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German brezel

BREZEL: The Softer Version of the German Pretzel

A glazed, brittle biscuit that is usually salted on the outside and baked in the form of a loose knot or a stick. Brezel are soft, white pretzels, made from flour water and yeast, sprinkled with salt, and different seeds. They’re great snack, they’re in every bakery and street stands, sold plain, sliced, and buttered and sometimes served with cold meats and cheeses.

German brezelThe German word Brezel or Pretzel, which was borrowed into English, goes back to the assumed Medieval Latin word *brchitellum. This would accord with the story that a monk living in France or northern Italy first created the knotted shape of a pretzel, even though this type of biscuit had been enjoyed by the Romans.

The monk wanted to symbolize arms folded in prayer, hence the name derived from Latin bracchitus, “having branches,” itself from bracchium, “branch, arm.” Brezel baking has most firmly taken root in the region of Franconia and adjoining Upper German-speaking areas, and pretzels have been an integral part of German baking traditions for centuries.

In some areas, on January 1, people give each other lightly sweetened yeast pretzels for good luck and good fortune. These “New-Years pretzels” are made in different sizes and can have a width of 50 centimetres (20 in) and more. Sometimes children visit their godparents to fetch their New Years pretzel. On May 1, love-struck boys used to paint a pretzel on the doors of the adored.

On the other hand, an upside-down pretzel would have been a sign of disgrace. Especially Catholic areas, such as Austria, Bavaria or some parts of Swabia, the “Palm pretzel” is made for Palm Sunday celebrations. Sizes can range from 30 cm (1 ft) up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and they can weigh up to 2.5 kg (6 lbs).An old tradition on Palm Sunday dating back to 1533 is the outdoor pretzel market (Brezgenmarkt) in the Hungerbrunnen Valley near Heldenfingen

They’re a delicious combo of soft bread and salt, mmmmmm! Some prefer them with melted butter or even on the side of a nice ice cold beer! So if you enjoy the occasional beer or two every now and then I’d recommend you eat one of these soft salty treats along with it! Make it a new tradition with your family on New Years Eve! Bring good fortune to yourself and eat something that tastes amazing too!