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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Soft Pretzels and a Sparkling Wine from Germany

Updated: Feb 12

For the past few years, my best girlfriends and I have been celebrating birthdays with food experiences and cooking workshops. For Pia's 51st birthday, we went to a Bavarian Pretzel Workshop.


I have made soft pretzels before - Laugenbrezel (German Soft Pretzels) are posted on my original blog - but it is always a pleasure to learn from an expert. In this case, we went to Aniko Ritchie's farm in Aptos and spent the afternoon making Bavarian pretzels with her guidance. This is her process and I can't wait to try it on my own at home. Soon!


Bavarian Pretzels

recipe adapted from Chef Nikki's kitchen


Ingredients

makes a dozen 4-inch pretzels

  • 2 cups of warm water between 110 degrees Fahrenheit and 115 degrees Fahrenheit

  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 Tablespoon active yeast

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 5-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 Tablespoon oil (low-flavor such as avocado oil)

  • ¾ cup baking soda and 1 gallon of water

  • 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 Tablespoon cold water

  • coarse kosher or sea salt for topping

Procedure

Note: Nikki used a Kitchen Aid for this; I don't have one. This is adapted to what I did without a Kitchen Aid.


Run a large mixing bowl under hot water to make it warm. Pour (measured) water into the large mixing bowl Whisk in the brown sugar and sprinkle yeast on top. Give a quick stir to moisten all of the yeast. Let stand for 5 to 7 minutes to let it bloom into a foamy raft.


Add flour 1 cup at a time until well-combined. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Return the dough to an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the dough on all sides. Cover bowl with a towel and let rise until it doubles in size, approximately 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the ambient temperature of your kitchen.


After the dough is risen, preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring baking soda and water to boil in a large pot.


Turn dough onto your workspace and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each into a ball, then roll the ball into a 24-inch long rope. To shape: Form the rope into an upside-down 'U'. Cross the ends over each other twice.



Flip the ends over. Pinch the ends to the other side to adhere them securely. Make sure that the pretzels have three holes.




Turn down the boiling water to a simmer and gently lower each pretzel into the water one or two at a time. For thirty seconds, baste the pretzels with the water.


photo by Pia


Remove the pretzels from the water and place them on a baking sheet. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with pretzel salt, coarse kosher salt or sea salt.



Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.



Serve hot with artisan mustards.



A Sparkling Wine from Germany


It's not a party without bubbles, right? I went to look at the wines on my shelf and found, amazingly, a sparkling Riesling from Germany. I knew that would be perfect with the soft pretzels.


center photo by Pia


I poured the Ulrich Langguth - Dry Riesling Sekt from Mosel,Germany. This single varietal - 100% Riesling - poured a bright lemon yellow with generous perlage. On the notes, I got summer stone fruits along with orchard fruits and hints of citrus and petrol.



The high acidity made this very food-friendly and a great match with the soft pretzels and a grazing board that included Cambozola, liverwurst, sausages, a wine-rinsed rind cheese, and so much more!


Prost! Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag!

Cheers! Happy birthday!

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