 AM

                I love the pretzel sticks from Swiss Bakers. One of the owners explained to me that you have to be certified to make authentic pretzels due to the use of lye (sp?)...and they are certified.

              2. Karl S Sep 2, 2008 05:42 AM

                Not in the Boston area, but via an excursion to Hillsborough NH, you can find Swabian-style, IIRC:

                http://germanjohnsbakery.com/

                1. digga Sep 2, 2008 05:54 PM

                  I concur with Lower Depths' pretzel. Quite often, I get it as a pre-Fenway snack (the homemade mustard is chunky and spicy - I love it). Compared to Deep Ellum, I prefer LD's. The last time I had it at Lower Depths, though, it was a bit on the REALLY brown side, and even acknowledged by the server. I think the dough had too much butter and so they cooked/burned more quickly than usual.

                  Mariposa Bakery has offered a very tasty pretzel bread for their sandwiches. I have changed jobs - a bit further afield. Do they still have it?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: digga
                    pondrat Sep 2, 2008 06:39 PM

                    Was there a preferred meat/cheese that you ordered on the pretzel bread ?? I wanted to try the Swiss pretzel bread they sell at Whole Foods but have been debating what would go best with it.

                    1. re: pondrat
                      digga Sep 2, 2008 07:06 PM

                      I have had every veggie combination they had on pretzel roll - the avocado sandwich was particularly good to me.

                  2. p
                    postc Oct 4, 2013 02:37 PM

                    Hi - this discussion is pretty ancient, but in the spirit of Oktoberfest I thought I'd add that there's a couple of semi-new places available in the Boston area with non-phony pretzels. Swissbakers on Western Ave, and Bronwyn in Somerville come to mind.

                    There's a listing of pretzel places at http://pretzels.spiderwebs-boston.com .

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: postc
                      Allstonian Oct 4, 2013 04:49 PM

                      Clear Flour Bread in Brookline is also making some excellent pretzels these days.

                      1. re: postc
                        Eatin in Woostah Oct 5, 2013 02:57 PM

                        The pretzels at Bronwyn make me swoon.

                        1. re: Eatin in Woostah
                          c
                          cdoobiest Oct 5, 2013 08:18 PM

                          Whole foods in Lynnfield carry freshly made pretzels. Not bad

                        2. re: postc
                          l
                          latertater Oct 6, 2013 10:35 AM

                          Swissbakers is great - we enjoy their pretzel rolls with sausages. They also have a bread called Pajazzo which is kind of pretzel-bread like. Try the seeded one. http://store.swissbakers.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=Pajazzo

                          I know the query was about soft pretzels but the sourdough hard pretzels from Snyder's http://www.snydersofhanover.com/sourdough-hard-pretzels.html of Hanover are really good and generally in most supermarkets.

                          Swissbakers
                          Allston, Reading, and at the Prudential plaza farmers' market on Wednesdays.
                          http://swissbakers.com/sb/?page_id=30

                          1. re: postc
                            KWagle Oct 8, 2013 02:30 AM

                            I'm glad you resurrected this, postc, because I missed it the first time.

                            1. re: KWagle
                              p
                              postc Oct 8, 2013 09:41 PM

                              Thanks. Yes me too. Glad to see all these comments on soft pretzels. Gives me ideas on places to try next :)

                          2. s
                            smatterchu Oct 7, 2013 03:57 PM

                            I have to say our go-to pretzel in the area is at Harpoon Brewery!! You don't have to go through the tour to get them -- just go in (get carded) and head upstairs to their amazing beer room. While there you can purchase any of a ton of great beer, cider, non-alcoholic options. Last time, I tried a pumpkin cider and a great root beer.

                            While we love the drinks, we literally go for the pretzels. We dream of these pretzels! Apparently, they use the spent grain from the brewery (?) to make them.

                            You can order the original buttery one or a sweeter version. There are about 10 different dipping sauces to choose from.

                            I'm telling you, these pretzels are amazing. I get so mad when I order a pretzel and it comes out tough or stale or cold. These are so fresh -- so yummy!! There isn't anything else on the menu - I don't think. It's totally worth the trip!!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: smatterchu
                              l
                              LStaff Oct 8, 2013 07:27 AM

                              Unless they have changed the recipe, Harpoon's "pretzels" are just one step above the stuff they serve at the mall imo. Didn't taste like a pretzel to me, just a bready roll with a salty/crispy crust. It was good, but I wouldn't consider it a pretzel - especially in the vein that the OP is looking for.

                            2. k
                              kimfair1 Oct 7, 2013 07:43 PM

                              While not a traditional pretzel shape, I love the warm soft bar pretzels at The Hawthorne. They are small 2 inch round pretzels.They come with a ramekin of house made bourbon mustard. There is no extra charge for the mustard, and I usually save it, in case I end up with some other food that would benefit from it.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: kimfair1
                                t
                                teezeetoo Oct 8, 2013 03:53 AM

                                we order ours from lovely ladies in Newton who deliver in the Brookline/Newton area: Sweet Mandel. They make a number of German items, including a fine pretzel.

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