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Pretzels in America

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Few things go better with a cold beer than pretzels.

The roots of commercial pretzel baking in America can be traced back to the 1850s when a tramp passing through the town of Lititz, Pennsylvania swapped a recipe for hard pretzels for a meal at Ambrose Rauch's Bakery. Julius Sturgis, an apprentice at Rauch's 'inherited' the discarded recipe and opened his own bakery, where he began to bake pretzels in 18611.


Sturgis' recipe called for placing yeast in a jar with water, hops and malt and left to brew. This liquid was mixed with flour, water and stock and then beaten to a consistency of molasses and allowed to rise overnight. Next, the dough was kneaded and transferred to a rolling table where it was pulled apart, rolled into strips and twisted into the characteristic pretzel shape.

They then were dunked in boiling water for ten seconds. These pretzels were then sprinkled with salt and put into a 550° oven where they baked for ten minutes. These soft pretzels were removed and after two and a half hours of drying, they became hard.

1Today, Sturgis' shop is a national historic landmark as the first pretzel bakery in America.

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