Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"Tip Tuesday" Plus "National Pretzel Day" With “Honey Butter Homemade Soft Pretzels”

Who doesn’t love pretzels? Can you believe that today is National Pretzel Day? Pretzels come in so many varieties, sticks, loops, long, short, braids, hard, soft, thin and thick. Hard pretzels originated in the United States in 1850 at the Sturgis Bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania.  In Europe, snack pretzels are sprinkled with salt, sesame, and poppy seeds, or with cheese. In the U.S., they come in a variety of flavors and with different coatings, such as yogurt, chocolate, strawberry, cheese, mustard, nuts, sugar glazes, and also salted. Pretzels can be crumbled and used as a topping for ice cream, which eventually led to the development of an ice cream cone tasting like a pretzel. 

A pretzel is known by different names in other countries. In Germany, pretzels are called Brezel, in Polish it is known as Precel, the Norwegian and the Danish people call it Kringle, and the French, Spanish, and the Italians call it Pretzel, Bretzel, or Brezel. In Italy, the Taralli is an Italian snack food that is similar in texture to a pretzel. Taralli can either be sweet or savory. Sometimes they are glazed with sugar, may be flavored with onion, garlic, seeds, pepper, fennel, or just salt. The sweet and plain Taralli are often dunked in wine. The Taralli shapes are classically formed into small rings or ovals. They are baked, or deep fried.  

Americans consume an average of 1.5 pounds of pretzels per year, supporting an industry that has an annual value of over $550 million, according to National Day Calendar.

Free Pretzels on National Pretzel Day:

Auntie Anne’s: If you have the My Pretzel Perks app, you can get a free Original or Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel between April 26 and May 1. Plus, if you download the app by April 25, you could be one of five people who will win free pretzels for a year.

Ben’s Soft Pretzels: Donate $1 or more to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and get a free Jumbo Soft Pretzel. All proceeds go to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

Philly Pretzel Factory: Receive a free pretzel on April 26 at most locations. This offer might not be valid at locations in aquariums, zoos, airports or train stations.

Most people agree that the pretzels were invented by monks and have a Christian background. According to history, in 610 AD, an Italian monk invented pretzels as a reward to children who learn their prayers. He called the strips of baked dough, “pretiola” (little rewards) these strips of baked dough were folded to resemble arms crossing the chest. However, there is no source cited to back up these details. Another source locates the invention in a monastery in southern France. In Germany there are stories that pretzels were the invention of their bakers. In Greece, ringed bread, derived from communion bread used in monasteries a thousand years ago, may also be related to the invention of the looped pretzel.

Within the Catholic Church, pretzels were regarded as having religious significance for both ingredients and shape. Pretzels made with a simple recipe using only flour and water could be eaten during Lent, when Christians were forbidden to eat eggs, lard, or dairy products such as milk and butter. As time passed, pretzels became associated with both Lent and Easter.

In the 19th centuries, southern German and Swiss German immigrants introduced the pretzel to North America. These immigrants became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch. Many handmade pretzel bakeries populated the central Pennsylvania countryside, and the pretzel‘s popularity spread. In the 20th centuries, soft pretzels became extremely popular in other regions of the United States. Cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York became famous for their soft pretzels. With increased popularity due to mass production, pretzels were distributed at schools, grocery stores, movie theaters, sports stadiums, arenas, and street vendors. Selling pretzels on street corners in wooden glass enclosed cases were found in New York City. 

As a young child, I remember when I would go to NYC with my family especially at Christmas, the hot soft pretzels was always a treat. We would be walking along 5th Ave, near all the famous department stores, like Macy’s and Lord & Taylor, and low and behold we would see one, a vendor selling hot soft pretzels on the corner. You could smell the baked dough and the mustard as you were getting closer to the stand that sold them. It was wrapped in waxed paper and placed in a brown paper bag. To me, the best time to eat them was in the winter when the weather was cold outside. The hot bag filled with pretzels would warm your hands. Then as we continued walking, I would pull apart a piece of the warm pretzel and leave the rest in the bag to keep warm. All the salt would be the first thing that I would lick off. The hot soft dough would just melt in your mouth and it always seemed to warm up your stomach. At that time you could get 3 pretzels for $1.00, and what would be left, was an empty bag with some salt crystals left at the bottom. What a delicious memory to have with my family.

