Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery
219 East Main Street, Lititz, PA, USA
www.juliussturgis.com - (717) 626-4354
Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery Lititz Reviews
Doing the Twist May 28, 2015
It is difficult to fathom soft pretzels came before hard pretzels. But back in the day only soft pretzels were baked, at least until somebody forgot to take the dough out one night at a bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania. When the kilns were fired up again the following morning, the twice baked goods were hard, but tasty. Julius Sturgis was a bakery employee who seized upon this “twist” in baking pretzels and after failing to persuade his employer with hard facts, built some kilns at his homestead and went into business for himself. Julius began his hard pretzel operation in 1861, though the sturdy house where he baked was raised way back in 1784. It is one of the original Lititz homesteads, marked by “musket firing” windows in the cellar to defend from attacks by Native Americans.
Over time the business evolved, surviving today as Tom Sturgis pretzels, headquartered in nearby Reading, PA. The tour of the birthplace of hard pretzels is a treat. They start every half hour with a duration just short of that. Beyond a brief history and walk through of the two rooms where the original factory cranked out its wares, there is the highlight of being presented with your own piece of dough and getting walked through steps for hand twisting your own pretzel (the dough gets discarded afterwards, although you are awarded a certificate for your twisted achievement).
Both the manufacturing details and history are brief and interesting, and combined with pretzel twisting makes this a great tour for children. You really cannot beat the price for the fun: $3.50 US per adult and $2.50 US per child (though I never saw any indication of the age when you become an adult?). And they don’t just dwell upon Sturgis. I learned pretzel baking began in Italy sometime around 600AD. Originally fashioned by monks from scraps of dough, the three holes represent the Christian trinity. The treats were passed out to children who had memorized Bible verses, and the name derives from the Latin “pretiola”, or ‘little reward’.
Best part is that when the tour concludes you get to pluck a complimentary bag of hard pretzels from a tray by the exit door. Yeah, the exit door leads to the bakery / gift store, but there are a lot of free (and quite tasty) samples in there too
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