What makes a Martin's Handmade Pretzel so special? How is it different?
Quite simply a many stepped process produces an unbelievable, incomparable, overwhelmingly delicious TASTE and a magnificently measured, hard-crunching, gratifying-to-chew TEXTURE.
There is one simple pretzel truth:
NO MACHINE-MADE PRETZEL CAN DUPLICATE THE DEFINITIVE MARTIN'S PRETZEL EXPERIENCE.
The first component is a simple secret-recipe sour dough made of only flour, water, yeast and salt (there are NO preservatives, NO sweeteners and NO fat in a Martin's pretzel). Next, hand rolling and twisting creates a unique texture: the uneven hand pressure and individual twisting makes varied density and air bubbles along the dough strip, thus endless diversity and novelty (many pretzels bear relief fingerprints where the dough tips meet the loops.)
Machines can extrude pretzel dough strips, or duplicate the "rolling" process (e.g. between belts), but every mechanized process squeezes out a pretzel's uniqueness; it compresses the dough too evenly and uniformly and unalterably changes its texture. Some pretzels rolled by machine and then twisted by hand (in order to be called "hand-twisted") bypass the critical hand-rolling process–a not-to-clever trick that can never mask "machine-made" texture and flavor.
Once rolled and twisted, Martin's handmade pretzels are boiled in water and soda, another major component of their deep pretzel flavor. The soda reacts with the surface flour to form the deliciously dark, richly flavored, pretzel-brown crust. The boiled pretzels are then salted by hand, lined up by twos on a six-foot wooden peel, and flopped onto the rotating deck of the 500-degree stone-lined oven for fifteen minutes.
The high temperature bakes on a toothy crust and leaves the centers soft and ready to be dried in a very low temperature oven. This final step contributes the pretzel's through and through crunch. In fact, a finished pretzel is so dry and light that it weighs less than the flour that goes into it! This also makes a Martin's very much more fragile than its machine made counterpart that's not as dry and often contains added fat to help it stick together more. Great for shipping, but not for eating! That's why sometimes-but not too often-when Martin's Pretzels get rough handling by the shipper a number of brokens may turn up. Thankfully, this doesn't seem to bother most of Martin's customers who would rather pay for a superb pretzel than for elaborate packaging. Aside from making handmade pretzels more fragil,, drying also helps preserve them; properly sealed away from moist air in a heavy bag, tin, or jar they will stay oven-fresh tasting for weeks, even months!
At Martin's market stand in New York City, simple broken samples have convinced thousands to buy Martin's Pretzels over and over, year after year. So it's too bad a little pretzel piece can't pop out of your computer screen or printer. One bite says more than a thousand explanations. You'd be sold. Just the same, we hope you'll trust what our many loyal customers say: