Pretzels for Lent

Did you know that the pretzel is a traditional food for lent?

When early Christians would pray, they would cross their arms and touch each shoulder with the opposite hand. They also fasted very strictly during lent, making their bread with only water, flour, and salt. A monk shaped this in the form of praying arms for children, and the pretzel was born! To read more about the religious history of the pretzel and for the pretzel prayer, check out Catholic Culture’s pretzel page.


Soft Pretzel Recipe~ What you need:

  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 egg

Mix your yeast, water, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, and knead until the dough is smooth. Shape into the form of arms crossed in prayer and place it on a baking sheet. Brush the dough with a beaten egg to give it a shiny finish (I skipped the egg on mine). Sprinkle the top with salt, and bake in an oven preheated to 425 degrees for 15 minutes. 

For fun, I drew out this Lenten Pretzel Card that reads “A pretzel to remind us of arms crossed in prayer is a Lenten treat for us to share!”. I uploaded it to share with all of you, so you can print it for free below! :-)

All printable pages are my own artwork and are free for any not-for-profit use by individuals, families, or educational organizations. Copies may not be sold or reproduced for profit. If you’d like to post this project for others to find, I would ask that you link to my post and rather than my individual downloads. When printing or running copies, please do not remove my website from the bottom of the page. Thanks!

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Comments

  1. Amazing_Grace says:

    Great activity and I just LOVE the Lenten Pretzel Card! :)

  2. Alicia@Playing With Paper says:

    wow! I just found your blog and I love it! I will probably be using these little cards for my Women's Group Meeting I am hosting in March! Also, my children and I were planning to make pretzels and these will be perfect to reinforce the activity!

  3. Make sure you grease the cookie sheet! I found out the hard way, but they sure were yummy!!!

  4. I baked whole wheat pretzels on parchment paper last year for the first time ever. I also caught my oven on fire… not because of the parchment paper, though!

    I love the little pretzel cards to go w/ them – fun!

  5. How many pretzels does this make?

  6. So Cute! I love the card!

  7. I would love to do this for my boys' classes at Catholic school. Thanks for the great idea. So glad I found this blog.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I'm a little curious why the recipe includes yeast if the idea was that pretzels were something that could be made within the fasting restrictions of the Lenten season (aka. no leavened bread). Do you have a recipe without yeast?

  9. Lacy @ Catholic Icing says:

    I don't have a pretzel recipe without yeast. Maybe you could google it.

  10. Thanks so much for the Pretzel Card. I’m going to have our 1st Communicants attach these to store-bought mini-pretzels to distribute to everyone who comes to Ash Wednesday Mass. This will be their service project for the parish. Blessings for a beautiful Lent.

  11. Melissa White says:

    Hi, Lacy.

    I’m planning on sharing the pretzel story with for children’s liturgy. I cannot get the pretzel cards to print without scribd wanting to charge me. Is there a way around that?

  12. So fun! How many does the recipe make? I’m going to do this with my boys’ classes at school and just trying to get an idea of his many batches to prepare for. Any tips on doing this with a large group of kindergarteners? Maybe just lots of prayers!? :) Thanks!

    • It really depends on how large you make your pretzels, but I’d say it makes about 5. No tips on cooking with large groups of kids. I’m more of a crafter myself. ;-)

  13. I was looking for a lent activity for my 3rd and 4th grade CCD class to do and this is perfect! Thanks!!!

    Yeast is only forbidden during Passover, not all of lent, I believe. That’s why our host is unleavened bread, because the last supper was during passover. All the recipes I’ve seen without yeast have egg and milk, which are not part of a traditional lenten diet.

  14. I made these for my 1st grade class for lent. I described these as “the food that represents praying”. I hope that they will never look at a pretzel again without being reminded to pray as well as pass the word to pray. I have 16 kids in the class so I cut the dough evenly making 16 – 3″ X 4” pretzels . I have made this recipe 3 times now. Wheat flour doesn’t work work well (kind of have to force it into shape and has a strong wheat taste). AP flour is very forgiving and the less it’s worked with the less stretchy it is and smoother it stays. I also found that placing a damp paper towel over the dough stopped it from drying out too quickly before I worked with it (I live in Colorado). I used kosher salt and I’ve used cinnamon raw sugar; yummy either way. Good Luck everybody and may God bless your baking.

  15. Angie H. says:

    Found this activity on your site & loved it! We made pretzels today & will eat them at dinner tonight. Also going to use the prayer on Catholic Culture for my kids. Thanks!!! Great site!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] 2.       Bake Lenten Pretzels.  Teaching your children the Story of the Pretzel is a great way to show them just what a profound impact our Faith has had on the culture at large.  Then, keep them active and engaged in the season by taking time to bake Lenten pretzels together as a family.  A delicious recipe can be found here. [...]

  2. [...] Make Pretzels: They symbolize arms crossed in prayer. Find out more here. [...]

  3. […] 29: Make pretzels – a traditional food prepared during Lent Day 30: Pray for the persecuted church Day 31: Give […]