Post # 336 Pretzel Bread

January 26, 2015 at 11:56 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

I was riding in business class of some airline heading home from somewhere.  Dinner was being served.  I had my glass of white wine of some sort, and the flight attendant had just offered me the basket of warm bread.  I spied the telltale brown crust with large salt crystals of one of my favorite treats.  I asked for two of those and she grinned.  “Sure,” she said softly.  Expertly maneuvering the tongs, she tilted two fist sized rolls onto my plate, made sure my wine was filled and moved on.  I heard the person in front of me asked about those rolls and she gave me a quizzical look.

“Pretzel bread,” I said.  “Very good stuff.”

She relayed the information and I tore into one of the warm rolls.  Closing my eyes, I transported myself back to my first trip to Germany a few years before.  Frankfurt, summer, and in the country my grandmother was born in.

It’s no secret that I love Europe.  The things that are important to me are important to Europeans.  Quality of life, working to live not living to work, meals are an occasion not an afterthought, cities are for experiencing not just inhabiting.  Art is outside for people to enjoy.  Friends and family are always around.

I arrived in Germany on Saturday with the rest of my team, relishing in the fact that work didn’t start until Monday.  I threw my clothes into the closet and grabbed a map of the city.  I had several hours to wander around and get lost in a city I’d never been to an didn’t know anything about.  And we were only a few blocks from the river.  But, according to the map, city center was the opposite direction and I wanted to be there.

In many European cities on Saturday afternoon, the city center is a walker’s dream.  For me, it’s a carnival.  Stores have stock out on the sidewalk trying to entice people inside.  Vendors have carts and wagons.  Musicians take advantage of the crowds to perform and collect coins.  If you look hard, you can find deals.  I was looking to soak up the atmosphere and find something to eat.  Something local.

I grabbed a bottle of water and wandered up and down and around.  Colors were bright, it was a warm day, people were everywhere.  Then I saw it.  A gentleman stood to the side with a box slung over his shoulders.  Four rods stood a foot and a half tall and they were loaded with pretzels the size of a skillet!

pretzels

Handmade, hand rolled, hand shaped.  I love soft pretzels!  Buttery or not, they must have salt.  I can eat them plain, with mustard, with cheese sauce.  One euro bought me two with mustard.  It was heaven.  I sat down on a patch of grass and devoured the first one in about three minutes.  I took my time with the second, and gave about half of it to the birds.  When I was done, I felt like my stomach was pushing about two feet in front of me.  But the flavor of that pretzel!

Of course, now that I was finished, I saw pretzel vendors everywhere, and all of them cheaper than the guy I’d bought from.  Didn’t matter, I was happy.  I stopped somewhere and had a glass of wine.  By sunset, I’d had three glasses of wine.  I decided to head back to the hotel, and had a farewell glass of wine.  Just before I got to the hotel, I found another German delicacy.  Brezel Brat.  At least, that’s what I was told it was called.  And every time I said that, I got a roll made of pretzel dough with a bratwurst sticking four inches out of either side and slathered with mustard.

SONY DSC

You can make a whole meal out this!  I’ve watched people walking along the street eating these things piled so high with extras, including french fries in the sandwich, that I’d swear they’d never get a single bite out of it.

The next morning, I went down to breakfast and discovered treasure!  They made rolls out of pretzel dough and cooked them just like pretzels.  For breakfast.  I could eat soft pretzels for breakfast!  With eggs and bacon!

pretzel rolls

Or just bacon.

So you might think that the whole five weeks I was there, I ate nothing but pretzels in one form or another.  I didn’t.  I ate loads of other things.  But I probably ate a pretzel something at least once a day.  I was really sad when I left and thought I’d never get pretzel rolls again.

Until I went to a gourmet grocery store and they had them.  And they had them on the plane.  And they started serving them in restaurants.

Suddenly, I got get premade frozen pretzel rolls in the low end grocery stores.  I could heat them up at home and enjoy the flavor of pretzel bread whenever I wanted!!

I’ve been eating pretzels my whole life.  I remember in second grade on Fridays, if you brought a dime to school, you could treat yourself to something after lunch.  I always chose pretzel sticks.  And shared them with the kids who didn’t have a dime cuz there were a lot of pretzels.

In my teens, I discovered soft pretzels at the local mall.  I’ve never eaten a hard pretzel since.  I make lunch out of a soft pretzel, cheese sauce, and a Pepsi.  I like soft pretzel bites, soft pretzel sticks, pretzel knots, pretzel rolls, pretzel bread.

On Wednesday, I’ll share my pretzel recipe with you.

Enjoy

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4 Comments

  1. Growing up in NYC I’ve always had a love of soft pretzels. And in recent years I too have fallen for pretzel buns and rolls. Just last night I had hot dogs on pretzel buns. And every time I order a sandwich or burger from Sheetz I ONLY get them on pretzel buns. They’re game changers for certain ! I’ve converted my gf as well. She LOVES a good turkey and cheddar on a pretzel bun. Nothing like them !

  2. Does pretzel bread taste like a soft pretzel? By the time those rolls became common I wasn’t able to eat them due to being a celiac.

    • Yes, pretzel bread tastes exactly like a soft pretzel. Sorry to hear about the celiac. I’d go nuts if I couldn’t eat bread. I had a friend many years ago with it before it was commonly acknowledged and I’d bring her popcorn to work everyday so she’d have something to snack on.


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