Today, Pennsylvania is the center of the American pretzel production for the hard crispy and the soft bread types of pretzels. Pennsylvania with its large German background produces 80% of the nation’s pretzels. In 1963 the largest pretzel of it’s time weighing 40 pounds and measuring 5 feet across was baked by Joseph Nacchio of the Federal Pretzel Baking Company.  In 1993 the Pretzel Museum opened in Philadelphia, operated by the Nacchio family.

My recipe this week is called “Honey Butter Homemade Soft Pretzels” I have made these before and I usually have my family knocking on my door, for more. The soft dough is so light and the honey butter melted on the top of each pretzel reminds me that I’m back on the corner of 5 Th Ave, reliving my childhood all over again. Memories never tasted so good. So enjoy, whether you like the sticks, chocolate covered or the big soft ones with mustard on top, celebrate pretzels with a bag today.

Honey Butter Homemade Soft Pretzels

Total Time: 1 hr 55 minutes
Prep: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2 tablespoons yeast
2 cups of warm water
6 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 cup of honey
3 eggs beaten
Honey Butter Mix (recipe follows)
Kosher salt, for sprinkling

Honey Butter Mix
1/2 cup of melted butter
1/4 cup of honey
In a small bowl combine melted butter and honey

Preheat oven to 425 °F degrees. In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water; allow to sit for 5 minutes till somewhat foamy. Add the flour, salt, sugar, honey and eggs. Mix thoroughly for about 10 minutes. Let the dough rise about 10 to 15 minutes. Divide the dough into 4-ounce portions and roll out each piece into a long rope shape. Now shape the pretzel dough and pinch the 2 (arms) to maintain them from coming apart. Place on greased cookie sheet or you can use parchment paper and let rise for 1 hour. Brush with Honey Butter Mix and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 20 minutes till light brown. Remove to cool for 5 minutes prior to eating; if you like them warm just a few minutes. 


Tip Tuesday: Salt

Did you know? Ancient Romans seasoned vegetables with salt, which is where the word “salad” originates.

Think outside the salt shaker! Salt is a versatile household powerhouse—here's how to use it to clean your kitchen, preserve your produce, and even soothe common aches and pains.

1. Brighten a wooden cutting board: Sprinkle salt over the cutting board and scour it using half a lemon. Rinse the salt and lemon juice off with water and let the board dry.

2. Put out a grease fire: Turn off the heat and try to cover the fire with a lid. If the fire doesn’t go out, pour a large amount of salt on it to snuff out the flames.

3. Soothe a sore throat: Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of salt in an 8 oz glass of water to temporarily relieve throat pain.

4. Set the color of new clothes and towels: Add a tablespoon of salt to the wash to help seal in the fabric color.

5. Relieve bee sting pain: Mix salt and water into a paste and apply to the bee sting immediately. Leave the paste on for 30 minutes. 

6. Make milk last longer: Add a pinch of salt to your milk carton to make it last a few days longer.

7. Clean wicker furniture: Scrub your outdoor furniture with a stiff brush dipped in salt water to get rid of any dullness. Let the furniture dry in the sun.

8. Stop candles from dripping: Make a saltwater solution of 2 tablespoons of salt for every 2 cups of water. Soak your candles overnight and then set them out to dry.

9. Clean greasy pans: Sprinkle a generous amount of salt in the pan to soak up any grease. Scrub the salt around to remove any burned-on bits, then wash with soapy water.

10. Prevent windows from frosting: Dip a sponge in salty water and rub on the inside of your windows. This will stop any ice from forming.

11. Stop apples from browning: Mix a 1/2 teaspoon of salt for every 1 quart of water and soak the apple pieces for about 5 minutes.

Till Next Time…..

