History of Pretzel
610 A.D – Legend holds that an Italian monk, his name now lost to history, decided to reward his students by serving them baked scraps of leftover dough. He rolled and twisted the dough to resemble his students, who folded their arms across their chests when praying. After baking the dough to a golden brown, he called the finished product “pretiolas”, Latin for “little rewards”.
A good idea like this one didn’t take long to catch on – “pretiolas” spread throughout Europe and were considered a symbol of good luck, long life and prosperity.
1510 – A group of Turkish invaders sought to mount a sneak attack against the city of Vienna, Austria, by digging tunnels underneath the walls. But pretzel bakes heard the commotion, sounded the alarm, and grabbed their weapons to help fight off the attack. Their actions were awarded with a seal that included a depiction of a pretzel.
1600s – The wedding phrase “ tying the knot” got its start when a pretzel was used to tie the knot between two prominent families. The pretzel’s loops stood for everlasting love.
Hard pretzels were discovered by mistake, when a bakers’ apprentice fell asleep by the furnace and let the treats bake “ too long”. At first, the baker was angry at this carelessness, but upon tasting the pretzels, quickly realised he had an opportunity for something big.
1620s – Pretzels may have made their way to the United States on the Mayflower. It is said that the Pilgrims traded pretzels with the Native Americans for various things.
1800s – Immigrants from around the Europe came to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and brought their pretzel recipes with them.
1861 – The first American hard pretzel factory was opened in Lititz, Pennsylvania. The artisans of the day rolled, baked and salted pretzels by hand.
1988 – Anne Beiler bought a stand in a Downingtown, Pennsylvania farmer’s market and Auntie Anne’s was born.