Are pretzels a good snack for a kosher diet? Some are; some are not. But there is usually a quick way to identify whether or not your snack foods are kosher-certified by looking for special markings on the package.
Pretzel recipes typically contain flour, water, salt and yeast, none of which are cause for concern to kosher consumers. However, you’ll need to be careful if the ingredient list contains shortening, dough conditioners or certain flavors.
Unique Pretzel Bakery has been baking pretzels in Reading, PA, since the late 1890s. Our most well-known specialty is Unique Pretzels “Splits”, a split-open pretzel with a serious crunch, but we bake 16 different delicious varieties.On virtually every product, you will see evidence that our pretzels have undergone strict kosher supervision.
Look for the letter “U” inside a circle (or “O”), followed by the letter “D,” on the package. These symbols, known as hekhshers, are our guarantee that our pretzels meet the high standards of the Orthodox Union (OU), the most widely recognized kosher certification agency in the world.
“OU-D” denotes that our pretzels are a kosher dairy product and either contain dairy ingredients or are manufactured on equipment that is also used to make products containing dairy ingredients.
In addition to the traditional pretzel recipe we’ve used for more than a century, we have introduced the only 100% Whole Grain Sprouted Flour pretzels in the industry. They’re kosher, vegan, diabetic-friendly, and may benefit people who are sensitive to traditional flours and those who simply want to eat better.
Made with a revolutionary new sprouted wheat flour from Essential Eating® Sprouted Foods, our Sprouted “Splits” and Sprouted Shells are organic, GMO-free, cholesterol-free, lactose-free, vegan, kosher, diabetic-friendly, and designed to help reap the benefits of more wholesome whole grains in your diet.
Interesting Pretzel History and Trivia
Here is some fun trivia that may be of interest to pretzel lovers:
- Soft pretzels originated in about AD 610, when an Italian monk is said to have baked ropes of dough to motivate his young catechism students. He twisted them to resemble hands crossed in prayer, and they became known as pretiola, Latin for “little reward.”
- By the time pretiola reached Germany, where they became very popular, they were called bretzels.
- In Austria, bakery signs often depict a lion holding a pretzel-shaped shield. According to 16th century legend, pretzel bakers working before dawn heard Ottoman Turks tunneling under Vienna’s city walls and sounded an alarm. They were honored for saving the city with the unique coat of arms.
- Hard pretzels were “invented” in Pennsylvania in the late 1600s, when an apprentice overslept and accidentally over-baked his pretzels, creating crunchy knots. They turned out to be delicious.
- Julius Sturgis opened the first commercial pretzel bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania, in 1861. Unique Pretzel Bakery, in Reading, came about in the 1890s.
- About 80% of all American pretzels are still made right here in Pennsylvania.
- Pretzels had to be handmade before 1935, and the average worker could twist 40 every minute. In 1935, the Reading Pretzel Machinery Company introduced the first automated pretzel machine. It enabled pretzel bakeries to make 245 per minute, or 5 tons per day.
- The average American consumes up to two pounds of pretzels per year, but Philadelphians snack on about 12 pounds of pretzels per person every year.
- The phrase “tying the knot” came from the Swiss, who still incorporate pretzels in their wedding ceremonies. Newlyweds traditionally make a wish and break a pretzel, in the same way people in other cultures break a wishbone or a glass.
Whether you keep kosher yourself or have family or friends who do, stock up on Unique Pretzels products! They’re kosher and nutritious and available online or at your local Fresh Market, Giant, Wegmans, and Whole Foods stores.