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Germany Before the War & Soft Pretzel Bites

Updated: Oct 19, 2021

Ages 9+ Total time: 75 minutes WWII

Germany in the Late 1930's and Pretzel Bites

The victorious nations of The Great War were not going to make anything easy for the losing side. The agreement signed on November 11th 1918 in the Forest of Compiegne shattered Germany's economy, leading millions into unemployment, hunger, and despair. The widespread misery provided a fertile ground for twisted ideologies to grow in, and when Adolf Hitler offered the German people a new worldview, in which they were superior to others, many were happy to accept.

Not everyone was swept away by this new-found national pride or was tempted by the sense of power dangled in front of the Nazis' followers.

The Swingjugend (Swing youth), for example, were a group of young people who rejected the values and demands of the Nazi movement. They used leisure culture, jazz music, and dancing as a way to express their dissent to the fascist trends of militarization and unification. In celebrating swing and jazz music, the Swingjugend happily stomped their feet all over the hierarchy of cultures presented by Hitler.

If you are planning an activity for more than 5 students, pretzel bites are easier to make than full-sized pretzels. However, the dough and instructions can apply to the traditional knotted shape as well. If possible, pair this class with regular shaped pretzels: twisted dough, for twisted ideas.

Pretzel Bites

German Pretzel Bites, Baking History

Makes ~50 pretzel-bites / 4 pretzels

2.5 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup warm water (~90F)

1 Tbsp butter

2 tsp dry yeast

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

0.5 cup baking soda (for 'bath', see below)

1 tsp salt (for sprinkling)

2 Tbsp butter (for brushing)

1. Place water yeast & sugar in a bowl. Wait 10 minutes for fermentation.

2. Add flour and salt and stir till roughly combined.

3. Add 1 Tbsp butter and knead.

4. Cover bowl and let dough rise for 10-15 minutes

5. Heat oven to 450F.

6. In a pot, boil 6 cups of water with ½ cup baking soda.

7. Divide dough into 4 even pieces.

8. Roll each into a snake, then twist into a pretzel or chop into ¾“pieces for pretzel bites.

9. Drop pretzels/bites into the bath of boiling water and baking soda for 30 seconds and take them out.

10. Place pretzels in pan, and sprinkle salt (or other add-ons) on the bites.

11. Bake for 20 minutes till golden. Brush with melted butter


While it bakes

Swingjugent party
Party like it's 1939!

Have a Swingjugend party!

Use some water on a hairbrush to style your hair, find some swing music to play, lay out some refreshments and crank up the - -


Safety first!

Are the doors locked? Windows shut? Blinds down, and curtains closed? Are you safe from the Gestapo? Are you sure no one can hear you and turn you in?

Okay then!

Now you can dance!


Knead to know more?

Jojo Rabbit
Watch: Jojo Rabbit (2019)

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