Tag Archives: German

recipe goodness :: homemade soft pretzels and mustard from scratch

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Fall is the time for wooly sweaters, weekend projects and Oktoberfest. Instead of a typical apple pie pastime, I had my taste buds set on a rather adventurous experiment of making homemade soft pretzels and from-scratch mustard. After grabbing several generously sized bags of mustard powder and whole mustard seeds at Kalustyans, the idea of making my own mustard swelled into making four different kinds — it is my favorite secret ingredient, after all. It also didn’t hurt that my cousin and her beer-brewing fiance were in for the adventure and came bearing homemade suds and the same amount of experimental exuberance.

The result? After tasting a piping hot pretzel from my own oven, dare I say I’ll never buy a pretzel from the corner cart again. As for the mustard — four may have been excessive, but it revealed a few standout favorites which I’ve included below. Each of these Oktoberfest treats was made with relative ease, but you may want to consider making the mustard ahead of time as it will continue to mellow out each day — and at first taste, you {and your nasal passages} will quickly understand why mustard plaster was a treatment for pleurisy back in the day.

Homemade Mustards

Homemade Mustards (left to right clockwise: coarse rosemary, brown sugar, red wine)

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Recipe From the Fresh Loaf Makes 6 large pretzels — you might as well double it!

1 teaspoon instant yeast {or bread starter}
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2-3 cups all-purpose unbleached or bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm milk (approximately 110 degrees, which is 1 minute in my microwave)

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together until it forms a ball. I start with 2 cups of the flour and mix it together until it forms something like a thick batter, then add more flour a handful at a time until it’ll form a nice ball that I can knead by hand.
  2. Either use an electric mixer to mix the dough for 5 minutes or remove it from the bowl and knead it by hand for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough begins to get smooth and satiny.
  3. Return the ball of dough to a clean, greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately an hour.
  4. Before shaping, start preheating the oven to 425 degrees and bring a large, wide pot of water to a boil.
  5. Roll and rest the pretzel dough

    Roll and rest the pretzel dough

  6. Cut the dough into 6 pieces. Roll each one into a short log, cover with a towel, and let the dough relax for 5 to 10 minutes. After it has relaxed you should be able to roll it out and stretch again fairly easily.
  7. Let them relax again and give each a third roll and stretch session until about 15 inches long and about as big around as your index finger. They’ll nearly double in width while baking, so it is ok to roll them out quite thin.
  8. Place a rope of dough on the work surface in front of you. Take each end in a hand, loop the dough away from you, and bring the ends back toward your stomach, crossing them about an inch above the rope. Apply a little bit of pressure to make the loops stick together, but not too much because you don’t want then to flatten out.
  9. Dunk each of the pretzels into the boiling water for 5 seconds, then place them onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt immediately while wet (I use the kosher stuff that is easy to find at the grocery store).
  10. Place the baking sheets into the oven. It took around 15 minutes for my pretzels to get golden and brown. Remove from the oven and eat immediately.
Homemade Fig Mustard

Homemade Fig Mustard

Fig and Port Grainy Mustard (slightly sweet)

½ Tablespoons Brown Mustard Seeds
1½ Tablespoons Yellow Mustard Seeds
½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 ¼ Cup Mustard Powder (not Coleman’s)
1½ Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
1/4 Cup Tawny Port
3 Tablespoons Chilled Fig Simple Syrup (recipe below)

4 Fresh Figs
½ Cup Granulated Sugar
½ Cup Water

  1. Add figs, sugar and water to a small saucepan.
  2. Over medium high heat, stir until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking a few minutes longer until figs become very soft.
  3. Mash the figs into the syrup and keep stirring. Once the figs are well mashed and fully incorporated into the mixture, remove from heat. Pour contents of saucepan through a strainer and remove the large bits of fig.
  4. The syrup that’s left is the fig simple syrup. You can use the fig bits in oatmeal, ice cream or just eat them. You will have syrup left over after making the mustard.
  1. Grind the mustard seeds in a spice or coffee grinder for a few seconds, or in a mortar and pestle. You should leave them pretty chunky (near whole) because you want this to be a grainy mustard…but you could grind them to whatever consistency you like.
  2. Pour the ground mustard seeds into a bowl and add the salt and mustard powder.
  3. Add in the vinegar, port and simple syrup and stir well. Once everything is thoroughly mixed, pour everything into a glass jar (with a lid) and refrigerate.
  4. Wait at least 12 hours before using.
  5. Mustard made this way will last several months if refrigerated in a sealed jar. This recipe makes 1/2 – 3/4 cups of mustard.

