In this day of mechanical takeover in the snack food industry, it's unusual to find a pretzel bakery that still twists pretzels by hand.

Uncle Henry's Pretzel Bakery, north of Bowmansville, is an exception.

Now in its 20th year at this location, on Bowmansville Road, the Martin family and their employees are still giving the dough that old twist.

"The girls average between 11 to 15 pretzels a minute,' Timothy Martin, the owner of the bakery said. "The fastest that we know of was 21 or 22.'

After the pretzels are twisted, they are baked on a stone hearth oven, then sent to the drying room.

Martin said it takes two hours from the time they start mixing a batch until the pretzels come out of the dryer and are ready to pack.

"Each pretzel has its own different, distinctive look,'' Martin said. "A few may even be broken, but don't be fooled by the brokens, because they are the best. All these 'perfections' are what makes our pretzel just perfect.'

Uncle Henry's slogan (in German) is "Dee grumma dinger sin wunderbore, gute,' meaning, "These crooked things are wonderful good!'

"We hear many times that our pretzels are the best,' Martin said. "Recently, we had a new customer call and was so glad she bought a bag of Uncle Henry's. She said they are by far the best she ever tasted.'

Uncle Henry's varieties include Extra Dark, Whole Wheat Salted, and Whole Wheat Sesame. They have Low Protein for those with PKU and MSD.

As for the favorites, there s a close race between the Special Regular, the Extra Dark and the Extra Salt.

Aside from selling pretzels in local stores, Martin said, "We ship pretzels all over the United States.'

The Martins shared a recipe.

Strawberry Pretzel Pie

3/4 cup melted butter

2 cups crushed pretzels

3 tablespoons sugar

Mix together. Spread in the bottom of a 13 x -inch pan. Bake at 400 degrees for seven minutes. Cool.

8 ounce cream cheese

1/4 cup sugar

1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip

Blend and spread on cooled crust.

Dissolve:

1 (6 ounce) package Strawberry Jell-O in

2 cups boiling water

Add 2 (12 ounce) packages frozen strawberries (sugared) and 1 cup crushed pineapples (drained). Chill slightly. Pour over cheese mixture. Chill until set.

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