I seem to be going through a sentimental phase right now so let me tell you about the brezel, surely the best of all dough products and hundreds of years old. So two of my favourite things combined – bread and history. HURRAY.
For Swabians the Brezel is a staple food, something you grow up with from the moment you can chew (not kidding) and one of the things I miss the most. 12 years here and my brother still needs to have a brezel ready in the car when I meet him at the airport. You can cut it in half and butter one side, yummm, or with jam because totally loving the salt and sweet mixture. Or dunk it in coffee/coffee and when you have tummy upset and there is nothing you can have, there is the brezel waiting for you, replenishing you with salts and making you feel better. And note that I spell it brezel, NOT pretzel the anglicised version which is much drier, more slimline and harder and believe me not half as much fun.
Historically brezels go back hundreds of years, according to some sources brezels were mentioned in the year 743 for the first time but the earliest depiction is from the 12th century. According to the German wikipedia one story traces the brezel back to a poor serf and baker who had offended his lord and was due to be executed. He was told that if he would invent a pastry that lets the sun shine through it three times, he would be spared. Talking about pressure, ey? Anyways, the good man invented the brezel. And that’s just one story of many!
Luckily the German deli in London stocks this wonderful product, so I don’t have to live without entirely.