Soft Pretzels


 

610 AD

Somewhere near the French-Italian border

The unconfirmed rumor is that an Italian monk created the first pretzel from leftover bread dough. He rolled it out, formed it into the shape of a child's arms folded in prayer, and called it a "pretoria," Latin for "reward." The pretoria later made its way to Austria and Germany where it became known as the "bretzel" or "pretzel."

 

1510

the Turks lay siege to Vienna

To breach the city walls, the invading Turks tried to tunnel under them. Plucky pretzel bakers awake in the middle of the night discovered the intrepid Turks and were able to raise the alarm, thereby saving the city. As a reward, the King commissioned a special coat of arms, featuring a charging lion and a pretzel. This pretzel-baker's emblem is still used today.

 

1614

pretzels get married

A stained-glass window from a cathedral in Berne, Switzerland shows a pretzel being used to "tie the knot" between two royal families. Around this time, wishing upon a pretzel became common at weddings. The bride and groom would make a wish and break the pretzel like a wishbone. Since both likely wished for happiness, their wish was often granted.

 

1861

the pretzel gets its own factory in Lititz, Pennsylvania

The story (and that's all it is) goes that a hobo hopped off a train and followed his nose to a bakery where he traded his pretzel recipe for a meal. Whether Julius Sturgis was an apprentice at this bakery is arguable. That in 1861 he started the first commercial pretzel bakery in America is not.

The annual United States pretzel industry is worth over $550 million. The average American consumes about 1.5 pounds of pretzels per year.Southeastern Pennsylvania, with its large German population, is considered the birthplace of the American pretzel industry and many pretzel bakers are still located in the area. The average Philadelphian consumes about twelve times more pretzels than the national average

1700 - The soft pretzel was part of the southern German and Swiss German tradition. The large immigrant population became the thrifty Pennsylvania Dutch culture. The pretzels popularity spread and, in time, many handmade pretzel bakeries dotted the Pennsylvania Dutch landscape.

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