(From The Year of the Lord in the Christian Home, The Liturgical Press, 1964)
"Pretzels were made in the fifth century as a Lenten food in Austria, Germany, and Poland. People began to make them on Ash Wednesday to prepare for the very first day of Lent. During this time, the faithful kept a very strict fast all through Lent: no milk, no butter, no cheese, no eggs, no cream and no meat. They made small breads of water, flour, and salt to keep with the fasting and abstinence laws. To remind them that Lent was a time of prayer, they shaped these breads in the form of crossed arms since in those days they crossed their arms over their chest while praying. Therefore, they called the breads "little arms" (bracellae). From this Latin word, the Germanic people coined the term "pretzel."Bread Pretzels
Thus, the pretzel can be an important food symbol in Lent. It still shows the form of arms crossed in prayer, reminding us that Lent is a time of prayer. It consists mainly of water and flour, therefore proclaiming Lent as a time of fasting and penance."
1 1/4 c. warm water
1 T dry yeast
1/2 t. sugar
4 1/2 c. flour
1 egg yolk
1-2 t. water or milk
Let yeast and sugar dissolve in water for one hour. Add flour to yeast mixture and beat until smooth. Knead mixture for seven to eight minutes. Place in a greased, covered bowl and let the dough rise until double in size.
Divide the dough in half; then divide each half in to smaller pieces of equal size.
Roll each piece in your hands to make pencil shapes twelve (12) to fifteen (15) inches long.
Shape each length of dough into pretzels. Place on a greased baking sheet. Brush with egg yolk and water or milk mixture. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake at 325 degrees until lightly browned on top. (Ed. Note: As long as they are cooked through, they will be done in about 20-30 mins depending on your oven)
Before you eat, say the following prayer together:
Dear God, we ask you to bless these pretzels, which remind us that Lent is a sacred season of penance and prayer. Each time we eat a pretzel, may we be reminded that this is the season of Lent, a time of prayer. Help us to remember to pray for those who need our prayers each day. Keep your loving arms around us, O God, to protect us. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.