What are Pretzels? Some Basic Facts and Simple Recipe

freshly baked pretzels

What Are Pretzels? 

What are pretzels? It seems like a straightforward inquiry. We as a whole might suspect we realize the salty dough transformed into dearest snacks. Be that as it may, what many individuals don’t know is that the modest pretzel has a rich strict history and facts that have integrated with the Catholic Church’s medieval customs. For instance, did you realize that the three pretzel gaps have significant meaning attached to them? They represent the Holy Trinity.

More Details About What Are Pretzels

Google is featuring the snack with a Google Doodle video that designates “commending the pretzel.” The video Doodle shows an individual contorting pretzel dough into “Google.” The Doodle intends to observe Oktoberfest, which is a world-popular festival in Bavaria, Germany. In all honesty, Oktoberfest (which implies, honestly, “Octoberfest”) starts in September. It runs from September 21 through October 6 every year.

As per Google, the festival highlights “Brotfrauen (or bread women)” who “will bring containers of chewy Brezeln through Bierhallen (enormous tents) in Germany, the focal point of Oktoberfest party.” According to the Oktoberfest site, the fest started with a festival to respect the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. It is the world’s biggest festival.

Some Fun Facts About Pretzels

  1. The History of the Pretzel Has Closely Intertwined With the Catholic Church and Lent

A server sells pretzels as revelers celebrate with a brew in the Armbrustschuetzenzelt tent on the 2018 Oktoberfest lager festival on September 22, 2018, Munich, Germany.

The Catholic Church had a great deal of state in the pretzel, as we probably know today. As per History.com, the pretzel was the ideal nourishment for early Catholics to eat during Lent because of what it doesn’t contain and because of the church’s Lenten dietary limitations.

Rewind to the seventh century, and you locate a Catholic Church that implemented its Lenten standards all the more carefully. Catholics should eat meat, dairy, and eggs during that timespan, the History Channel revealed. Be that as it may, as per The New York Times, it likely was not a German development. The paper reports that the primary pretzel had presumably made by a priest in A.D. 610 who lived in either France or Italy and “curved extra bread dough into crossed supplicating arms” with the three openings speaking to the Holy Trinity. He had said to have skilled this new treat to kids who did well with their supplications, the Times revealed.

As indicated by the Times, however, a pretzel can likewise be found in a “fifth-century enlightened original copy in the Vatican.”

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It was made of water, flour, and salt, so it didn’t contain the things that the church didn’t need individuals to eat, in any event during Lent, a time of fasting and reflection. The main pretzels had designated “bracellae,” which signifies “little arms” in Latin, History.com. It transformed into the German “bretzel.” There is an argument about the word’s historical underpinnings, however. “Both Pretoria (meaning little prize) and the old German word, brezitella, originating from the Latin word for arm, brachium,” are the verifiable underlying foundations of the word pretzel, as per USA Today.

2. A German Bakery in California Made the Pretzel Featured in the Google Doodle

Praising the Pretzel! Flip, turn, and bake! The present Doodle, crisply baked by Esther’s German Bakery, commends the unparalleled pretzel—one of the world’s generally adaptable and dearest nourishments! As Oktoberfest, the Bavarian fall festival, starts today, Brotfrauen (or bread women) will help bins of chewy Brezeln through Bierhallen (enormous tents) in Germany, the focal point of the Oktoberfest party.

In the Google Doodle video, the pretzel was made by Esther’s German Bakery in Berkeley, California, by baker Jamie Orlich. He depicted for Google what it takes to make a decent pretzel.

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“Identifying with the dough is critical. You have to relate the pressure of your hands to the dough, and that would all be able to rely upon the state and temperature of the dough,” he said. “For instance, on the off chance that you roll the pretzel dough with your fingers and you have your fingers spread apart, it’ll break all the more no problem at all. It can make pinnacles and valleys in the dough. Regardless of whether your fingers are as one, you have shapes there, which turns out in the dough. It can have a major effect. At the closures where the dough is more slender, I utilize my entire palms since it’s a level surface.”

Four key things make a pretzel “valid,” Orlich told Google. “The surface, enhance, shading, size… they’re immensely significant. Many individuals make pretzels, and they’re extremely extraordinary. We make a true pretzel here, and everything must be correct,” he said.

3. Pretzels Came to the United States on the Mayflower and Pennsylvania Was Home to the First Pretzel Bakery in America

Ace baker Juergen Ipta structures a run of the Bavarian mill pretzel at the”Duell” bakery, candy store, and gingerbread factory in Nuremberg, southern Germany, on November 18, 2014.

As indicated by The New York Times, pretzels had existed in the United States since the Colonies when they had brought from Europe. However, it took 200 years for the primary pretzel bakery in America to dispatch in Lititz, Pennsylvania, not a long way from Philadelphia, The Times reports.

The Times says the pretzel was brought to America on the Mayflower. Yet, as indicated by Pennsylvania’s Twist, it may have been brought over by the Palatine Germans, who are all the more ordinarily known as the Pennsylvania Dutch.

The primary pretzel bakery in America was known as the “Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory, the main business pretzel bakery in America,” as per the article Pennsylvania’s Twist. In part because of the Sturgis processing plant, the more significant part of the pretzels in the U.S. are as yet made in Pennsylvania.

