Bitter saturated portion on pretzels?!
I'm making some soft pretzels, and I've experienced this phenomenon before. I do the baking soda bath, and rinse (as per cooks illustrated) but any portions that aren't stuck together totally, if the baking soda mixture gets in there but it doesn't get subjected to direct heat (think inside the twists, and sometimes where the ends connect to the bottom) seems to saturate with a brownish liquid (the baking soda water when baked?) and ends up VERY bitter when the pretzel is baked. I'm gonna give another batch a shot this afternoon, but would like to avoid this. Any suggestions?
What's your ratio of NaHCO3.:H2O for the dip? Perhaps your ratio is off or your dunk is not quick enough. Aside from that, the only thing I can suggest is rinse the pretzels more thoroughly. Maybe take a pastry brush dipped in water to get into the crevices and crannies.
Have you tried a food grade lye dip? Posters here prefer it over the baking soda.
Check this thread on the subject. I used to use baking soda, now I've switched to lye; so ignore my passionate baking soda only post. Disclaimer: I don't have kids and I lock the cats elsewhere when working with lye. I get the lye from amazon and it's quite cheap:
I use lye but I have also had the same problem described by OP. I've decided that it happens when you dip for too long and don't adequately drip off the extra liquid. I'm not sure of the exact recipe OP is using, but after dipping, mine rise on a cookie sheet for 30 min, and much of the extra liquid dries up during this time. If a crevice is still moist after rising, I dab it with a paper towel rolled into a point.
The problem does seem to be worse if the lye is a little too concentrated.
I did some additional experimenting last night. I found that a shorter dip, good rinse, and longer cooking time help to remove the bitterness. I will try letting them sit out longer after the dip to dry up more. I seem to have mostly eliminated the bitterness.
Thanks for you guys' help.