"Some sources suggest that pretzels' history may date back to 610 A.D. when a monk in a monastery kitchen in southern Europe created them with leftover bread dough. He twisted the ends around to resemble arms folded over the chest in prayer. He called them pretiola, meaning little reward, and gave them to the village children who learned their prayers well"
-From Alisa Crawford's article Pretzels, Eggs & Hot Cross Buns: Finding Meaning in Lenten Foods which appeared in the Feb/March issue of West Michigan's Food For Thought Magazine
Wendy's (Ridiculously Delicious) Pretzels
makes 8 pretzels...easily doubled and tripled.
* 1,1/4 C warm water
* 1 T + 1/4t yeast
*3 3/4 C all-purpose flour
*3/4 C + 2T powdered sugar (magic ingredient!)
*1 1/2 t salt
*2 t vegetable oil
*1/4 C melted butter
Bath: 4 C warm water + 1 1/4 C baking soda
1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a small bowl or cup. Let sit for a few minutes.
2.Combine flour, powered sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add water with yeast and vegetable oil. Stir with a spoon then use hands to form into a ball. Knead the dough for 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover, store in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until dough rises till doubled.
4. When the dough has risend preheat oven to 425 degrees.
5.Make a bath for the pretzels by combining the baking soda with the warm water and stir until baking soda is mostly dissolved.
6. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 8 even portions. Roll each portion on a flat non-floured surface until it is about 3 ft. long. Pick up both ends of the dough and give it a little spin so the middle of the dough spins around once. Lay the dough down with teh loop nearest to you. Fold the ends down toward you and pinch to attach them to the bottom of the loop. The twist should be in the middle.
7.Holding the pinched ends, dip each pretzel into the bath solution. Put each pretzel on a paper towel for a moment to blot the excess liquid. Arrange the pretzels on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray (or buttered) If you want salt, sprinkle pretzels with kosher salt. Do not salt any pretzels you plan to coat with cinnamon sugar.
8.Bake pretzels for 4 minuetes and then spin the pan around and bake for another 4-5 minutes until golden brown.
9. Remove from pan and let cool for a couple minutes. They are incredible when warm! If eating them right away, brush with melted butter!