— From the pages of Taysted Issue #03
A kitchen is never complete without an oven. At Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, the original ovens were built in 1861 and used for 100 years thereafter. They are completely made of brick and were heated to 550 degrees to bake all of the tiny pretzels we still enjoy today. Wood and then coal were used to heat the ovens, but eventually the ovens switched over to gas in the 1960s.
During the 25-minute tour at the bakery, you can find out all of the steps used to make each little pretzel from scratch. After leaving the ovens, the pretzels were actually put onto a dumbwaiter which raised several racks to an upstairs room. Here, the pretzels were set in a room of 125 degrees to remove the last remaining bits of moisture, leaving a crunchy, salty treat.
When Julius Sturgis opened, the amount of pretzels supplied against the customer demand was much different than today. Exceptional “pretzel making skills” required an employee to twist 52 pretzel per minute. However, with all of the new machinery, 2.3 million pretzels are made each day. That’s 40,000 pounds of pretzel goodness.
Make sure you stop by the first commercial pretzel bakery of the United States, right in our hometown. Take a tour and see the original brick ovens while you’re there!
Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery
219 East Main Street, Lititz PA