Catholic Recipe: New Year's Pretzel
Florence Berger's grandfather was a baker in Peoria almost a hundred years ago, and he always made giant pretzels a gifts for his family and friends on New Year's Day, which became a family tradition. The pretzel has been the insignia of the bakers' trade for generations. Perhaps it was once even the symbol of the Trinity.
Dissolve yeast in one-half cup warm water with two teaspoons sugar and two tablespoons flour. Scald the milk and cool it till lukewarm. Add other ingredients to the milk. Stir in the yeast sponge. Let the dough rise until double in bulk. Divide the dough into three parts and make strands six to eight feet long. Braid the strands. Then form into a pretzel. Place on greased cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg. Let the egg dry. If the pretzel rises too quickly, chill it. When ready to bake, brush the pretzel with egg again. Bake in a moderate oven (375°) for 30 minutes or until brown.
If you have difficulty shaping the dough, here's some help for you. Lay the three pieces side by side. Start to braid at the middle of the strands. When one end is braided, turn the dough over and braid the other end (again starting at the middle). You must turn the braid or it will not be continuous. Your finished pretzel should be about 20 by 12 inches. The pretzel has been the insignia of the bakers' trade for generations. Could it have been the symbol of the Trinity even before that?Recipe Source: Cooking for Christ by Florence Berger, National Catholic Rural Life Conference, 4625 Beaver Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50310, 1949, 1999