It’s a little later in the month than I would have preferred, but today we finally had our annual Markel Family Oktoberfest! It was a beautiful day, and I thought it was very fitting that we sung a hymn in church this morning that I remember my dad singing in German while I played the piano when I was a child.
I was excited to have a dirndl and lots of edelweiss accessories to wear this year:
When we got home from church, we had our traditional Oktoberfest lunch of fondue with brats, German pickles, and homemade pretzels:
I made most our dinner of schnitzel, spaetzle, rotkohl, and sauerkraut from scratch (the sauerkraut was the only store-bought item).
For dessert I made our favorite Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte:
Oktoberfest is a lot of work…like an actual holiday’s amount of work. But it is a holiday for us, and I love having a way share my heritage with my family!
I mentioned that we had our family Oktoberfest celebration recently. The format changes some from year to year (we picked pumpkins this year, which was a nice, new addition), as does the date (anywhere from late September to, well, any point in October), but the children have a favorite activity that we make sure to do every year…make pretzels! It’s a fun, child-friendly activity, and everyone can enjoy the results (they’re especially delicious with the cheddar and beer fondue I also make every Oktoberfest!). If you’re interested in adding this tradition to your family’s celebration, here’s the recipe I use:
4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two more tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease baking sheets.
In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in 4 cups hot water; set aside. When dough is done rising, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape (other fun shapes can be made, as well). Once all of the dough is shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda-hot water solution and place pretzels on baking sheets. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake in preheated oven until browned, about 8 minutes.