Brown Sugar Mustard (#1 crowd fav)

1 cup dry mustard
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp salt
dash cayenne
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

Coarse Rosemary Honey Mustard (a standard whole grain)

½ Tablespoons Brown Mustard Seeds
1½ Tablespoons Yellow Mustard Seeds
½ Teaspoon Rosemary Salt
¾ cup mustard powder
¼-1/2 cup champagne vinegar
2 tbsp honey

Coarse-Ground Red Wine Mustard (packs a red vinegar punch)

1/4 cup white or brown mustard seeds
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4-1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup dry mustard
2 tsps salt
1/4 tsp allspice
2 tbsps cold water

  1. For any of the recipes above, place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  2. Process for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides and process for 30 seconds more.
  3. Add additional liquid if to thick as mustard powder & seeds will absorb more of the liquid.
  4. Put in an airtight container and let stand at room temperature overnight or up to 1-2 days more. The mustard will mellow out in heat over time. Once it reaches desired mildness store in the fridge.

Favorite Dishes with Mustard:
Cumin & Dill Dijon Egg Salad with Radish Sprouts
Roasted Dijon Chicken Salad w/ Dried Cranberries & Sunflower Seeds
Whole-Grain Mustard & Rosemary Pork Chops

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Gone Fishin’ :: Back in a Week…

Farewell Bachelorhood!

As I referenced in a previous post, I’m off in San Francisco to be the best groom’s girl I can be in my brother’s wedding this weekend. Jackie, my soon-to-be sister-in-law, works for Ghirardelli. She’s pretty darn sweet as a person, but it also doesn’t hurt that she brings a dowry consisting of a lifetime supply of chocolate. Welcome to the family!

I’m sure I will have no shortage of things to blog about upon my return — I promise it will be more interesting than a post about rice and will include musings from Napa. In the meantime, visit some old favorites…

Make A Delicious Dinner For Friends:
Kickin’ Ancho Chili Fresh Citrus Margarita
Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa
Orzo, Spinach & Feta Summer Salad
Whole-Grain Mustard & Rosemary Pork Chops
Grilled Thyme-Cumin Vegetable Kabobs
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake with BBQ’d Summer Berries {bottom of post}
More Recipes >>> EAT@HOME

Keep Busy in the City:
Do This!: Artisanal Premium Cheese & Wine Classes w/ Jessica Wurwarg
Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table
NYC Best: Summer Sausage & Other Seriously Good Eats @ Summerstage
NYC Best: Take the Dull Out Of Cooking {Knives} with Samurai Sharpening @ Chelsea Market

Enjoy a Cold One in the Garden:
Not so Standard Biergarten
Mission Dolores {Accomplished}: Great New Brooklyn Beer Garden
Nothing says Warm Weather Like a “Gut Biergarten”

And in the Spirit of Weddings, Go on a Date!:
Summer Lovin’ Me Some Oysters @Mermaid Oyster Bar
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand Crafted Cocktails
The Red Cat: Comfortable Quarters & Cuisine
Love, Love Shabu Shabu: Fun to Say and Eat
August in April
Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo
barmarche: Some Clever Crudites

Eat Up!

Sibling Fun in Tokyo


Filed under Do This!

Soft & Salty Snack @Sigmund Pretzelshop

Sigmund Pretzelshop Selection

In New York it’s not very hard to find a soft pretzel to satisfy your snack craving — they’re sold street-side at practically every corner cart. But it’s also not very hard to be disappointed by those salty twists that are often stale and taste of the strange burnt smell that wafts disturbingly from the pushcart. But if you head down to the East Village you will discover a whole new world of soft pretzels, far beyond the standard twist you may be used to. At Sigmunds Pretzelshop you can choose from an array of fat, crusty soft pretzels topped with the standard white salt crystals or more creative toppings such as jalapeno cheddar or caramel pecan to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you’re not already excited by souped up softy, you can also choose from their FREE selection of dips to accompany your snack. I had the pumpkin seed pretzel with whole-grain mustard {of course} and loved the nutty twist. And if you’re hungry for more than just a bite, Sigmunds has gone beyond the simple twist, offering soft pretzel sandwiches stuffed with such goodies as mozzarella, tomato & pesto or ham & fontina. Delicious!

