Cook this: Oktoberfest Pretzels

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It’s not Oktoberfest without pretzels, and if you’re going to do something like this, you do it properly. As soon as decided to host our own backyard-Oktoberfest, I decided home made pretzels were going to happen, too. I was going to make them myself, from scratch, and they were going to be awesome (God willing). Guess the baking gods were smiling on me, because they were perfect. Despite my reservations, there was nothing complicated or scary about this recipe. I wish I could claim I’d slaved away for hours but actually, the process isn’t as impressive as the end result. Once they’ve sat out of the oven for a while, they harden up like a proper, legitimate Brauhaus-style pretzel. They’re crunchy on the outside and impossible soft and airy on the inside. Let’s get stuck into this…

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To make 12:
– 525g plain flour
– 375ml lukewarm milk
– 1tsp caster sugar
– 7g sachet dried yeast
– coarse salt to sprinkle on top

 

1. Sift the flour into a large bowl with around 1tsp salt.

2. In a small bowl, combine the milk, sugar and yeast, stirring to dissolve.

3. Pour the milk mix into the flour and stir it to combine. Then, using an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, knead/mix the dough for around 10 minutes; it should form a soft and smooth and very elastic dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 5 minutes.

4. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and divide into 12 equal pieces. Gently roll the dough pieces into long, thin logs (around 40-50cm long).

5. Twist the dough into pretzel shape by laying it in a U shape, then cross the ends over and and bring both ends back to the curve in the U. Dab a little water onto the two ends before you press them down onto the U to join them. Place them on a large plate or baking tray lined with baking paper as you go.

6. Let the pretzels sit uncovered for 30 minutes, then cover them in plastic wrap and refrigerate preferably overnight, but no less than 3 hours.

7. After they’ve rested, pre-heat the oven to 220°C.

8. Combine 1L water, 1tbs salt and 1tbs bicarb soda in a large pot. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. Immerse each pretzel, one at a time, in the solution for 10 seconds, then return to a baking paper lined oven teat. Sprinkle each with salt, and bake for 15 minutes, or until nicely golden. Eat them warm with a little butter and mustard. Or cold, with butter and mustard. Just eat lots of them, they’re so, so good!

 

Cook this: Spinach & feta gozleme

This is one of my favourite market foods – cheap, delicious, and easy to eat while you’re walking around. I’d always been curious about trying to make them myself, but thought the dough would be too complicated… But a while ago I was flicking through some cook books and found a recipe in my Lonely Planet Street Food cook book (amazing book, by the way); turns out the dough isn’t so complicated, and it’s just as delicious made at home!

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This recipe makes about 8 decent sized gozleme – I usually halve the recipe if I’m making a few to put on the BBQ when we have a few people over for a catch up! I’ve made this quite a few times now, so here’s my version, adapted from the Lonely Planet recipe.

Ingredients:
– 5¼ cups plain flour
– 2 tsp salt
– 2 tsp dried yeast powder
– 1 tsp sugar
– 1¼ cups warm water
– 2 cups baby spinach leaves, chopped
– 2 cups crumbled fetta cheese


Method:

1. Sift the flour into a large bowl (reserve ¼ cup), add the salt and create a well in the centre.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the yeast, sugar and ¼ cup water, then pour it into the well in the bowl of flour, and sift the remaining quarter cup over the liquid. Sit it aside for 10 minutes.

3. Add the rest of the water to the bowl and stir together well to combine. Knead the dough on a floured board for around 5 minutes, then put it back into the bowl, cover with a clean tea towel, and set aside for an hour to rise.

4. In another bowl, combine the spinach and fetta, and set aside.

5. After rising, take the tough out of the bowl and divide into 8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a rough ball and roll out of on a floured board into a rectangular shape – you’re aiming to have it thin enough that you can just about see through it if you hold it up to sunlight, but not so thin that it easily tears.

6. Sprinkle some of the spinach and fetta mixture onto one half of the rectangular piece of dough, fold the uncovered half over and press the edges together to seal.

7. To cook the gozleme, heat a large, non-stick fry pan over high heat, or fire up the BBQ as I prefer to do. Spray a little cooking oil and cook for a few minutes on each side, until the dough becomes speckled with brown spots.

8. Slice up your gozleme with a pizza cutter or sharp knife and serve hot with lemon wedges, and chilli flakes if you’re spicily inclined.