Archive for the 'Bavarian / German' Category

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Homemade Soft Pretzels

The Astronomer and my mother have one very interesting thing in common—a compulsion to buy soft pretzels while shopping at the mall. Whether sweet or savory, Auntie Anne’s or Wetzel’s Pretzels, the two most important people in my life always seek out this warm and carby pick-me-up whenever I’m focused on expanding my wardrobe.

While my mom and I were trolling the shops at Fashion Valley last weekend, she paused for a pretzel break in between our requisite stops at Banana Republic and J. Crew. Craving something on the savory side, she chose a plain pretzel slicked with melted butter and sprinkled with coarse salt. Maybe I was malnourished from shopping so intensely this afternoon, but the pretzel tasted incredibly good. Its texture was soft yet toasty, while its flavors were rich and satisfying. I stole more than half a dozen bites from my mama.

Several days later, I was still thinking about that darn pretzel. Rather than drive to the mall for an easy fix, I headed to the supermarket for yeast and kosher salt. Homemade pretzels are far and away more laborious than forking over $3 to the lady behind the counter; however, I found the entire process fun, challenging, and quite delicious.

The pretzels taste best fresh out of the oven, so go ahead and eat four in one sitting. It’s the right thing to do.

  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (about 14 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a large bowl, and let stand for 5 minutes.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 3 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes). Add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel slightly sticky).

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 40 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.

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Nürnberger Bratwurst Glöckl am Dom – Munich

Nürnberger Bratwurst Glöckl am Dom - Munich

My dream of squeezing in a culinary excursion during an international layover came true during our flight home to Los Angeles. Rather than twiddle our thumbs for five hours inside the Munich airport, The Astronomer and I hopped aboard a local train in search of a proper German meal. With the airport located an hour outside of town, we had to hustle to get our grub or risk  missing the second leg of our flight. Meals spiked with an element of danger are the best!

Nürnberger Bratwurst Glöckl am Dom - Munich

The Astronomer and I found ourselves at Nürnberger Bratwurst Glöckl am Dom based on a Frommer’s recommendation naming it the “the coziest and warmest of all local restaurants.” The place has been around since 1893 and was rebuilt after World War II.

The cottage-like interior was adorned with dark wood furniture and colorful bric-a-brac. A small army of traditionally dressed barmaids worked the room, serving sausages and beers to a steady stream of patrons. The entire scene was straight out of the Oktoberfests of my youth, minus the whole frat brother/meat head vibe.

Nürnberger Bratwurst Glöckl am Dom - Munich

The Astronomer started his midday meal with a glass of sudsy local beer…

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