I'm making some soft pretzels, and I've experienced this phenomenon before. I do the baking soda bath, and rinse (as per cooks illustrated) but any portions that aren't stuck together totally, if the baking soda mixture gets in there but it doesn't get subjected to direct heat (think inside the twists, and sometimes where the ends connect to the bottom) seems to saturate with a brownish liquid (the baking soda water when baked?) and ends up VERY bitter when the pretzel is baked. I'm gonna give another batch a shot this afternoon, but would like to avoid this. Any suggestions?