The Bretzel - a small cake, symbol of Alsace

[EN]Pour couper court à toute polémique : bretzel peut être aussi bien masculin que féminin. Chez Boehli, on s’est décidé pour la bretzel… Le ou la, qu’importe, l’essentiel, c’est que ces petits gâteaux apéritifs sont toujours aussi croustillants, salés juste ce qu’il faut.

Latest edition : 26 April 2020

It is one of the strong symbols of Alsace: the pretzel.
To discover the manufacturing secrets, head to Gundershoffen and the Boehli Pretzel Factory.

Boehli's sticks and pretzels, without colorings or preservatives, are exported all over the world.

It was in the neighboring village of Gumbrechtshoffen in the Bas-Rhin region that the baker Marcel Boehli began, in 1932, to make fresh pretzels served on Sundays at aperitif time in cafés-restaurants all over the world. the region. There, the pretzels are only good straight out of the oven.

Bretzel Boehli is part of the family group founded by Édouard Eckert.

A few years later, Marcel Boehli discovers a Swiss system that allows the more industrial production of pretzels: smaller, they are cooked to the core which allows a long conservation. It was the beginning of the Boehli adventure.

The first boxes of Boehli pretzels are on display in an old reconstructed grocery store.

In 1998, the company was bought by Édouard Meckert, an organic pioneer, at the head of the Moulin des Moines in Krautwiller, among others. He invests in the construction of a larger factory in Gundershoffen, a stone's throw from the historic bakery. Under his leadership, Boehli's business continues to grow. Today, Nicolas and Pascal, the sons of Édouard and Huguette Meckert, run the family group.

In the Boehli factory shop, the pretzel comes in all forms.

Mini-sticks, small and large pretzels, pretzel cookies, several shapes are made. While all the cupcakes are free of colorings, preservatives and additives, part of the production is entirely organic. The research team is constantly developing new products: spelled, chickpea flour, quinoa and oat bran pretzels. There are even some coated with… chocolate!

Chocolate coated pretzels, an unusual taste.

During a visit to the pretzel factory, we learn that this famous aperitif cake already existed in Celtic times. A facsimile of the Hortus Deliciarum shows that Herrade de Landsberg knew the pretzel and among the statues of the cathedral of Strasbourg is a "pretzel"!

The Bretzelmann is one of the statues in Strasbourg Cathedral.

Here is also revealed the secret of the crossed arms shape of this little cake… Finally, the secrets because there are several interpretations. But we prefer that of the bakers of Alsace, of which the pretzel is the emblem. It's the misadventure of a baker… Hush, let's not reveal the rest of his story!

At Boehli we also learn how to form a pretzel.

Pretzels are simple cakes made from flour, malt (for color and taste), sunflower oil, baker's yeast, water and salt. “The water comes from the Natural Park, so it is very pure and neutral in taste. As much as possible, we favor suppliers from the region”, explains Aline Coda, manager of the Pretzel Factory. About 23 tons of flour are processed every day. But let's continue the visit. Along the bay window, the entire production process is revealed.

After 20 minutes of kneading, the dough is poured onto the production lines where it is pushed into a kind of giant colander for the sticks (the dough is then softer) or against a die roller for the pretzels.

A die roll cuts the dough into pretzels. To form sticks, the dough is pushed through a sort of sieve.

A brine bath (the exact composition of which is kept secret) at 80°C gives shine and color to the little cakes which then pass under a rain of salt.

A little sprinkle of salt for the pretzels.

Finally, the sticks and pretzels spend about 5 minutes in a linear oven from which they come out golden and crispy as desired. “The heat from the ovens is recycled and used to heat the 16,000 m² storage area,” explains Aline Coda. After the visit, it's time for the long-awaited tasting in the Bretzel'bar to taste the new products, mini-pretzels, sticks and other rondzels. If there are, let yourself be tempted by the chocolate pretzels!

After the visit, tasting in the pretzel bar.



La Fabrique à Bretzel
14 rue des Genêts
67110 Gundershoffen
Prices: €4/€3 (6 to 14 years old)
In August, visits Friday from 10am to 6pm, Sunday from 2pm to 6pm. Other months: Tuesday to Friday: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.; Sunday 2-6 p.m.
On Sundays, the factory is shut down but videos filmed of production allow visitors to discover behind the scenes of manufacturing.
Access to the factory store is free.