Fourth Grade Activity
“Explore Legends and Traditions”
“Soft Pretzels are a fun way to make a yeast bread together.”
Materials/Equipment Needed:

Ingredients for Soft Pretzels

    ½ cup water
    1 pkg. Active dry yeast
    1 cup milk
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 ½ teaspoons salt
    4 to 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    1 egg
    1 tablespoon water
    Poppy seeds, seasoned or coarse salt


    Large bowl
    Liquid and dry measuring tools
    Spoon for mixing
    Rolling pin
    Baking sheet

Book(s) with bread or grain food stories or legends.


  • Explore legends related to a staple bread or grain
  • Identify staple or traditional foods from several cultures, including your family
  • Select a bread-with-a legend or tradition to prepare.
  • There are many food myths, legends and traditions related to staple foods we enjoy. Discuss or read one related to bread.
  • Name three breads or grain foods you enjoy that are not originally from your family’s history. Other cultures’ food staples are quickly adopted in America. For example, the tortilla is the fastest growing bread product in America. It is becoming a staple for many non-Hispanics!
  • Flat breads of all types (tortillas, chapattis, pita, naan, focaccia) are fun and easy to prepare. In the countries where they are staples, they are often prepared by hand.
  • Wash hands and prepare a staple or legendary bread.


Makes 24, (1.5 oz.) pretzels

½ cup warm water (100-110°F)
1 pkg.(1/4 oz) active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk (100- 110°F)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4 to 4 ½ cups all-purpose
flour or half whole wheat
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Poppy or sesame seeds, seasoned or coarse salt

  1. Place warm water in large warm bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved.
  2. Add milk, oil, sugar, salt and 1 1/2 cups flour; blend well. Mix in additional flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  3. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  4. Punch dough down; divide into 24 pieces. Roll each piece to 16-inch rope. To make pretzels, curve ends of each rope to make circle; cross ends at top. Twist ends once and lay down over bottom of circle.
  5. Place pretzels on greased baking sheets. Cover; let rest in warm, draft-free place for 5 to 10 minutes, until risen slightly.
  6. Preheat oven to 350. F. Brush pretzels with beaten egg mixture and sprinkle with selected topping.
  7. Bake at 350°F. for 35 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack.

Source: Fleischmann’s Yeast

  • When a family is short of staple foods, it often doesn’t eat well. What staple foods or ingredients would be important to help provide to the local food pantry or congregate food site? How could your group help? (Check out: or ask a local food bank to speak with your group.)
  • Determine one way you can help provide staples for a community food pantry or soup kitchen.



A story handed down from the past.


A major product or part (of daily life)


The passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation.

Webster’s II New Riverside Pocket Dictionary 1991


Books for Reading Together

Tony’s Bread. De Paola, Tomie. 1989. G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Walter the Baker. Carle, Eric. Simon & Schuster, NY. 1995.
Loaves of Fun. Harbison, Elizabeth M. 1997. Chicago Review Press. A history of bread with activities and recipes from around the world.