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What are the fixings in a run of the mill pretzel? There are two sorts of pretzels: Soft and hard. As per Pennsylvania’s Twist, hard pretzels were a mishap brought about by a Pennsylvania disciple who baked pretzels too long because he nodded off, cooking dough dampness.

In Germany, as per NPR, conventional Bavarian pretzels “are plunged in a lye arrangement before they are baked.” Yes, that is the sodium hydroxide that is “basically similar stuff that is utilized to make cleanser and clean depletes.” It won’t hurt you since it’s weakened. High temp water and heating soft drink pieces sometimes are suitable for a substitute, NPR reports.

Something many refers to as the “Maillard Reaction” is answerable for the pretzel’s well known dark colored shading. That is, “a warmth initiated response between little sugars and amino acids. Dunking dough in lye modifies the proportion among sugar and protein,” NPR clarifies. Flour, high temp water, salt, preparing pop, and yeast – those are the fixings it takes to make a pretzel.

As indicated by the Press of Atlantic City, pretzels are “bubbled before heating. On contact with the heated water, the starches on the outside of the dough gelatinize, shaping a defensive covering.” Bagels and pretzels are comparable; however, are bubbled in various arrangements – pretzels are bubbled in a soluble account, the paper announced. You can discover a formula for soft pretzels here. Here’s a recipe for Pennsylvania Dutch hard pretzels.

5. Pretzel Bakers Were Important During the Siege of Vienna

The pretzel bakers were imperative to sparing Vienna from the Turks during the Siege of Vienna. As indicated by Pennsylvania’s Twist, pretzel bakers heard the trespassers attempting to burrow into the city. They had the option to sound notice since they were “alert and occupied grinding away.”

They have credited with sparing the city from intrusion and had later given a crest, which the article says shows “a pretzel and a lion on a shield.” because of this rich history, pretzel bakeries in Europe regularly gladly show that emblem over their entryways.

As indicated by the book Foodie Facts by Ann Treistman, the Turks were arranging an unexpected assault however didn’t understand that “Vienna’s bakers were morning people, and on their way to the shops.” Pretzels arrived at a mass-market crowd when the Reading Pretzel Machinery Company presented “the primary programmed pretzel-winding machine,” as per the book.

6. The Pretzel’s Shape Has Deep Meaning in Medieval Art

We’ve gotten so used to the pretzel that the more significant part of us presumably never stop to mull over its shape. Be that as it may, it had special meaning to medieval artists.

As per Food and Wine, the pretzel, notwithstanding its initial strict meaning, came to view as an image of karma. It was maybe because it was a blessing that priests regularly provided for the poor who required pretzels since they were eager.

In this manner, announced Food and Wine, the pretzel got known as an “indication of satisfaction, favorable luck and thriving,” appearing in Herrad of Landsberg’s reference book Hortus Deliciarum, among different works in the Middle Ages.

Still, Wondering What are Pretzels?

Here is the Recipe!

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) warm water (warm)
  • Yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon (8g) granulated sugar
  • 3 and 3/4 – 4 and 1/2 cups (480-530g) all-purpose flour + more for work surface (or blend of entire wheat flour and generally useful flour) (spoon and leveled)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Salt, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line baking sheet with material paper or silicone baking mat. Put in a safe spot.
  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix with a spoon until genuinely blended, around 1 moment. A few bunches of yeast will remain. Include salt and sugar; mix until genuinely joined. Gradually include 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at once. Blend in with a wooden spoon until dough is thick. Include 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is never again clingy. On the off chance that it is as yet clingy, mean 1/2 cup more. Jab the dough with your finger – on the off chance that it ricochets back, it is ready to knead.
  3. Further, turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for around 3 minutes and shape into a ball. With a sharp blade, cut ball of dough into 1/3 cup areas. This estimation doesn’t need to be careful. Use to such an extent or little dough for every pretzel as you wish – the size of the pretzel is totally up to you.
  4. Roll the dough into a rope with an even distance across. My ropes were twenty inches in length. This estimation will depend how large you need the pretzels. When you have your long rope, take the closures and draw them together so the dough shapes a circle. Bend the closures, then bring them towards yourself and press them down into a pretzel shape. See above for connection to visual directions.

Next Steps

  1. This fifth step is Optional: Whisk 9 cups of water and 1/2 cup baking soda together in a large pot. Heat to the point of boiling. Spot a pretzel onto a large opened spatula and dunk into the bubbling water for 20-30 seconds. Anything else than that and your pretzels will have a metallic taste. The pretzel will coast. Lift the pretzel out of the water and permit as a significant part of the abundance water to trickle off. Spot pretzel onto prepared baking sheet. Rehash with the remainder of the pretzels. Peruse why this is a decent alternative here. Be that as it may, once more, it’s a bit much and I didn’t do it for these pretzels.
  2. In a little bowl, beat the egg and fill a shallow bowl or pie dish. Dunk the shaped pretzel into the egg wash (the two sides). Spot on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Further, Bake for 10 minutes at 425°F (218°C). Turn the oven to broil and bake for 5 additional minutes to brown the tops. Watch near abstain from consuming
  4. Allow to cool and appreciate. Serve warm or at room temperature. Pretzels must put away in a sealed shut compartment or zipped top sack for as long as 3 days (will lose delicateness).


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