Tapestry of Faith: Toolbox of Faith: A Program That Helps Children Discover the Uses of Faith

Activity 3: Pretzel Prayer Bread

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Frozen bread dough or frozen dinner rolls for all participants
  • Cloths to cover dough
  • Flour (for hands), coarse salt, and butter or shortening
  • Cookie sheets

Preparation for Activity

  • Make sure the congregational facility has an oven you can use.
  • Arrange for one co-leader to complete the baking part of this activity so the other co-leader can move the group on to the next activity.
  • Purchase frozen bread dough (loaves, or dinner rolls). Thaw overnight in a refrigerator, keeping dough covered to prevent its surface from drying out.
  • Preheat the oven.
  • Clean worktable surfaces.
  • Place flour (for hands) and coarse salt on each worktable, along with a cookie sheet.
  • Lightly grease cookie sheets with butter or shortening.

Description of Activity

Participants experience a form of reconciling prayer in the process of handling and baking bread.

Tell the children:

In medieval times, Christian monks taught the people to pray by crossing their hands across their chest. The pretzel shape reflects this prayerful attitude. One Unitarian Universalist minister described a bedtime prayer as containing three parts: something you are thankful for, something you are sorry about, and something you are glad about.

Tell the group they each will make an individual pretzel prayer bread, to symbolize this type of prayer.

If you have purchased frozen bread loaves, divide each loaf of dough into eight pieces by cutting once lengthwise and four times across. If you have frozen dinner rolls, give one to each child.

Invite the children to flour their hands and the table surface (so dough will not stick). Show them how to roll their dough into a snake, lay the dough snake on a cookie sheet, and form the pretzel shapes. Do this by bringing the ends of the dough down and crossing one over the other once. Lift the ends up and push them lightly into the curved top of the dough to form a pretzel shape.

Invite children to sprinkle their pretzels with salt. Cover cookie sheets, and let dough rise for five minutes. Then, bake the pretzels for eight to ten minutes at the temperature suggested on the frozen dough package, or until golden brown.

Engage participants to help clean up worktables.