Salzstanger (Pretzel Sticks)
A pretzel is a type of baked food made from dough in soft and hard varieties and savory or sweet flavors in a unique knot-like shape, originating in Europe. The pretzel shape is a distinctive symmetrical looped form, with the ends of a long strip of dough intertwine brought together and then twisted back onto itself in a certain way ("a pretzel loop"). Pretzels in stick form may also be called pretzels in the English-speaking context. For seasoning and decoration various glazes, salt crystals, sugar and various seeds or nuts can be used. The size varies from large enough for one to be sufficient, to much smaller.
Pretzels made of sour or yeast dough are believed to be of Christian Medieval European origin. A bread pretzel popular in southern Germany and adjoining German-speaking areas, as well as in some areas of the United States, is made from wheat flour, water and yeast, glazed with egg wash, usually sprinkled with coarse salt, hand-sized and made for consumption on the same day. It is relatively soft, rather than brittle.
The custom of using lye in baking is thought to have evolved by accident in the 19th century. A baker dropped a tray of pretzels ready for baking into a trough of lye, which was used for cleaning and disinfecting baking utensils. After baking the pretzels nevertheless, the appealing color and renowned flavor was discovered. Lye pretzels are popular in southern Germany, Alsace, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland as a variety of bread, a side dish or a snack, and come in many local varieties.
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Caramel Pretzel Sticks Recipe, www.tasteofhome.com