Since I started pretzels over a week ago, I’ve been inundated with myths I’d never heard of before. There’s the one about the baker’s apprentice who burned some bread “braids” while his master was out on morning deliveries. There’s the one about how the Swiss gave them as gifts at wedding ceremonies, thus giving birth to the idiom “tying the knot.” Then the one about superstitious central Europeans, who tugged on them like wishbones in hopes of receiving divine grace. And then there’s the possible connection between the pretzel and Jewish “pletzel” bread, which is so fraught with complexity that it makes my tiny brain hurt.
Someone could surely write a book on this subject, but it won’t be me, because I’ve had my fill of pretzels for the time being. Thanks to everyone who contributed their time and energy to this very stimulating discussion. Special thanks go out to Chef Mike Crabb, an early lye bath cheerleader, and a terrific help with the recipe. Now…on to the next project!