Hortus_Deliciarum_1190
From “Hortus Deliciarum” by Herrad von Landsberg, 12th Century. This image is suggested to be one of the first of a pretzel.

The history of the pretzel dates back to 600 AD when a monk in the area between France and Italy was playing with dough left over from the daily baking. While he was playing he came up with a unique twist that looked like arms crossed in prayer. This baked “pretiola” was given to children as a reward for their reverence.

The pretzel continued to be embraced by the Catholic Church throughout history, in part because it was a suitable snack to eat during Lent. The treat continued to grow as a symbol of luck and prosperity in German culture, so much that children would wear pretzel necklaces to bring luck to the new year. Even wedding celebrations would incorporate the pretzel as a symbol of matrimony.

The Pennsylvania Dutch hard pretzel was brought to the United States, specifically in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, by German and Swiss German immigrants in the 1800’s. The first commercial pretzel manufacturer began in Lititz, PA and the pretzel’s popularity took off and has continued to grow today.

Hammond’s Pretzels use the same traditional process as was used back then, with the belief that the hands-on approach to baking yields a better product than anything a machine could produce.