Since this week’s Sunday Funday falls on New Year's Eve, our theme is “Fortuitous Feasting”. Participants were invited to share recipes they dine on to ring in the New Year.
In my house, we’re pretty simple: pizza, popcorn, and champagne at midnight, all while watching Star Wars (we time it out so the Death Star explodes precisely at midnight!)
I decided to go looking for other New Year's Traditions and found this New Year’s Pretzel from Germany. This is a sweet pretzel (though I toned down the sweetness for my own preferences - see recipe notes) that is sure to please everyone who enjoys it on New Year’s morning.
The pretzel is said to represent luck, posterity and health for the new year. I also enjoy the legend that pretzels were created by Catholic monks to teach the mystery of the Holy Trinity and to encourage children to pray. I believe prayer and faith have a lot to do with a good New Year as well.
- A Warm Bowl of Good Fortune: Arroz Caldo by Culinary Cam
- Beef Dum Ka Pasanda by Sneha's Recipe
- Lucky Cabbage Salad by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Neujahrsbrezel (German New Year’s Pretzel) by Amy's Cooking Adventures
- Pomegranate Panna Cotta by Mayuri's Jikoni
- Sauerkraut Bundt Cake by Palatable Pastime
- Stir-Fried Romaine Lettuce with Garlic Chili by Karen's Kitchen Stories
*Traditionally Neujahsbrezel is a sweet pretzel. To accommodate my family’s tastes, I toned down the sweetness.
*To make a traditional Neujahsbrezel, add ⅓ cup sugar in place of the 3 tablespoons and top with pearled sugar instead of salt.
*Neujahsbrezel can also be topped with powdered sugar
*Some recipes I saw called for making a pretzel with one large dough rope, then adding the braid almost as a garnish. I saw a photo online and decided to brain the entire pretzel.
Neujahrsbrezel (German New Year’s Pretzel)
Adapted from My Dinner: The World in my Kitchen
1 cup warm milk (around 10 degrees F)
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
½ teaspoon salt
3 ½ - 4 cup flour
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, whisked
Place the milk, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set aside until foamy.
Add the egg, butter, salt, and 2 cups of flour. Stir with the paddle attachment.
Switch to the dough hook and add another 1 ½ cups of flour. Knead until the dough comes together in a smooth ball (it can be slightly tacky, but not sticky). If the dough is too sticky, slowly add the remaining flour.
Place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and set in a warm place to rise until doubled, 45-60 minutes.
Divide the dough in the 3 parts, 2 should be equal and one should be slightly larger. (For reference: my dough weighed 30 ounces (nearly 2 pounds), my pieces weighed 9 ounces, 9 ounces, and 12 ounces).
Roll the dough pieces into long, thin ropes (my smaller pieces were about 30-inches, and the larger piece was about 36-inches).
To start braiding, start about 3-inches from the end of the long piece (this will come around to create the center of the pretzel later) Braid until the smaller pieces are fully braided.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicon baking mat. Move the braid to the pan. Bring the thin ends around, cross, and tuck under the braid to make a pretzel shape.
Cover and allow to rise for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Brush the pretzel with egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until deeply browned. Rest on the baking sheet for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.