Sunday, October 17, 2010

Soft Pretzels (German "Bretzen") for our Oktoberfest 2010 Party

My mother was born and raised in Bavaria.  She met my father, who was stationed in Salzburg, Austria.  They married in Salzburg in1954, and she moved to America.  My mom became a US Citizen in 1957, but she hung on to her Bavarian heritage with pride. She came from a lineage of  great cooks, and her grandmother owned a successful restaurant in Bad Reichennhall, Bavarian.   I can remember my mother, at a very young age, teaching me how to make our family's favorite recipes. My mother passed on October 13, 2002. Since then, I have started a family tradition, of hosting an Oktoberfest dinner in memory of my "Mutti".

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...

The dough was divided into 8 pieces and rolled into a 24" coil. Shaping them was easy, thanks to Monica's great photos .  I was in a rush, so I didn't have time to photograph the steps (click 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.


Prost, Mutti!

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.









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35 comments:

Susan said...

Oh, Debby!! What a beautiful bretzel. I am looking forward to trying these myself.

teresacooks said...

This meal looks amazing, and yes it brings me right back to my days of living in Bavaria. . . spaetzle (specifically kasespaetzle) were my favorite. My parents seem to be Oktoberfest hopping this year, they went to the one in Munich (which apparently has become a huge drunken not-so-fun event, not like what it was 25 years ago. . .). Now they are heading to the second largest Oktoberfest in Blumenau Brazil. . . who knew?
What a lovely way to honor your mother.

Holly said...

Looks gorgeous and delish!!

Monica H said...

Your pretzels are perfectly golden Deb! I could certainly eat them slice in half with butter- oh my!

But then again, I'd be happy eating them for dinner too! Thanks for linking back to my blog- I appreciate it.

Happy Oktoberfest 2010- your Mutti would be so proud of you!

Cathy said...

Your pretzels are picture perfect, Debby. How I love these with a dunk in some spicy mustard (even better with an icy cold beer on the side). It will soon be time for our German American festival here with lots of pretzel and beer. I love this time of year!

Stacey Snacks said...

I love your new Prada Pretzel glasses! So cute!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Beautiful job! Clearly you have the "pretzel-making" gene!

Joanne said...

These are gorgeous! what a sweet tribute to your mother. I am so impressed with the twisting. The last time I tried to make pretzels..well it was a disaster.

Frieda said...

What a great tribute to your mom! Beautiful pretzels! I'll have to add that to my bread baking list.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Your Mutti would be proud with that spread Deb!

bella (roz) said...

I love these huge pretzels, yet have never made them! Gotta try homemade one of these days, especially for my German hubby! Happy German Octoberfest!!!

Cuisine de Provence said...

Köstliche Brezn - can't wait to try them out myself!

I Like To Cook 222 said...

Wow ! What beautiful pretzels! I will be making these soon!

Cheryl said...

That looks sooo good, I am making those pretzels this week! Thanks for sharing!

Noelle Marie said...

you're mom looked like quite a lady! love the hat!

i can smell them from here! mmmmm

Jen_from_NJ said...

Your Oktoberfest menu sounds fantastic! You've totally gotten me in the mood for Bavarian food. I could go for a pretzel and a cold beer right now!

Kim said...

Debby - You certainly created a wonderful feast in honor of your mother. You have definitely done her proud! Everything looks heavenly. I could really go for one of those pretzels with butter.

P.S. Love the pic of you hiding behind the pretzel.

Carole said...

Debby, your bretzen are beautiful, and aren't you cute hiding behind one? :-D Like you, I feel close to my Mother when I make something of hers. She was first generation of Slovakian parents and her Mother, my grandmother, was a wonderful cook. The apple didn't fall far from the tree with my Mother. Her recipes were by touch or taste. I need to write them down (figure out the measurements versus "by the eye"). Thanks for the inspiration.

Chiara "Kika" Assi said...

Your pretzels look amazing! Makes me wish I had made to Oktoberfest... maybe next year, who knows!

Ingrid said...

Debby, your bretzen look perfect! I'm sure your mom would be proud!
~ingrid

Simple Simon said...

Wonderful!! I can't wait to give these a try. Yours look so perfect. Thanks for sharing memories of your mother and her recipes.

Carla and Michael said...

Debby, your pretzels sure turned out beautifully. I've tried them once and they weere just okay. I'll be trying them again with this recipe and also your lovely Austrian Goulash.
Thanks.

Bridgett said...

Love the photo of you and the 'pretzel spectacles'! These look delicious as well.

bellini valli said...

This is a wonderful yearly tradition to keep the special family ties and memories unfolding Debby. Soft pretzels remind me of Munich where I went to a "beerhausen"many MANY years ago!

Danielle said...

I love soft pretzels and have always thought about making them just haven't gotten around to it (yet). They look fantastic!

jayneflower said...

I was in Munich for O'fest this year. I swear I ate Butter Bretzen Every day. Bread, beer & butter for 2 weeks and I lost weight! I want my Butter Bretzen diet!

Zoe said...

Is there a link to the recipe for the pretzels? They look yummy.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Yes, if you scroll to the bottom of the post there is a printable recipe card. I should make these again...soon!

honeybeecooksjackfruit said...

Do you know how you are torturing us with this? hehe. Looks so perfect and soft!! I want some now. Bookmarking this one.

Lori said...

Your Mom looks like she was a lot of fun. A very beautiful lady. An the pretzels look scrumptious.

K Cottenmyre said...

Such a wonderful recipe. I will be making these often. Do you think the texture would be sacrificed if you made bite-sized Bretzen? Well, I am making some for a fall get together.. we'll see : )
Your mother was adorable. She reminds me of my Great Grandmother who was from Italy.
P.S. I also want to try your Spaetzle recipe. Thank you thank you ; ) many blessings to you.

Colie's Kitchen said...

I can't wait to give these a try!!

Anonymous said...

hi,
im in New Zealand and the dry yeast comes in containers, not packet. how much yeast would i use?

spanna said...

Hi, I've been making these regularly now and always get good reviews, especially from German friends. Thanks so much for the recipe. Re the question about yeast in NZ I use one sachet of the Edmonds dry yeast (comes in a box of 12 sachets) works a treat!

Debby Foodiewife said...

What a great comment, and thank you for the feedback. I'm so glad that you enjoy this recipe. I'm long overdue to make more. Greetings to you, in New Zealand!