Pretzel is a type of baked food which can be made soft or hard, sweet or savoury, large or small that is tied in a unique knot like shape which pretzel is known for. There are a lot of variants of this delicious treat like donuts where it can have an array of different flavours, toppings and glaze.
A food item that had originated and popular in Europe but there are many claims on its origins. Each story is a bit interesting and here are some.
- Persian – It was said on an illustration from the 12th century Hortus deliciarum from Alsace that this was in a banquet held by Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus
- Italian – It was said that it was invented by Christian monks during 610 AD to reward children who learn their prayers, they said the shape of a pretzel resembles and arm crossing the chest (a body form when someone is praying). It is then called “pretiola” which means “little rewards”.
- French – They had the same story as the Italians but instead it was invented for the monastery.
- Greek – There was this ancient Greek ring bread that looks like the modern day pretzels which derived from communion bread used in monasteries.
- German – It was claimed that it was invented by desperate bakers in the year 743 as a substitute to the banned heathen baking traditions in a form of sun wheel. The German name is called “Brezel” and was derived from the Latin word called “bracellus” which means bracelet.
Indeed this recipe might have been there for ages, simply because it is a simple bread to make but works a real treat, it is also so flexible in any flavours used that’s why its popularity have been there since the medieval ages. But going to the present time, I guess this piece of bread is even more popularized by Auntie Anne’s where they offer an array of flavours which are all delicious specially when freshly baked, too bad we don’t have Auntie Anne’s here in New Zealand and the last time I had this was in Hollywood, LA and that was last 2009. So the only way to satisfy our cravings is to do this home-made and here is the result.
5 cups flour
1 cup soft brown sugar
4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp white sugar
1 1/4 cups water, warm
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter + some for topping, melted
1/4 cup baking soda
2 cups water, hot
1 tbsp cinnamon
1. In a bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tsp white sugar in warm water, set aside for 15 minutes.
2. In a separate bowl combine flour, 1/2 cup soft brown sugar, and salt. Make a well in the centre the then pour the yeast mixture and the melted butter. Using hand, mix until it forms a dough, remove from bowl then knead until dough is smooth. Place in a lightly greased bowl then cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for about an hour.
3. Divide the dough into 12 pieces then in a non-stick surface (not floured it will be hard to work out in a floured surface) roll each dough into a long rope and form it into a pretzel shape. Set aside.
4. In a bowl add baking soda and hot water.
5. Mix together 1/2 cup soft brown sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon.
6. Dip each pretzel shaped dough in the baking soda solution then place in a lightly greased baking pan.
7. Sprinkle sugar mixture on top of the pretzels.
8. Bake in a 220C preheated oven for 8 minutes.
9. Remove from oven, spread some butter on top then serve.