Join millions of Americans coast to coast who will be celebrating National Pretzel Day on Thursday, April 26, 2018.
It's the day to check out entertaining facts about how the pretzel was invented, and more on how to celebrate the twisted treat that's been a favorite of knoshers since the 15th century!
Also, take advantage of local pretzel vendors who will be offering warm-from-the-oven goodness with free giveaways of fresh, chewy pretzels on April 26 in honor of the day.
Pretzel fun facts
The pretzel is front and center on the official
crest of the Backerhandwerks (bakers guild)
Pretzels have been enjoyed since medieval times when monks created the treats from bits of dough that were twisted together to represent a child's arms in prayer. The frugal monks called it a pretiola, or Latin for "little reward."
From there, the pretiola slowly morphed into the Italian word, brachiola, or "little arms." The brachiola soon journeyed beyond France and Italy to find favor in Austria and Germany where it became known as the "bretzel."
And the rest, as they say, is pretzel history...
• The phrase "tying the knot" came from the Swiss, who still incorporate the lucky pretzel in wedding ceremonies.
• The world's first hard pretzel was said to have first appeared in the 17th century when a colonial Pennsylvania baker over-baked a batch, and deemed them delicious.
• Pretzels were made by hand until 1935 when the first automated pretzel machine was introduced, enabling factory bakers to mass produce them to the tune of 245 pretzels per minute.
• More than $550 million worth of pretzels are sold in the United States every year.... and that's a lot of pretzels!
How to celebrate National Pretzel Day
That's easy! Head to your favorite corner push cart to buy a soft pretzel from a street vendor. Smell the aroma, and savor the doughy taste as you dig in for some chewy just-baked goodness.
Or, make your way to the grocery store. In the snack aisle, you'll find bags of hard pretzels of every variety including salted, non-salted, sourdough, onion, honey mustard, and more. Pretzels also come in sticks, squares and other shapes that give it just the right mouth feel for addictive snacking.
You can also head to the kitchen to make your own homemade creations. Some pretzel lovers use frozen bread or pizza dough for a quick way for making homemade pretzels, but if you want to create them from scratch, here's the basic recipe:
Homemade pretzel recipe
How to make a pretzel twist
Roll 12" pieces into long snakes.
Twist-tie the ends at top and fold
them over to meet at the bottom.
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons coarse salt
1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine yeast mixture with the sugar, salt and flour and mix until a stiff dough is formed.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in volume.
4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 pieces. Roll pieces out into long "snakes" and form into pretzel shapes (see illustration).
Place pretzels on lightly greased baking sheet. Brush tops with the beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse salt.
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
You can also get creative with a whole variety of pretzel recipes including instructions for making small, big, and oversized pretzels. Different toppings such as sesame seeds or poppy seeds - are limited only to your imagination. Have fun!