How Did the Pretzel Get Its Shape?

Featuring a series of knots and symmetrical loops, pretzels have a unique shape that make them highly distinguishable. But how exactly did the pretzel get its shape? While there are myths surrounding the origins of the pretzel, we may never know the true answer. Read on to learn more:

The legend of the pretzelhomemade pretzels lying on a table

Legend has it that pretzels were invented around the year 610 CE. The Catholic Church claims that a monk in Northern Italy created pretzels by using left-over dough that was originally made for Lent. He created the signature pretzel shape because it was meant to symbolize a child praying with his arms folded across his chest. The monk called his creation pretiola, or “little rewards.”

Unfortunately, there is nothing to prove that this story is actually true. There are also plenty of other origin stories that feature a monk in France or bakers held hostage by local dignitaries in Germany. So, while these stories are certainly interesting, we have to take them with a grain of salt.

The first image of a pretzel

We will never truly know when or where the pretzel originated. However, we are aware of the first known illustrations of pretzels with their looping shape. The earliest recorded evidence of a pretzel (that we know of) was that of the crest of a German bakers’ guild in 1111. Later, the first illustration of a pretzel appeared in 1190 in the Hortus Deliciarum. A manuscript compiled by Herrad of Landsberg in Alsace, the Hortus Delicarum features people sitting in front of a dining table that features many delectable snacks. Among these snacks is the pretzel with its distinguishable loops.

While we may never know how the pretzel’s shape originated, we can be thankful for this delectable snack! At Uncle Henry’s Pretzels, we offer many varieties of pretzels. Look through our website to order your pretzels today!