On Living a Stereotype for a Day

Let’s be honest: Most people, especially from the other side of the pond, cannot distinguish between a German and Bavarian. Just to be clear a Bavarian is a German but a German not necessarily a Bavarian. Although Bavaria is geographically speaking the largest German state, it only makes up for one eighth of the population and is only second when it comes to the highest population (No. 1 is beautiful North-Rhine-Westphalia. I am utterly biased, I know). Still for most people we are all Lederhosen or Dirndl wearing, Weißbier drinking Bavarians. Let me tell you: WE ARE NOT! To all those Brexiteers out there who are so afraid of the EU stealing your distinctly British identity (which doesn’t exist btw), Germans are – after many more years of union and multiple attempts of unification before – still very tribal. Regional identity comes before national identity! We celebrate our differences, are proud of our traditions and above all our multitude of dialects (and the fact that we are not always able to understand each other).

Today, I decided to celebrate some good Bavarian cuisine. Altough I am far from being a Dirndl wearing Bavarian girl, I do love me some Bretzeln (Pretzels). Each time, I have my friends over, I bake a cake for them but today I was feeling like doing something else: Bretzeln and Obazda.

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I always wanted to make lye pastry but never dared because of the name-giving step of dipping your dough into the lye. This step gives the roll or pretzel this distinct, slightly bitter taste and its nice brown colour. I have been making Obazda for a while now and the recipe below is a combination of various version that you will find online. I had my first Obazda (a Bavarian camembert creme btw) when I visited my hubby’s uncle in Bavaria – I was in my mid-20s. The reason why I never tried it before – despite the fact that you will find it in every grocery store in Germany – is that I had this notion in my head that Bavarian cuisine consisted solely on (sometimes questionable**) meat dishes – speaking about stereotypes, right? It turned our Obazda is vegetarian, so I tried it and I liked it. I should maybe mention that Obazda has quite an intense flavour but you might like it if you’re into dips with blue or other cheese.

Here are my recipes, hope you enjoy!

Lye Rolls/Bretzeln:

Ingredients:

  • 500g White Flour
  • 2 packs of dried yeast
  • 300ml warm water
  • 30gr butter
  • 2 tbs of salt
  • 2 tbs of sugar
  • Lye: 2l of water 50g of baking soda (or double amount if big Pretzels etc)
  • coarse salt for last step

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Mix ingredients together to make a nice thick dough.

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If you want to make different things like rolls, tiny baguettes and pretzels, third or half your dough.

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If you want to make pretzels, please watch a youtube video on it. I suck at it and am incapable of explaining to you how to do it. You create a long dough snake, twist the dough, turn and topple it. Here is proof of my inaptness:

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Cover your creations with a damp cloth and let it rise for 15-20min. Now comes the tricky part: bring lye to a boil, once boiling put on medium heat and dip your rolls etc for 30sec on each side in lye. Drain and put on tray (lined with baking paper). Let cool down for 30min. Pre-heat oven to 200 degree C and bake for 15-20min (check in between) till it has a nice medium to dark brown colour.

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Let cool down for few minutes. When still warm, brush with water and sprinkle with your coarse salt.

Obazda:

Ingredients

  • 250g of Camembert
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbs of wholegrain mustard
  • pinch of cumin
  • 1 tbs of Paprika (mild)
  • pinch of Paprika (hot)
  • pinch of salt
  • 200g of creme fraiche
  • (if too extreme, add some sugar)
  • Chives

I use the blender to chop up my cheese. You will need a bit of milk to help the blender. Once I have my camembert creme, I mix in all the other ingredients and let it sit in the fridge for an hour.

** I have to mention here that whoever likes eating Weißwurst has no right whatsoever to make condescending remarks about Haggis!

Header pic from here.

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