Boiled Pretzels

In a recipe for soft pretzels, the directions say to boil the pretzels briefly in a mixture of water and baking soda. What is the purpose of doing this? —S.S., Loveland, Colorado

Boiling the pretzels in water helps create the chewy texture we associate with soft pretzels. Adding baking soda to the water gives the surface of the pretzels a shiny appearance, helps with browning and intensifies the flavor.