Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pretzel baking activity

Here's a home lesson for lent, designed for all ages!

Gather family and friends for pretzel baking.  Your house will smell wonderful and you'll have a soul feast!

Why pretzels?
In the 5th century, in the region between  France and Italy, a monk was playing with dough left over from the daily baking. While he was playing he came up with a unique twist that looked like arms crossed in prayer. This baked "pretiola" was given to children as a reward for their reverence.

  The treat spread to other monasteries over the Alps into Austria and Germany where it came to be known as the "pretzel". Pretzels became more popular with time and even became a symbol in marriage (broken like a wishbone at the ceremony),  They became associated with lent, since they contain no oil or fat, ingredients that ran low in northern pantries toward the end of winter and came to be associated with lenten fasting. 
     In 1652, The first evidence of pretzels in America are in the record of a court case. It seems a baker named Carl Carmer and his wife were charged with selling Pretzels to the Indians. The problem wasn't that the Indians were eating pretzels (which they loved), but that the pretzels were made from the good flour from milling while the bread sold to the good people of Beverwyck, New York was made from the left-overs. As recorded in the town's history "The heathen (sic) were eating flour while the Christians were eating bran."

 In the 1850s, a baker in Lititz, PA gave a drifter a free meal. In return for his kindness the tramp gave the baker a recipe for pretzels that eventually became the recipe of the baker's apprentice - Julius Sturgis. This style of Pretzel became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch Hard Pretzel. (

Making Pretzels   Wash your hands and clean your kneading surface!
            1 package yeast, 4 cups flour, 1 ½ cups warm water, 1 tablspoon sugar, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon salt
Mix the yeast, water, and sugar. Stir in the flour. Knead the dough on a table until it is smooth. Roll the dough out into a “snake”. Shape into a pretzel/praying hands. Brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with salt.  place on grease baking sheets. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit until browned.

Pretzel Prayer to share:
     Dear God, 
Please bless us as we share these pretzels.  
Wrap your love around us 
and hold us tight 
as we learn to pray and to share.   AMEN

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