Sigmund Sweet Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel

$3.00 – 3.50
jalapeno cheddar
gruyere paprika
seven chile
garlic parsley
cinnamon raisin
caramel pecan

Sigmund Pumpkin Seed Soft Pretzel

whipped butter
wholegrain mustard
honey mustard
beet-horseradish mayo
herb goat cheese
cream cheese


Sigmund Soft Pretzel Sandwiches


roast turkey with gouda and apple
roast beef with horseradish and red onion
smoked salmon with dill cream cheese
mozzarella, tomato and pesto

The Skim: Soft pretzels — salty, sweet or as a sammy, but a satisfying snack from Sigmund Pretzelshop no matter how you select.
Map: {29 Avenue B, btw 2nd & 3rd}
Reservations: Not needed!
Phone: 646.410.0333

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Not so Standard Biergarten

Good German Beer!

Don’t cha just love long weekends that make the next week fly by? It’s Thursday already and although you may still be in a foggy-minded haze from the 101 degree blaze we’ve had to muddle through the past few days, it’s time to think about ways to cool down for the weekend. In my opinion, there is no better way than a good ‘ole fashioned biergarten…or a shiny new one for that matter. The Standard Hotel’s Biergarten opened very late last summer, so is just getting broken in for all its glory this season and already won Time Out NY’s Best New Beer Garden award. Tucked under the Highline, you get both a little piece of NY history overhead and a welcomed roof to keep the blazing sun from beating down. The operation is simple: buy as many $8 tickets as you want from the faux lederhosen-wearing beer maid at the entrance and make your way into the lively space. It’s almost like a carnival for adults {sans the carnies…hopefully}. Want a chilled German draft? One ticket please. Want two freshly grilled brats? One ticket please. Thanks to this clever ticket system, the place runs itself like a well oiled machine {don’t forget to tip your beer maid though!} There is plenty of communal seating amongst the picnic and high bar tables or mill around in front of either the beer bar or regular bar {yes they served regular cocktails as well}. Either way you are sure to meet some other singles or just have yourself a not-so-standard fun summer sipping session.

The Standard Biergarten

The Skim: It’s a hip version of a traditional german biergarten where you can come wearing flip flops or your cutest 4-inch heals and get away with either. Whether  you are coming for a fun evening with friends or on the  prowl to meet some “new friends” you will no doubt enjoy the lively, open space. Good beer. Good brats. Good times. {848 Washington Street @ 13th Street)

Beer Me Some More!:
Mission Dolores {Accomplished}: Great New Brooklyn Beer Garden
Wilfie & Nell: Not Your Grandpa’s Watering Hole
5 & Dime: 10 oz. at Five Napkin Burger, that is

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Filed under Eat Here!, {Drink Me}

Nothing says Warm Weather Like a “Gut Biergarten”

Loreley Biergarten

Something goes off in my head when the weatherman says 70 and sunny. First thought: all is right in the world. Second thought: outdoor drinks. I find that I’m always trying to come up with good places to grab a beer under the summer blue skies. Loreley, on Rivington, is just the place to keep on that list. Good German beers, good german food {oxymoron?} and yes, an outdoor biergarten fully equipped with communal wood tables and Christmas lights to provide an atmosphere conducive to meeting new people {read: cute beer-drinking boys and a select few highly qualified beer-drinking girls} or gathering with a large group of friends. The menu boasts standard fare such as Bratwurst, Schnitzel and oven-fresh pretzels — all good compliments to a 1 Liter mass stein of your favorite draft {0.5 liters available for the dainty at heart}.

The Skim: Come out from the dark, brick-walled bars you’ve been hiding in all winter — air out your drinking shoes and head to Loreley for a fresh-air brew and brat. Ein bier bitte. {7 Rivington between Bowery and Chrystie}

Good Beer? Tell Me More!:
8.ate@eight #3: Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
Mission Dolores {Accomplished}: Great New Brooklyn Beer Garden
Not so Standard Biergarten
Do This!: Summer Cheese and Beer Extravaganza

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