Celebrate National Pretzel Day! Pretzel’s Past & An Amazing Soft Pretzel Recipe

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Did you know that the twists in pretzels are meant to look like arms crossed in prayer? See the resemblance? Twins!  According to Folklore, pretzels were created by a monk around 610 in Italy. According to The History of Science and Technology, the monk baked strips of dough that he folded into a shape resembling a child crossing its arms in prayer. He would give these treats, which he called “pretiolas” or “little rewards,” to children who had memorized their prayers. Unfortunately- and not surprisingly- there is no concrete documented evidence from the 600s to confirm this story due to the early timeline, but it sounds mysterious and who are we do doubt?

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See the pretzel on the table? What’s he pointing at?

pretzels-1Over the ocean and across time, the European favorite made its way over to the US with French and German immigrants, and the Pennsylvania Dutch soft pretzel was born. Today, the crunchy (soft in this case), salty, shiny brown wonder remains one of the worlds most delicious and highly demanded fat free snack foods—no respectable bash is ever without them 🙂

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BEST Soft Pretzel Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt

Directions:

  1. Combine water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until mixture begins to foam. Add flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove dough from the bowl, clean bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
  3. In the meantime, turn dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
  4. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
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Roll in Melted Butter & Cinnamon Sugar While Still Warm. Mmm!

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24 Comments Add yours

  1. And I am familiar with Lititz PA (A Moravian community) in lovely Lancaster County. PA. loves it Pretzels and so do we! With a side of brown mustard to dip them in if you please! LOL Have a lovely weekend Lana!

    1. It’s such lovely country isn’t it? Brown mustard and warm soft pretzels! YUM! Wonder how the cinnamon sugar would be dipped in brown mustard? lol! I wish you the same lovely weekend, Cheryl! Thanks a bunch!

      1. Wonder if Auntie Anne’s has that combo! LOL

  2. koolaidmoms says:

    Love homemade pretzels! Just pinned it to try your recipe next time!

    1. Thanks, Marci! This recipe is very consistent & delicious. While both are wonderful, the cinnamon sugar ones are a personal favorite 🙂

  3. Osyth says:

    I simply love the histories you give for the foods you make. I don’t care that there is no documented evidence for the Monk’s tale it resonates with me and I will now always think of him when I eat a Pretzel. I’ve never made them but I’m certain I should!

    1. Thank you very much, Osyth! Somehow getting to know the backgrounds of foods makes them appealing and even sometimes enchanting 🙂 This recipe is much more flavorful than store bought. I still love a good one from the county fair, however 🙂

      1. Osyth says:

        I can see I will need to do some taste testing – in the interests of science, you understand 😉

      2. But of course, Osyth anything for the sake of science 😉 lol!

  4. Enjoyed reading the history of pretzels! Quite fascinating 🙂 These pretzels looks awesome , Lana 🙂

    1. Thanks, Freda! Talk about an old recipe, eh? 🙂

  5. I just love your fun facts, stories and recipes! These sound awesome. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Sweetie…much appreciated!! The cinnamon sugar are killer! lol!

  6. I make soft pretzels, too and even use the dough to make pretzel rolls. What I haven’t done is roll them in cinnamon sugar!!! That is brilliant!!! I will definitely be adding that touch next time. Thank you, Lana!

    1. Mmm! Pretzel rolls, Jean! Sounds glorious! The buttery cinnamon is a must try on the pretzels, but I’m also liking the idea of doing the same with pretzels rolls! Thanks for the idea & inspiration for a new recipe!!

  7. I love the history and facts you tell of the food. This look so delicious 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Lynne! I really enjoy delving into a bit of food history–thank you for enjoying it too! This recipe is creamy & luscious 🙂

  8. Such cool history and yummy too

    1. Thanks, Lynn! The bartering was actually a humorous twist! I loved researching this topic 🙂

      1. I love your posts with history and facts!

      2. Thanks, Lynn! As I’ve mentioned before, stories such as you have & facts makes the recipes more enchanting 🙂 ♥

      3. So true enchanting! Perfect word

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