The world can thank a frustrated teacher with leftover bread dough for the invention of the soft pretzel. In A.D. 610, while baking bread, an Italian monk decided to create a treat to motivate his distracted catechism students. He rolled out ropes of dough, twisted them to resemble hands crossed on the chest in prayer, and baked them. The monk christened his snacks pretiola, Latin for “little reward.” Parents who tasted their children’s classroom treats referred to them as brachiola, or “little arms.” When pretiola arrived in Germany, they were called bretzels.
Hard pretzels were “invented” in the late 1600s, when a snoozing apprentice in a Pennsylvania bakery accidentally overbaked his pretzels, creating crunchy, seemingly inedible, knots. His job was spared when the master baker, attempting admonishment, took an angry bite out of one–and loved it.
Until the 1930s, pretzels were handmade, and the average worker could twist 40 a minute. In 1935, the Reading Pretzel Machinery Company introduced the first automated pretzel machine, which enabled large bakeries to make 245 pretzels per minute, or five tons in a day.
More than $550 million worth of pretzels are sold in the United States annually; 80 percent are made in Pennsylvania, where hard pretzels originated.
The average U.S. citizen consumes up to two pounds of pretzels per year, but Philadelphians snack on about 12 pounds of pretzels per person every year.
Celebrate National Pretzel Day with these Deals:
Smales Pretzel Bakery – The bakery began with German-born Rudie Schaaf opening Gem City Pretzel on Warren Street in 1906, not long after he arrived in Dayton as a boy in 1895. The shop’s current location at 210 Xenia Ave. dates to 1926 when his daughter, Emma, moved it there and renamed it.
Smales’ history twists into the city’s at every turn. A stand operated in the old downtown Arcade for years. Armloads of pretzels were ferried to neighborhood groceries and found their way into the hands of generations of school kids.
Currently owned and operated by Emma Smales, Schaaf’s great-great granddaughter.Smales Pretzel Bakery will give each visitor a free pretzel from 7am – 1pm on Friday, April 26th
Auntie Anne’s – From April 26-28, customers can purchase any pretzel item and get an original or cinnamon sugar pretzel for free. The “buy one, get one” deal will be available to anyone at Auntie Anne’s website, as well as in the Pretzel Perks app. There is also a catering offer, get $25 off $100 orders with promo code NPD25, so why not treat your entire office/sports team to pretzels.
Another fun way Auntie Anne’s is celebrating National Pretzel Day is with the release of the new “A Twisted Day” shower curtain which features a special pretzel design. It joins the other “For the Love of Pretzels” collection of accessories and apparel which donates 100% of sales to our charity partner, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.”
Philly Pretzel Factory Centerville – Giving everyone a FREE PRETZEL on Friday, April 2th ! No purchase necessary. Stop by and get your free pretzel…and bring a friend!
1063 S. Main St.
Centerville, Ohio 45458
Another locally owned shop, K & R Pretzel Bakery doesn’t have any special promo’s going on for National Pretzel Day, they just say they are taking lots of order for the day. Started in 1967 by Karen & Ralph Glaze, hence the K & R name, Ralph learned pretzel making from a German pretzel maker. Today the bakery is run by the next generation, siblings Pattie and James Glaze. They have both hard and soft pretzels and you can read more about them here.
1700 Flesher Avenue in Kettering,
Open Tues – Fri 10am – 4pm, and Sat 11am-4pm.
If you know of other Pretzel day deals we missed, please add in the comment section below.