Today is April 26th and it’s also National Pretzel Day. I was very happy to learn that there is a national day recognizing pretzels.
Part of the reason is it brings back a flood of memories from the year that I lived in Germany as an exchange student. During this time, I was able to indulge in the variety of pretzels made. From the old-fashioned twist to rolls to sticks smothered in baked cheese.
The types of pretzels I ate, were chewy on the inside with a tender, crispy crust on the outside. They are great to eat with sliced meat, cheese, butter or mustard.
Pretzels were originally made of a simple mixture of water, flour and salt. These staples were available to most people. The origins of the pretzel seem to begin in the year 610 with an Italian monk who used small pretzel bites to reward children for learning their prayers. Another account places the origins at a monastery southern in France. A third reference shows a connection between Greek Communion bread from a thousand years ago.
Today’s pretzels are made in much the same way from flour, water, salt, yeast, milk, or eggs for a lighter, more chewy dough. In some ways the pretzel is similar to bagels in that after the dough is formed and has raised the second time, they are placed in a pot of hot water with baking soda mixed in for a few seconds to almost a minute before the dough goes into the oven to finish baking.
With snow in the forecast for this weekend, if you feel like having a culinary adventure, consider making pretzels. They are delicious warm or cold and can be shaped in a variety of ways.
Below are two links to explore.
Link to Pretzel history: https://www.history.com/news/the-pretzel-a-twisted-history
Link to Pretzel recipes: https://gatherforbread.com/german-soft-pretzel-sticks/
At the bottom of the page of the pretzel recipes are links to the other recipes.