I don't need written recipes, because I can make them from memory. (One of the reasons I started my blog was to recreate these recipes so that they won't be lost). Yesterday was our 7th Oktoberfest, so Craig put on Bavarian Oom-Pa-Pa music, to start the festive mood. At first, I could feel a big lump in my throat as I rolled up my sleeves and started making her dishes. Mutti is gone, but I felt a sense of her presence as I spent the next six hours making her Austrian Goulash, German Potato Salad, Spaetzle, and Red Cabbage. Of course, we had traditional sausages-- but just a few. The Goulash is my personal favorite dish. It's a stew with a rich sauce of tomato sauce and paprika.
This year, I opted out on making the traditional Bavarian Semel Knoedel (bread dumplings). Instead, I made a big batch of homemade spaetzle.
To keep the carbs coming, I decided I wanted to make Bavarian "Bretzen"... otherwise known as Soft Pretzels, in America. Thanks to my lovely blogger friend, Monica, of "Lick the Bowl Good" I found the perfect recipe. Her stellar photos showed how to shape the dough into the pretzel twist. She promised they were fast and easy-- and I needed that. I had been in the kitchen for almost five hours and I had 90 minutes until the guests arrived-- could it be done by then? The answer is "yes"! I didn't photograph each step, because I was running out of time and energy. The steps were simple, and you can find a printable recipe at the bottom of this post. You start with warm water, sugar, salt and a packet of dry yeast. In five minutes it was foamy. Using my Kitchen Aid Stand mixer, and the dough hook, I added flour, and melted butter. That's it! In one hour, the dough had doubled...
here, if you want to see Monica's). The fun part was dipping them into a pot of boiling water, with baking soda. That took 30 seconds, each. I brushed them with an egg wash and sprinkled kosher salt on them.
The aroma is intoxicating! The Bretzen were ready, just as our guests arrived. Traditionally, Bavarians like to slice this in half and butter them.
VERDICT: Fool-proof to make. Seriously fast and easy. They are fun to make. Kids would have fun rolling the dough. The flavor-- oh, Bavaria! Slightly crunch on the outside. Soft and chewy on the inside. I like being able to adjust how much salt I want on them. They are outstanding! I'm making more today. Yes, I am!
Craig and I prefer the with beer. Yeah, it's like that...
It was a labor of love, to present traditional and authentic German Oktoberfest dishes. If only my mom was alive to see this. Somehow, I can feel a sense of closeness to her when I am making her recipes. If you like German food, I hope you enjoy trying them. My mother would be pleased.
I'm submitting this recipe to "Yeastspotting". Now that the weather is cooler, I'll be baking more breads. This blog has a tempting array of beautiful photos and recipes.