Copyright © 2016 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. I used to love Pretzels when I was in Germany, they are amazing over there and you cannot stop eating them!
    I have never tried the US version, hopefully one day if I visit (and I would really love to!) the US I will be able to compare.
    Thank you for sharing this easy and yummy recipe. Hope all is well. Ciao cara!

    1. Dearest Alida,
      Thanks for your visit. I can imagine how delicious those pretzels must have been in Germany. I love the soft ones and I hope that the USA ones can compare with the ones from Germany. I would love you to come to the USA someday...Especially if you came to Long Island, NY you are always welcome to stay with me. That would be so much fun to cook with you...Things are getting better for me, but my mom's recovery is still very slow. She fell and that made her go backwards again. She broke a bone in her spine. So she is home and she needs to rest so the bone can heal. Thank you for asking...Ciao!
      Hugs...Dottie :)

  2. All kinds of good info and tips here, Dottie and that pretzel looks delicious! Warm pretzels are the best, love the chewy goodness. I just threw away some milk a little while ago that has been in the fridge a while, should've read this first and given it the salt treatment! :-)
    Great post and I hope your having a great week! Hugs

    1. Hi Pam,
      Thank you for your visit. So thrilled that you really enjoyed this post. I absolutely love soft pretzels. They are so good besides bringing me back to my childhood. Next time you have that milk leftover remember the salt tip and then let me know what you think, if it worked. Have a great week dear friend...
      Hugs Dottie :) <3

  3. Dear Dottie, I love soft pretzels. I would always ask my mom to buy me one when I was little. It seems there were so many more pretzel stands. Now, if you do find one they cost a "fortune"!!
    I will try your recipe. I know that Tammy would love these homemade.
    I know some of the salt uses but did not know the one for the cutting board. I will try it.
    I hope all is well and you are feeling better; I pray that you are.
    xoxo Catherine

    1. Dear Catherine,
      I agree they do cost so much now, and it is different. I think when you are young it really was much more exciting to find the charts and then have your mom get you one. It is a great memory to have of family. If Tammy loves pretzels then this one is for her. You are right dear friend, some of these "tips" I have never heard of. Have to try them myself. Thank you for your comment and yes, I am feeling better...my mom is still not well, but we have to just keep praying for her and my dad. Thanks for visiting..Blessings to you and your family.
      Hugs, Dottie :) <3

  4. When I worked in NYC I'd buy one of those pretzels 2 or 3 times a year. Really good -- can't resist soft pretzels. Really fun post -- thanks so much.

    1. Dear John,
      Thanks for visiting...I didn't know that you worked in the city..then you know all about the soft pretzels and the vendors. You could just smell the aroma of the pretzels and the chestnuts as well on those charts. Glad that you enjoyed this post...Have a good day!
      Dottie :)

  5. Hi Dottie:)
    I'm so sorry to read you Mom fell. Insist that she rests so she will be able to enjoy this Spring weather we are finally getting:) (I always worry about Marion falling)

    I didn't do a post this year for Pretzel Day but a few years ago when I did, I was fascinated to learn the history of PA's pretzel history. Very cool:)

    I remember those city pretzel wagons. Oh that aroma! So different than the mall pretzel stalls now. Thank goodness I don't live far from an Amish pretzel house here in PA, they really are delicious! Your honey butter soft pretzel recipe reminds me of those pretzels I get in town. One day I would love to make my own!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Dottie...And, those salt tips are incredible!!!

    1. Dear Louise,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, some setbacks with my mom but all we can do is say prayers for her and my dad.

      I love pretzels, no matter what way they are made, but I think my favorite is the soft ones. They just bring back so many memories of family time in the city. So much to learn about them and yes you are in the hub of the Pretzel country. The Amish pretzels are awesome. I used to go to Lancaster many times as my son used to live in Ephrata, which is not far from Lancaster. You should make them some day....

      Thanks so much for visiting and glad that you enjoyed this post plus the "tips."

      Have a blessed day...have to pop over to your post now. I know I am late.

      Hugs Dottie <3 :)