MAKING BREADSTICKS AND PRETZELS
If you can give up a small wad of your dough when you are shaping your loaves, any kid from the toddlers stage on up will love making a shape to bake, be inordinately proud of the result---and delighted to eat it too. When baking such works of art, keep in mind that the tiny thin parts will tend to burn, while large lumps take much longer to bake. You can shield small parts with foil once they brown, to protect them from burning.
Even when they can't have a direct part in the process, grade schoolers are thrilled to come home to your bready rendering of their initials, or a favorite animal you've softly sculptured and baked especially for them. On a more mundan and practical level, the manageablilty of small soft-crusty breads makes life easier for very young ones whose tiny hands are relatively new to the eating game. (Eaters who have been at it for many years also appreciate breadstick, incidentally, especially alongside a hearty soup)
You can make 12 soft foot-long breadsticks out of a loaf's worth of dough. You can use just about any type of bread dough you like, be it whole wheat, rye, multi-grain or sour-dough. Rolled in sesame or poppy seeds, they provide a chewy, toothsome accent to a light meal. If sesame and poppy seeds are getting to ho-hum, try caraway or fennel, or, more daring, whole cumin seeds, spicy-hot. You could also add herbs like chopped basil and/or spices like a little curry to get a different flavour.
To shape, divide the dough for one loaf, into 12 parts, form balls, and roll into snakes. You now can roll the snakes in the seeds if you wish or if you want shiny sticks, paint them with an eggwhite wash (one egg white whipped with a Tbsp. of water) and sprinkle the seeds on them. Place side by side on a greased cookie sheet, allowing room for them to double in girth. Let rise until a gentle touch makes an indentation that fills in slowly; bake at 325° F until lightly brown, usually about 1/2 hr., preferably not near the bottom of the oven. Let them cool somewhat before removing them from the sheet. For crisper breadsticks, roll them thinner and bake a very low heat for as long as an hours.
I have included a recipe for making pretzels in the recipe link below, however like the breadsticks you can make them from any type of bread dough you like. For Pretzels we will just make a longer snake (18") and tie into a loose bow with a criss-cross and them brush with an eggwhite and water wash and sprinkle with coarse salt. These are also baked long and slow until they get nice and crisp. Neither the breadsticks nor the pretzels are hard to be adverturesome and try them.
Pretzels and Bagels and Pita Bread Recipes