The history of pretzels is hard to trace, with stories going as far back as the early 600s, but with no written records. The first appearance of pretzels, however, can be found in the crest of a German bakers’ guilds in 1111. The knotted shape, most associated with pretzels, can even be found in a 1440 image of St. Bartholomew. It is thought that the three holes in a pretzel represents the Holy Trinity.
The pretzel later found itself in America, having traveled over with German immigrants, in the 1700s. These immigrants settled in what is now Pennsylvania. Today, 80% of pretzels made in the US are still produced in Pennsylvania. One popular pretzel brand is Auntie Anne’s, based in the city of Lancaster.
I have always loved pretzels, from Auntie Anne’s at the shopping mall to the bagged salty, crunchy crackers from the store. However, I find that continually buying pretzels to soothe my cravings can add up. Therefore, I’ve come up with my own recipe, using items I already have, and in the end costing me zero dollars. The result are super soft, fresh pretzels that leave my kitchen smelling delicious.
- 2 c. + 1 Tbs. flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp. Salt
- ½ Tbs. sugar
- 1½ Tbs. yeast
- 2 Tbs. melted butter
- 1 c. luke warm milk
- Coarse salt
- ½ c. water
- 1 tsp. Baking soda
- Butter or cheese (optional)
Mix the milk, sugar and yeast together until the yeast becomes frothy, about 10 minutes. Then sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add in the butter and yeasty milk. Knead together to form a dough. And set aside to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Once the dough has rested, divide into 4 pieces. With each piece of dough, cut into thirds and braid. Mix the water and baking soda, and brush on top of each braid. Sprinkle on some coarse salt. And allow the dough to rest for another 30 minutes, before baking at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 C) for 12 minutes.
Cool before enjoying with a spread of butter or cheese^-^