You know those soft pretzels you get at movie theaters and Target stores, the ones that come with your choice of toppings, each more disgusting

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Best Pretzel Outside Pennsylvania

Oma Stein's pretzels

You know those soft pretzels you get at movie theaters and Target stores, the ones that come with your choice of toppings, each more disgusting than the last? Anyone with a drop of Pennsylvania Dutch blood will tell you: Despite its shape, that doughy mush is not a pretzel. True pretzel connoisseurs either order five-pound boxes from Martin's Pretzel Bakery in Amish Country or go to the Broadway farmers market every Sunday to buy Oma Stein's pretzels from the Heavenly Pastry stand (the bakery also sells at the Wallingford, Ballard, and Madison-Madrona markets and supplies the Elliott Bay Brewpub). There really is an Oma Stein, and she really did bring her recipe to the States from Stuttgart. "She gave me the recipe and let me keep it only if I made them in the traditional German way," says Oma Stein's granddaughter-in-law, baker Allison Barnes. By traditional Oma means properly chewy, with an even, cola-covered crust and a thick scattering of rock salt. Their nutty taste comes from good flour and a generous brushing of oil. "I've been baking and selling these pretzels for three years now," Barnes says, "and she hasn't asked me to return the recipe, so I guess I'm doing it right." This Dutchman would agree.—Jonathan Kauffman

 
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