Thursday, February 28, 2013

Our New Lenten Tradition - baking pretzels

Pretzels for Lent
This isn't much of a farm related post, but it is a bread related post.

Some of  you might be wondering, how do pretzels tie in with lent? Well, they actually have a deep spiritual meaning for lent. The pretzel has been used for Lent for over 1500 years.
Pretzels are traditionally made from three ingredients: flour, water and salt. The early
Christians were very strict in observing the Lenten fast. all things that came from the flesh were forbidden: cheese, cream, milk, eggs, butter -etc. Pretzels, were a natural replacement for regular bread that called for dairy products.
Here is a basic pretzel recipe our religious education program at church uses each Lenten season.
They are easy to make
1 package or scant tablespoon yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp. salt
1 T sugar
1 cup wheat flour - 3 cups white flour
1 egg
coarse salt
mix yeast and water together, set aside. Mix flours, salt and sugar together. Mix in the yeast mixture and mix well. Dough should be sticky. Let rise 1 hour (optional, but pretzels are better if you do) Divide dough into small balls, roll into ropes and twist into desired shape. (I got 16 nice size pretzels out of one batch). Place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Brush pretzels with beaten egg. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake immediately at 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

The early Christians crossed their arms over their chests when they prayed. Therefore, they twisted the unleavened dough into a loose knot shape that resembled crossed arms. This served as a reminder to them that lent is a time of prayer and devotion.
Flour and water are the same ingredients that make up the un-leavened Bread of Life (John 6:48) of which we partake at Eucharist. Jesus, our savior, is our "fit of finest wheat" our "life -giving water" (John 4:14)
These ingredients are a sign of God's life in us.


Salt is added to the pretzels to season the food and give it zest. Let it remind us that we are the salt of the earth. We are the yeast called to modify and permeate and eventually change those we come in contact with daily.

Make a batch and share some pretzels this lent.

adapted from:"Pretzels for Lent" by Jeanette Martino Land

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