Slick, shiny pretzels are being seasoned with many flavors, which is beckoning consumers looking for a snack with a healthy halo. Getting the seasonings to stick isn’t easy.

Pretzels’ signature brown color and sheen is what makes them difficult to season after baking, said Nico Roesler, North American pretzel and snack equipment sales manager for Reading Bakery Systems. The sodium hydroxide bath in a pretzel cooker creates the sheen, and the outside of the dough develops a darker shell while the interior dough remains light and airy. 

“To better season a pretzel, you need to find a way to access the interior airy texture,” he said. “This can be done by breaking the pretzels into pieces or braiding the pretzel so bits of the lighter interior show through between the twists of a braid. These crevasses in a braided pretzel also catch seasoning really well and allow the seasoning to collect in those grooves.”

A typical lye pretzel won’t have problems with seasonings sticking, said Randy Kelly, applications specialist, Fritsch, a Multivac Group company. 

“Due to the lye which the products are covered with, seasonings will adhere perfectly,” he said. “Products that are not coated with lye should be moistened with a mixture of water and guar flour before baking. This ensures that the toppings will stick.”

Slurry systems with drum rotators can apply topical seasonings, said Lipika Mandal, food technologist, Spooner Vicars Bakery Systems, a Middleby Bakery company.

This article is an excerpt from the October 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Pretzel Processing, click here.