Pretzel is a variety of baked food prepared out of dough. It can be made in both soft and hard types and with savory or sweet flavor. It is shaped in a distinctive knot-like pattern and originates from Europe. However, it is a popular snack in America, especially during Super Bowl season. The shape is characteristically proportioned loop design wherein the ends of a long band of dough are twisted or spliced together and then twisted back on top of it to form a unique pretzel loop. The baked food can also be in stick shape. It can be seasoned and decorated with glazes, salt crystals, sugar and different seeds or nuts. The baked food can be made in different sizes ranging from small and medium to large through different pretzel recipes.
There are several versions regarding the origin of the pretzels although it has been accorded by most to be associated with Christian history and were created by monks.
The History of Science and Technology, by Bryan Bunch and Alexander Hellemans, narrates that in 610 AD pretzel was invented by an Italian monk as a prize to children who learnt their prayers. There is information citing the creation of the snack in a monastery in Southern France. From the detail that pretzel was served in monasteries for the Last Supper 2,000 years ago it can also be assumed that looped pretzel may have been developed from Greek ring bread. In Germany there are accounts that pretzels were the creation of desperate bakers. It has been used as a symbol of bakers and previously their guilds in Southern German areas since at least the 12th century. German immigrants introduced this baked dish into America, which soon gained a lot of prominence. Today, there are a variety of shapes and seasonings used for these snack rolls that are an integral part of the Super Bowl menu.
Ingredients Used and Popular Methods of Preparation
Pretzels can be delicious snacks over casual occasions, for kids, surprising guests, theme parties (such as during Super Bowl season) etc.
The ingredients normally needed to make pretzels include flour, water, sugar, salt, yeast, melted unsalted butter, vegetable oil, baking soda and egg yolk in a simple pretzel recipe. The ingredients are mixed and allowed to rise for 10 -15 minutes. The dough, now turned supple is shaped and twisted to make the pretzels. The shaped dough is then baked in a preheated oven to turn into pretzels. There can be variations in the recipe and additional ingredients such as nuts, poppy seeds, etc can be incorporated.
Serving and Eating
Pretzels can be made for occasions such as Christmas also and served. Pretzels are made to be had as snack-food in Europe are typically spotted with salt, sesame seed, poppy seed or cheese. In the U. S., pretzel recipes include a lot of flavors and various coverings, such as yoghurt, chocolate, strawberry, mustard, cheese, etc. Chocolate-coated hard pretzels are common during Christmas and Super Bowl season and given as gifts. The diversity in shapes and sizes has become a challenge of the mind in the promotion of the pretzel’s taste. In the 1900's, in Philadelphia, a petite slim pretzel stick was used by people as a frequent accompaniment to ice cream or it would be crushed and used as a topping. This amalgamation of cold sweet and salty taste has become trendy over years, especially catering to the mood of the occasion. Of late there are ice cream cones tasting like a pretzel.
Popular Pretzel Variations
- Lye pretzel is common in Southern Germany, Alsace, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland as a type of bread, a side dish or a snack, and appears in a lot of local varieties. In a few regions, on January 1, pretzels are lightly sweetened and they are given by people to each other as a sign of good luck and good fortune. The "New-Years pretzels" are prepared in different sizes.
- Soft pretzel recipes are tremendously admired in many regions of the United States, during various festive and sports events such as Christmas, Easter and Super Bowl, respectively.
- Pennsylvania today is the hub of American pretzel manufacture for both the hard and crispy as well as the soft bread varieties.
- In the Czech Republic, the pretzel is called as preclík, and in Finland as viipurinrinkeli. The Spanish, French and Italians refer to it as, bretzel or brezel, the Dutch refer to the sweet variations known as krakeling, Norwegian and Danish refer to it as kringle, in Polish it is precel and in Hungarian it is known as perec.
- Hard pretzels meant as snack-food are made into sticks of about 3 millimeters fat and 12 centimeters. They are made into straight lengths, loops, braids, and letters or mini pretzels.
- The denser type of sticks can be 1 centimeter in thickness. They are known as Bavarian pretzels in the US. Hard pretzels are long-lasting when kept in airtight atmosphere and saleable in a range of convenience stores.
- In the year 1861 Sturgis Pretzel House in Lititz, Pennsylvania became the first commercial pretzel bakery in the United States.
Health and Nutrition Facts
Each ounce of regular hard baked pretzels has around 120 calories. The fat free versions of pretzels also have around 100 calories in every ounce, although chocolate encrusted pretzels have around 150 calories in every ounce. Pretzels are very high in carbohydrates and added fat, with nearly no protein. As per certain records, the consumption of such calorie rich foods is the highest during Super Bowl season in the US.