What is a pretzel?
They are made up of a blend of water, flour, and salt. They were considered to be the best food to eat during Lent; it was when all sorts of meat, dairy, and eggs were disallowed. They are baked snack food that comes in both soft and hard varieties. Plus, you can enjoy it in both sweet and salty flavours.
Shapes of a pretzel
Most pretzels have a signature shape that matches a knot. This uncommon shape is an asymmetrical circle made by winding the ends of a large strip of the dough and then folding them back on each other; this creates a pretzel loop.
It was long back in 610 AD when monks in Italy used to bake dough strips and folded them into a criss-cross shape to reward students who learnt their prayers. At that time, they were called pretiola, which means little reward in Latin. When this tasty snack arrived in Germany, it was called bretzels.
Later, its initial bake took place in a monastery in France. One thing which people are sure of in history about pretzels is the Christian connotations.
Its popularity increased
People lived its taste, and this snack became pretty famous. During the Middle Ages, it became prevalent in Europe. Then they were also associated with Lent and Easter. They were hunted on Easter mornings just like children hunt eggs today. In the 16th century, it became a ritual to have Pretzels on Good Friday in Germany.
Its taste travelled to Pennsylvania
These twisted treats became so famous that they made their way to the Atlantic with German immigrants. In the 1700s, various bakeries opened up in Pennsylvania and became the famous place for pretzels to be made. Approximately 80% of the pretzels are made here for the entire America. It was in 1850 when the first commercial bakery opened there.
In the 20th century, it started becoming renowned in big cities. It comes in many flavours as people add a lot of things as per their taste, such as cinnamon, sugar, nuts, and seeds. In fact, along with their traditional shape, they also come in other forms like a stick, loops, braids, etc.
Good luck symbol
As this twisted snack has religious roots, it is considered to be a good-luck symbol. In fact, German kids carry pretzels around their necks on New Year’s Day. They were also ducked along with hard-boiled eggs on Easter in the 16th century. There are various cultures where they break pretzels after making a wish, as it is considered lucky.