Looking for a great gift for the holidays? Our good friend and fellow RD Robin Plotkin has teamed up with cookbook author and Jewish cooking expert Tina Wasserman on the PR for her new book Entrée to Judaism for Families: Jewish Cooking and Kitchen Conversations with Children, an intergenerational cookbook with tips on how to teach cooking and Jewish history to kids through whimsical story telling and foods they can sink their teeth into.
Check out this recipe from the book!
If bagels represented good luck, prosperity and an inexpensive way to feed the hungry and poor in European Jewish communities, the pretzel served the same purpose in the Christian community. Invented by a 6th century baker Monk, the leftover bread dough was twisted to look like arms crossed over a chest in prayer. Soon the pretzels were used to reward students and were included in marriage ceremonies to represent two pretzel halves united in marriage. Another story has pretzel bakers in 16th century Vienna baking pretzels at night and hearing the attacking Ottoman soldiers tunneling under the thick city walls. The Austrian army was notified and the city was saved. Pretzels were later popularized as an inexpensive food to feed the poor.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 package yeast, Rapid rise or regular dried yeast
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
Kosher salt or orange glaze (See recipe below)
- 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 2-3 Tablespoons milk or water
- Stir the two flours together in a 1 quart bowl.
- Combine 1 ½ cups of the flour mixture and the yeast in a 3 quart bowl.
- Combine the water, oil, honey and salt in a 2 cup glass measuring cup and microwave for 45 seconds or until it is hot to the touch but not scalding.
- Stir hot liquid mixture with a spatula to combine and add to the bowl with the flour and yeast. Beat with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of the flour mixture to the bowl to make a firm dough. If dough is still very soft and sticky add more flour a quarter cup at a time.
- Knead by hand for 3-5 minutes on a lightly floured counter (use some of the remaining flour until dough is smooth). Let rest for 10 minutes on the counter covered by the turned over used mixing bowl.
- Cut the dough into 12 pieces and roll each into a 15 inch rope. Shape the ropes into pretzels bringing each end of the rope towards you and crossing the ends in the middle to create a pretzel shape.
- If making salt pretzels, brush each pretzel with a little water and then press top of pretzel in a dish of kosher salt. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet or lightly greased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 425F for 15-20 minutes until golden.
- For glazed pretzels, whisk the extract, sugar and water with a small bar whisk in a 1 quart bowl until smooth. Either brush the glaze on the warm pretzels, or dip the tops of the pretzels into a dish of the glaze. Allow the glaze to harden for a few minutes before serving.
Yield: 12 large pretzels
This is a PERFECT gift for Hanukkah for parents and grandparents who wish to give their kids and grandkids something meaningful for the holiday instead of something they’ll throw to the side in a week or two.
Sample recipes include:
- Honey Whole Wheat Pretzels
- Roasted Butternut Squash with Onions and Apples
- South African Shabbat Chicken
- Polpette Potentina (meatballs and spaghetti)
- Challah Babka Bread Pudding
- Gluten-free Carrot Sweet Potato latkes
- 15 minute skin on applesauce
- Beet Hummus
- Kale Salad with candied ginger, dried cranberries and toasted almonds