Two Main Types
There are many different types of pretzels that come in a multitude of different shapes, flavors, and sizes to choose from. They are a tasty snack that satisfies either a sweet or salty craving. I don't know about you, but I don't know anyone who doesn't love delicious pretzels!
There are two main types of pretzels, and each has a distinctive texture. There is the soft pretzel, often called the authentic pretzel, as it was the version brought here in the first place. Then there is the hard pretzel, which was originally made in 1850 in Pennsylvania. The two types of pretzels taste very different.
Soft pretzels have a rich taste, kind of like a bagel but with a twist (pretzel humor - get used to it, lol;). They are golden-baked bread treats of chewy, salty perfection. Germany is one of the first places soft pretzels became popular. The delicious soft pretzels are often served hot for breakfast there, with German white sausage, and sometimes sour cream.
In America, the soft pretzel is also popular and sold at corner stands, bakeries, and even malls. They are often eaten plain, with mustard, or with cheese sauce (my personal favorite). Another popular way to eat a soft pretzel is with cinnamon and sugar, dipped in icing. Yum! So whether you want the flavor of something sweet or something salty, soft pretzels are the perfect snack.
Since hard pretzels were born in the United States going on two centuries ago now, we know they're a crowd favorite. There are so many different types of hard pretzels that come in endless savory varieties, even pretzel lovers have a hard time choosing! We even have a National Pretzel Day on April 26th.
There are sweet pretzels with chocolate coating and yogurt-covered ones, too. There are onion and garlic flavored pretzels, pizza-style pretzels, and every kind of flavor you can imagine. There are peanut butter-filled pretzels and sourdough pretzels and pretzels with sea salt. There are special diet choices too!
The story of how the pretzel shape came about is very interesting, but for another blog topic - so be sure to check back at pretzels.com for this topic soon. For now, suffice it to say it's got roots in Christianity, believe it or not! Nowadays, there's no shortage of pretzel shapes to choose from.
The stick shape was genius, better known today as pretzel sticks. There are little sticks to thick rods and bite-sized logs - also known as pretzel nuggets - that when filled with peanut butter, are delightful! There are ring-shaped hard pretzels, waffle shapes, arms crossed cutout, and of course, basic twists. Try mustard with any of them for a 'twist'.
If you're looking for a really great party idea, the pretzel crisp is such a versatile pretzel! Light and baked to crispy perfection, pretzel crisps are the perfect snack for any occasion. Serve them for a National Pretzel Day party, or an Oktoberfest celebration! A super bowl party is a great time for social snacking, too!
When you want something to dip your pretzels in, first try sea salt instead of coarse salt. Sea salt helps keep you hydrated and reduces fluid retention, unlike regular salt. Then try things like cream cheese, or melt some Velveeta! Raspberry honey mustard is also wonderful, as is ranch dressing or even marinara sauce. Get creative with flavors!
Pretzels are already made with whole wheat flour. But if you're looking for something gluten-free, try some wheat-free pretzel sticks. They're great gluten-free snackers, and you can even make the soft ones at home! You can also buy pre-made gluten-free dough, and skip the unhealthy additives.
Pretzels and Beer
Though pretzels and beer have been widely enjoyed in the U.S. for many years, pretzels and beer have been traditionally served in Germany for longer, as the first country officially recognized for the origination of the soft kind of pretzel, later brought to America by German immigrants.
In fact, starting with the last week of September and culminating the first Sunday in October, is the annual Oktoberfest celebration. This is where pizza and beer are the main items served and honored.
Peanut Butter and Pretzel Deliciousness
Hard pretzels found today offer classic options as well as exotic ones, like the picture above of a pretzel - peanut butter milkshake! Peanut butter with pretzels is a perfect ratio of a not-too-sweet, not-too-salty snack mix. This milkshake is definitely a sweet reward! Peanut butter-filled pretzel nuggets are one of my favorites, too.
If you love big pretzels, recipes are easy to find online for many different pretzel doughs. Since the soft kind only stays fresh for a day, you may have either leftover pretzels or leftover bread dough, or both.
If this is the case, try taking the leftover pretzels (or bake the dough, then dry out) and crush them into bread crumbs for your next recipe, or use them as croutons. You'll be amazed at how delicious they are!
How Pretzels Were Invented
It is the most told, most widely accepted story that the pretzel was invented by an Italian monk in 610 A.D., as a small reward for his child students for memorizing their prayers.
He called them 'pretiola' meaning 'little rewards', and the shape resembled a child with his arms crossed in prayer. The three holes are also said to signify the holy trinity.
From there it becomes popular in Austrian bakeries and in all of Germany, and so on throughout the world.
The legend of the invention of hard pretzels, produced originally in Pennsylvania in 1850, is that a tramp sold the recipe to the owner of the Sturgis Bakery. Enjoy the type you love the best today, and come back soon to Pretzels.com!