Pretzel-making day finally arrived. To be clear pretzel-making is appropriate any day of Lent. We chose today because rain was in the forecast, so we knew we wouldn't be spending the afternoon outside.
What do pretzels have to do with Lent? Simply put, the dough is free of anything that would break the Lenten fast (even under the stricter old rules) and the shape of the pretzel symbolizes crossed arms in prayer.
I made pretzels a couple of years ago, but had completely forgotten about the tradition until Meg came home with this reminder from school.
Surprisingly I found a boxed pretzel-making kit at the grocery store. Pretzels are not hard to do from scratch, but having the kit gave me security that I had all the ingredients before we began. (Yes, I've been on the Internet a few times researching substitutes after realizing I was out of something that I was absolutely sure I had.)
Using our boxed supplies, we mixed our dough.
After giving our dough about thirty minutes to rise, we separated the dough into small balls. These balls are then rolled into a dough snake and then you make the pretzel shape. Easier said than done. This process proved incredibly difficult for three-year-old Clare who broke down in tears because the dough just stuck to her hands. Our still one-handed Meg also had great difficulties (though she got creative and somehow just shaped her ball into something resembling a pretzel shape). For Clare, I finally had to just give her dough already shaped into a snake and she did great from there.
After we shaped our pretzels, they had to be dipped in boiling water with baking soda. I sent the kids far, far away for this part. The pretzels were then placed in the oven and baked. The result looked pretty good.
The girls ate the pretzels they had shaped with dinner tonight. This is definitely a great family tradition for Lent, but I am hoping it gets easier as the girls get older.