So, before Blogger so rudely ate my post, I was talking about my pretzels. They didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped because I sort of just followed bits and pieces of about three recipes I had, but they were gone by 8 p.m. last night so they couldn’t have been all that bad. Those boys will eat anything!
Traditionally they’re supposed to be boiled briefly in a solution of water and baking soda before baking to give them a hard, shiny crust, but I left out that part (lazy) and instead brushed them with egg white and sprinkled with coarse salt, as the following recipe suggests. I may try a new recipe next time just to check out the difference.
This recipe is meant for a 2 lb bread machine, but I’m sure you could make them by hand just as easily if you know how to make a yeast dough. Also? This was supposed to make 16 smallish ones, but I made 8 big suckers instead. What a rebel.
1 ¼ c water
3 ½ c bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
1 T oil
1 tsp lemon juice
2 T sugar
1/8 tsp white pepper
1 T (one .25 ounce package) active dry yeast
1 egg white
1 T water
kosher (coarse) salt or sesame seeds
Place ingredients in bread pan in order recommended by manufacturer and use dough setting. When setting is complete, remove dough and punch down.
On a lightly floured surface cut dough into 16 (8!!) equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a rope about 16” long. Shape each rope into a pretzel by crossing the ends of the rope to make a loop, twisting the crossed ends once and folding them across the loop. (got that?)
Place pretzels on a greased cookie sheet 1 ½ “ apart. Brush with combined egg white and water. Sprinkle with salt or sesame seeds and bake in preheated 375°F (190°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Eat them while they’re still warm and beg your mum to make more!
Speaking of pretzels, last Friday our friends invited us over for a Bavarian evening to celebrate Oktoberfest. Besides loads of pretzels, or Brezn
as they’re called in Bavaria, we also had Weißwurst
(roast chicken) and white radishes cut into very thin slices. Mr. M and T drank Löwenbräu
beer out of a Maß
– a large glass designed to hold one litre. I’ve heard the barmaids in Munich can heft 6 of these things in each hand. You don’t want to mess with those ladies.
At the Oktoberfest opening ceremony this year, Munich’s Oberbürgermeister
(lord mayor) set a new record by managing to tap the huge beer keg with only two blows of his wooden mallet, shouting "O’zapft is!" (it is tapped!) to let the guests know that the party had officially begun.
Anyway, as our meal went on, our hosts maintained that the proper way to eat a Weißwurst
was not to slit the skin down the middle and separate it from the sausage, but to do it the Bavarian way by making an opening in one end of the Weißwurst
and sucking out the contents, leaving the empty skin behind. The Germans have even thought up a verb for this interesting activity: zuzzeln
Mr. M, being a traditional kind of guy (ha! that’s a good one!) had of course donned his Lederhosn
, knee socks and funny hat and pretended to be a Bayer
(a citizen of Bavaria) instead of a Saupreuß
(roughly “pig Prussian” – a name sometimes given to northerners by southerners). I actually have a traditional Austrian/Bavarian costume of my own, a Dirndl
dress handed down to me by my mum, but unfortunately the last time I fit into it was about two kids ago, and no amount of holding my breath was going to do it.
I guess this dress must be about 30 years old because I know my mother wore it before she gave it to me. The traditional Dirndl
, which is the short form of Dirndlgewand
, meaning clothing worn by a young girl or woman and stemming from the High German Dirne
(young girl), usually consists of a cropped white blouse, a low-cut, tight-fitting bodice with laces or buttons, a full skirt and a matching apron. Sometimes a scarf or shawl is wrapped around the shoulders. Apparently the way the apron strings are tied gives a clue as to the wearer’s marital status. If the bow is on the right, the woman is already spoken for. Apron strings tied to the left signal availability. But as far as I can tell, everyone
is available at Oktoberfest. It’s just that kind of place.
There are many, many variations on the Dirndl
theme and you can see that the bodice on my Dirndl
is very conservative and not low cut at all. There are some really racy ones indeed to be seen at Oktoberfest, cut up to here and down to there, and I doubt I could ever compete with all those buxom Bavarian beauties. I’m pretty sure I’ll never make it to the Wiesn
(the local name given to Oktoberfest) anyway – too much beer and bottom pinching for me.
Here’s some good information on Oktoberfest
and a great Bavarian dictionary
to help all those poor tourists figure out just exactly what their Bavarian hosts are saying. Also go check out Elemmaciltur's
adventures. Oktoberfest runs until October 3 this year, so there’s still time to get there. By the time the festivities are wrapped up, almost six million people may have visited the grounds. Wow, that’s a lot of pretzels!