My favorite type of pretzel is sourdough, but I do like all types. These pretzels are big and hard. They are super crunchy. These were a great find on a recent Trader Joes trip. I was even more excited to see that they are made in Pennsylvania, in the heartland of pretzel country. Boo.
First, let’s talk about the box and its decorations. Most of the pretzels made in PA are done by the Mennonite/Pennsylvanian Dutch crowd, or at least their ancestors, and are based on a tradition of simplicity and humility. It is evident in their products and packaging. These guys are different. The first is a pair of cherubims playing straight trumpets. Then there are a few lions that seem to be mounting a giant pretzel in the middle of the coat of arms. It seems a bit boastful and odd, I’m not sure why. The analogy that came to my mind was rolling down Amish country doors, listening to Biggie or Ludacris. You can’t ban it just because there’s no law against it. I probably make more of this than is necessary.
The pretzels are still quite good. They do a lot better than they get wrong. They’re just the right size and have the right amount of knots, cracks and gashes. The crunch was not perfect at first. It almost seemed like they were too fresh, because they had a light crispiness. They started to hit the mark after a few more days. It is not about making them taste bad. It’s not a matter of getting them stale. But after being open for a few days, that crispiness gave way a whole new level of crunch. These guys are extremely crunchy, it’s not a surprise. Sandy and I were forced to eat them together when we were in the same place, as our crunching sounds would be muffled. Sandy may have shouted at me a few times to stop crunching loudly on purpose, you crunchy pretzel man” (or some such thing) while she was taking a break from the snacks. She didn’t realize that her munching sounds reminded her of a woodchipper (love ya, darlin’). This is the beauty of hearth baking: to make the best, hardest, and crunchiest pretzels you’ll ever taste.
These TJ delights were a little lacking in taste when compared to other sourdough prezels. Sandy felt they could have a bit more salt. They are fine with the amount they have, but I disagree. This is the good, big, and grainy stuff. I find the dough used to make these a bit bland. It’s just wheat flour and yeast. The recipe for pretzels may be the traditional way to make them. I don’t know of any pretzel purity rules. The ingredients were compared to Utz, one of my favorite brands (whose logo is very simple). cartoon lassThank you very much. I saw that Utz added a lot more stuff to the buttermilk solids and butter flavor (and, of course, corn syrup since this was America). Hmm. Hmm. Amanda, one our customers. FacebookFans noted that they taste great when dipped into hot and spicy mustard. I can see some dip being a big help for them, but I prefer fresh pretzels without any pit stops.
I think the pretzels are more right than wrong so I will give credit to Trader Joe’s. Sandy gives them a 3. (“More salt !!!!” She said that she meant it, and I will see if Sandy can raise another spoon. The sourdough pretzels only appear in our local shop sporadically. It would be great to have them as a regular offering because I’d be eating them all the time.
The bottom line: 7 of 10 Golden Spoons