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Live & Local: Sturgis Pretzel Bakery is America’s first commercial pretzel bakery

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LITITZ, Pa.-- America’s first commercial pretzel bakery began nestled in the heart of Lititz.

“It’s the beginning of a billion dollar industry, started right here in little old Lititz,” said Tim Snyder, owner of Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery.

The story of Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery begins with baker Julius Sturgis who accidentally created America’s first hard pretzel in 1861.

“He kind of rolled the pretzels thinner and he baked them harder and then he left them in the oven overnight and that took the moisture out and it was crispy,” explained Snyder.

In awe of the delicious taste, Sturgis decided to begin his own pretzel bakery using a brick-oven, which is still intact today but no longer operational.

“They’re just nice, hearty, crispy, and a good tasting product,” said Snyder.

The famous hard-pretzels of all varieties are now made in Reading at Tom Sturgis Bakery. However, the original bakery still remains as a historic tour site for thousands of visitors each year.

“When they come here they get the history of the pretzel and they get to twist a pretzel, then we show them the old fashion way and give them a history up to the modern day pretzel baking,” said Snyder.

Since 1981, owner Tim Snyder says production of the pretzels has completely evolved to match modern technology.

“From hand-twisting to machinery that stamps out millions and millions of pretzels an hour,” described Snyder.

Whether they are hand-twisted or machine produced, Sturgis pretzels will always be an iconic part of Lititz.

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