The history of the pretzel dates back to 600 A.D. 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.