A FEW DAYS AGO, A CTF FACEBOOK FOLLOWER ASKED A REALLY GOOD QUESTION: WHAT IS A REALLY GOOD PRETZEL?
Well, I don’t have the answer to that.
But I can explain how I choose a pretzel and share what brands I buy. It is hard to find a good pretzel. There are a lot of brands to sort through which means lots of ingredients labels to read. So where to start?
While I don’t make homemade pretzels, I look for a pretzel with a short list of ingredients of only things I would have in my kitchen. I have to admit, I haven’t found anything I’m wildly crazy about, but here are the two I typically buy:
In a conventional food store, I buy Snyders pretzels, but only the sticks or waffles. The twists have additional ingredients for some reason. The ingredients are:
Unbleached wheat flour, water, canola oil, malt, salt, yeast, soda.
These are all things I either have in my house or would be able and willing to purchase for baking.
In Whole Foods, I buy the 365 Brand. Typically I buy the non-organic (GASP!) to save money. We don’t eat so many pretzels, so I feel okay about that decision. The ingredients are:
Unbleached enriched wheat flour, malted barley, salt, soybean oil, yeast.
I wouldn’t buy or cook with soybean oil, and I try to be aware of how much soy we eat through additives, so I don’t like these as much as the Snyder’s.
Annies Organic Honey Wheat Pretzel Bunnies
I don’t buy these.
The ingredients are:
Organic wheat flour, organic expeller pressed vegetable oil, organic honey, organic cane sugar, sea salt, organic barley malt.
Because they have honey and sugar, they have three times the sugar as the other two brands. It’s only three grams, but my kids get enough sugar from things they can recognize as treats without getting extra in their afternoon snack. I’d rather have my kids get sugar in something where they can taste it, like a cookie or ice cream, than as an additive in something they don’t recognize as sweet.
Also, if you know me you know I don’t care for kid-specific products on a regular basis. Seriously, who is saying “Oh, I have such a terrible time getting my kids to eat pretzels. Maybe if I spend extra to buy these bunny-shaped ones they will finally eat them.”
I think there are better organic pretzel options, such as 365 Brand or Newman’s Own. (I like Newman’s Own but I don’t buy them because they cost more than I’m willing to pay.)
The bottom line:
No processed snack food is perfect. It’s a processed snack food, for goodness sake! Decide what you can live with, read the ingredients, and enjoy occasionally.