26 Jan 2022 [Best Soft Pretzels in Philadelphia]

Recently I visited three of remaining soft Philadelphia pretzel bakeries to taste test the soft pretzels coming off the line. My pretzels were not cherry picked and I told no one at the bakery/factories/convenience store of my taste testing intentions.

Fresh pretzels coming off the line at Center City Pretzel Company (in South Philadelphia). It is a nice experience to visit here.
Pretzels left to right: Philly Pretzel Factory, Center City Pretzel Company, Wawa Convenience Stores

My wife was the official taste tester. I had her sample each pretzel twice in a random sequence. I gave her a piece of McIntosh apple to cleanse her palate between samples. 🙂

From presentation alone, Philadelphia pretzel factory looks slightly undercooked, while Center City Pretzel Company and Wawa Convenience stores look baked to perfection.

My wife was blindfolded then given a piece of the knot of each of the pretzel shown in the plate below in random order.

Center City pretzel Company (left) was the most dense and salty, Center City Pretzel Factory (center) was the most flat and airy, Wawa (right) was a medium consistency with the least salt.

My wife reached the following conclusions:

  • Wawa was the best tasting, but it was a little bland. It is lacking in salt.
  • Philadelphia Pretzel factory makes a good pretzel, but it has a slight aftertaste
  • Center City Pretzel Company was dense making it too dry

I concur with my wife’s findings.

Thus, two times in a row, Wawa has won my pretzel competition. Wawa, for whatever reason, is cutting back significantly on salt placed on their pretzels. I have noticed myself this universal salt reduction happening for a least six months. Raise your price if you must Wawa, but protect your standing as our best soft pretzel in Philadelphia.

Another side note, about Philadelphia Pretzel Factory. Try to buy your pretzels outside of Center City. They are of inconsistent quality. I specifically prefer the Philly Soft Pretzel Factory bakery in Port Richmond.

Did you know you can reheat pretzels in a microwave wrapped in a wet cloth napkin? I freeze pretzels when they are fresh and reheat them as desired. In our tests, Philly Pretzel Factory wins the pretzels reheating taste test. Wawa ranked #2, Center City Pretzel company came in third. That being said, out of 10, I give Wawa pretzels a 8.4, Philly Soft Pretzel an 8, and Center City Pretzel a 7.6. They are all good and you may think differently than my taste buds. Last time I did this test taste I thought pretzels were better. Granted, it’s January and we are amidst a covid-19 spike so things were not ideal.

On a side note, my beloved Philadelphia pretzel bakery in our Juanita neighborhood appears to be out of business: Philadelphia Soft Pretzels Inc. He shut off his phone line some time last year after saying it was temporarily closed because of covid. Here’s to hoping the red headed baker man with the tough early morning hours he was tired of returns. I hope you pass on your baking skills onto a dedicated younger pretzel baker.

Curious about my pre-covid Philadelphia pretzel contest? https://www.captainapplesauce.com/bestphillypretzels.html

local_offerevent_note January 26, 2022

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