The Breukelen Life

The Breukelen Life

Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn

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Martin’s Pretzels and Edible Brooklyn

May 22, 2011 , ,

I had a great time on Wednesday with S at the second Edible’s “How to…” series at the Brooklyn Brewery. First, let me say that it wasn’t so bad going out to Williamsburg. I almost canceled on the night because I didn’t have the energy to drag myself there and M was taunting me with a night of GG and Nurse Jackie. But then S decided to come. Promises of his company and dinner was kind of a nice idea no matter how badly it was raining so I did what I never do and went over the Williamsburg bridge.

Generally, the Edible events are great and I always have a nice time. Wednesdays “How to make breads, pretzels & pastries” did not disappoint. Upon arriving we were more than thrilled to see a free loaf from Orwashers, pretzels from Martin’s Pretzels and shortbread from Scratchbread! Never mind the Brewery’s beer special, which is awesome. You cay $4 for a beer token OR you can get 6 tokens for $20 which we split. Just to let you know (in case you live under a rock or just outside of NYC), that’s a great deal.

Tickets to the event were only $5 and the loaf of free bread was probably worth more than. I’m not sure how they keep it so cheap. Granted, the first event was free and now it’s $5. We’ll see what the next one costs.

I felt that each vendor who presented is worth a like exploring so today I’m going to tell you a bit about Martin’s pretzels and then tomorrow I’ll explore Orwashers and Scratchbread.

We got to hear from Alfred Milanese co-founder of Martin’s Pretzels. Bless his soul but he didn’t have an idea what he was doing with his computer or the presentation that someone else obviously created for him. One video stopped and then he skipped it completely. Father into the presentation he realized he was actually on the wrong one.

All of NYC is probably rejoicing that he is our pretzel man and not working at Tekserve. It’s a good thing he was funny and interesting. Add in a few beers and we were highly entertained!

additional information from original post Martin’s Pretzels have been a fixture in the Greenmarket since 1982. But it was originally started in the 1930’s by the Martin family. After Milanese spent sometime with them in Lancaster, Pennsylvania he teamed up with the family to take the pretzels outside of their home area to the Greenmarket. That just seems like a really, REALLY long time ago seeing as how I was 1 when he first got to the Greenmarket. The longevity of his business is well deserved seeing as how he’s one of the few pretzel making vendors still making his product completely by hand.

To this day they are still partners, giving NYC the best pretzels around. I really did enjoy hearing about the pretzel making process. That alone blows my mind. But then we got to see a great clip of the Mennonite women “twisters” singing hymns while working which was a beautiful and haunting thing to see. You can check out the video here.

One thing was clear (besides not knowing how to work a powerpoint), Milanese also doesn’t have a clue how to make pretzels. He said he tried just for the Edible event and showed us pictures from his efforts. Pretty good for a first effort! I would have enjoyed having his partner there and listening to the two of them discuss the process but cest la vie.

It did make me realize one important thing, leave the pretzel making to the pros. Making pretzels is something that I would totally think about on a Saturday morning and say “Oh! Great idea! Let’s give this a try.” But now? No, I won’t do that. There’s chemicals involved and boiling. Like bagels, I’m going to leave it to the pros but I would have never known if it weren’t for Alfred!

Martin’s Pretzels are Slow Food approved. You can find Martin’s at the Union Square Greenmarket Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday as well as Borough Hall on Tuesdays and at 77th street on Sundays. They seriously have the most attractive workers in the market. You can’t miss them.


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Hey, fun write up. Thank you. Though I would like to make one comment about my technical abilities: it’s true that I’m not extremely familiar with PowerPoint, but in fact I researched and put every inch (every twist) of the presentation together…the problem was that the person who queued up the file before I went up to speak, set up the wrong one (it was what I’d sent for testing the day before!)…unfortunately, in the final that wasn’t shown, there was even more interesting stuff. Ah well. Next time I will definitely bring my own equipemnt and hook it in and queue it up myself. But again, thanks for being entertained by it all.
Also, a slight correction: Martin’s Pretzels was founded in the 1930’s, I teamed up with the Martins to bring the pretzels outside of their home area in Lancaster County, to Greenmarket, in 1982.

Alfred Milanese

May 26, 2011

Thanks for reading Alfred! (And putting up with my fun poking :)) It was really great listening – we had a nice time!


May 26, 2011

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