The pretzel is a very ancient bakery item, which traditionally was eaten only during Lent. It appeared each year on Ash Wednesday and disappeared on Good Friday. It goes back at least to the fifth century; thinner is a Roman manuscript in the Vatican Library dating from that period which show a Lenten pretzel. As to the shape: it is made in the form of tow arms crossed in prayer. The word bracellae, "little arms," became in German Bretzel, then Pretzel. These early Christians ate no dairy products in Lent, so the pretzel was made only of flour, salt and water: it was as simple as it could be.
You can ponder this while eating a store bought pretzel and looking over the ideas for using pretzels during Lent on our Pinterest page OR you can gather a group of friends and make your own following this recipe...
1 T. honey or sugar
1 1/2 c. lukewarm water
1 envelop active dry yeast
1 t. salt
4 c. flour
coarse or kosher salt
1 egg, beaten
Add the honey to the water; sprinkle in the yeast and still until dissolved. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Blend in the flour, and knead the dough until smooth.
Cut the dough into pieces. Roll them into ropes and twist into pretzel shapes. You can make small pretzels with thin rope, or large ones with fat ropes, but remember that to cook at the same rate, our pretzels need to be all the same size.
Place the pretzels on lightly greased cookie sheets. Brush them with beaten egg. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes until the pretzels are golden brown.