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Old Country Soft Pretzels


A Lenten food – Old Country Soft Rye Pretzels
It may come as a surprise that the twisted pretzel originated as a Lenten food.  A simple recipe of rye flour and a few ingredients shaped in a twisted fashion was an early Christian symbol of a Christian at prayer with arms crossed over one’s breast.  Because of this symbolism, it is very useful during Lenten meals to remind us of the importance of prayer during this season.  These are small pretzels, but there are numerous variations of the large soft pretzels one can buy at county fairs and other gatherings.  One can even find box mixes for them in the bakery sections of supermarkets now as well.  They go well with a Lenten soup or with a bit of honey mustard as a snack.  Enjoy! 
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 ¼ cup lukewarm water                            
1 tablespoon honey
4 cups rye flour
1 teaspoon salt
Rye flour for kneading
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or course salt
Soften yeast in lukewarm water.  Add honey and set mixture aside for five minutes.  Combine 4 cups rye flour with salt.  Stir in yeast mixture.  Turn dough onto lightly floured board and knead with extra flour until smooth.  Divide dough into 30 pieces and roll each into a rope about 8 inches long and about a ½ inch in diameter.  Twist in a prayer fashion, and place on a buttered baking sheet.  Brush with egg and water glaze and immediately sprinkle the seeds or salt onto the pretzels.  Let rise in a warm spot for at least 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from sheet and cool on rack.  Makes 30 small pretzels.


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