As Grandfather Kolb opened his bakery in 1957, no one had a clue that it would become the most successful pretzel business in Nuremberg. That might be due to the fact that at first he didn’t specialize in pretzels. At that time, focusing on only one type of baked good was not only not typical, but also very risky. Despite that, a few years later he decided to take the plunge – because neither bread nor cakes made him as happy as pretzels. Today, there’s hardly another baker that has committed himself so fully to the production of these knotted lye-treated baked goods.
In addition to pretzel classics with fine salt (the best seller), coarse salt or plain – also called – with a smile – “naked” – there are many more unusual creations from the House of Kolb. From the traditional pretzel with butter to versions filled like jelly doughnuts, you’ll find everything your pretzel heart desires: Pretzels topped with every possible topping, savory or sweet, and vegan options find a place in the colorful assortment, which is regularly expanded with a new masterpiece. A next-level taste experience for this baking miracle. There’s only one thing you won’t find at Kolb: Something that doesn’t have to do with a pretzel.
No matter how wild the pretzel creations are, all of the pretzels that come from Kolb’s Bakery have one thing in common: quality.
“You can’t bake anything good from ‘glump’!” – that’s why only the best regional ingredients land in the pretzels from Kolb. In addition to the raw materials, the baking process itself makes Kolb pretzels so good. One thing in particular makes them special: The Italian stone baking oven. “Have you looked at the bottom of our pretzels? The wonderful crust on the bottom?! It doesn’t only look good; it gives the pretzels their special flavor. No pretzel baked on metal can match it!”
At 1:30 am, the doors at their location at Ostendstraße don’t open, but the window to the pretzel drive-in does. Yes, you heard right: A drive-in only for pretzels. Brezen Kolb moved to its production site in the Tullnau neighborhood in 2014. Here, the lye-treated tidbits are not only produced, but can also be eaten with a direct view of the baking area. A large pane of glass allows a view from the café to the daily baking process. The Drive-In is not the only curiosity in this pretzel paradise: There’s a pretzel knot robot which brings the long strings of dough into a perfectly knotted pretzel form (at a rate of 2,000 knots per hour; Peter Kolb can only do 1,000), as well as a mysterious buzzer which activates the pretzel slide to transport the freshly-baked treats directly from the oven to the sales area. “I remember when we only had a mini-bakery and sold our pretzels from hawker’s trays. Take a look at this!”, gushes Peter Kolb.
Shortly before midnight, the pretzel baking marathon begins at Kolb’s bakery. The baking process is started several times a day, so that the pretzels can land as fresh as possible in the mouths of pretzel fans. No frozen dough enters the oven at Kolb, the dough is prepared fresh each time. Ca. 6,000 pretzels are baked with each charge; it takes two hours before a mass of dough becomes delicious, crispy, well-formed pretzels.
Although it wasn’t their first pretzel stand (that was at the main train station), the booth in front of St. Lawrence Church has always been something special for the Kolb family and people of Nuremberg. Our grandparents already shared a pretzel at what at that time was the Duda Eck (ask Grandma & Grandpa!). Ever since the pretzel stands were set up in the Old Town, the location at St. Lawrence Square was always the favorite. Fresh reinforcements of pretzels arrive up to eight times daily.
Have you ever asked yourself why people look at you strangely when you order a pretzel with fine salt in other parts of Germany? That’s probably because the classic fine salt pretzel is a Franconian specialty! Outside of Franconia, you’ll only find coarse salt on a pretzel. Nowadays, fine salt is unfortunately headed for extinction here as well.
This is mainly because sprinkling fine salt requires much more effort than large-grained salt. Whereas coarse salt can simply be sprinkled on the damp pretzels before they’re baked, fine salt is added after baking. Before the mix of flour & and fine salt (the mixture varies from baker to baker) is added to the pretzels, they have to be dampened once again.
“No fine salt – no way!” For Peter Kolb, a pretzel with fine salt is the unbeatable original and will always be so: “It’s worth the effort!”
“Flour in his blood” is the right expression. Founded in 1957 by his grandfather, Peter Kolb manages the pretzel business in the third generation – today they are still baked according to grandpa’s recipe. The baker’s trade goes back even further in the family history: Great-grandfather Kolb was also a baker.
“Actually, I wanted to become an electrician!” But somehow Peter Kolb decided to return to his roots – without any pressure from his parents, he emphasizes. “My parents let me choose my own profession. But of course they’re happy that I can continue to run the family business.” He didn’t do his training as a bakery in his parents’ shop: “Because we only bake pretzels, we aren’t allowed to train bakers.”
When he was 19, he moved to the family business. Today, together with his mother, he not only manages the enterprise, but is also, as he says, “Nanny for everything & visionary” of the pretzel business.