My daughter’s Love-Affair with Pretzel

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Lekker..pretzel – new Toddler addiction | by Justbluedutch

Toddlers are notorious picky eaters. My daughter is one. But recently, we found something. We’ve just moved to Germany, and surprisingly, my daughter fell in love with this dark brown, crispy, salty crust, and inside a soft dough bread. It has a plump “body”, and thin, crispy  crossed “arms.” Locally known as ‘Pretzel’or here in Bavaria, it is known as “Brezn, Brez’n, or Brezen“. Well who doesn’t? It’s delicious, especially when its fresh & warm.Typically German thing and its so good. Breze are part of a typical snack German culture and even on any meals.Additionally it is irreplaceable as side dish with Weißwurst and Leberkäse.

Maybe she’s fascinated by its unique shape and color. But one thing for sure, she loved its taste. This has been part of our morning walks and whenever we are out in the park. We go to the nearby Backerie {Bakery}, our favorite was one from Backhaus Hackner ,   and we’re all set! She can finish one big Pretzel in one sitting and could asked for more.

I noticed  that even from one bakery to the other, there are slight variations of the pretzel shapes, and of course, taste. For example, in Bavaria, the arms are shorter and attached closer to the top (thin part) of the pretzel. In Swabian the arms of the pretzel sit very low on the body.

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A Pretzel a day makes one fine Toddler’s tantrums away. | by Justbluedutch

Pretzels today continues to be formed by hand as has been done throughout history. Bakers spend years perfecting the pretzel-forming technique. First, the dough needs to be rolled out. Both ends of the strand are held up, and through a quick swing, the center of the strand is twisted. The ends are then pressed onto the body of the pretzel. This process, when perfected, takes only seconds, but it needs a lot of practice to get it right.

I personally also liked it. The first time I have tasted it is when we are on holiday in Trier and I was curious to know how does it taste. In Philippines, I can only remember that Pretzels are very tiny, chocolate-coated crispy biscuit and not as bread like this. Here, I have seen both young and old eating Pretzel daily. With beer, White sausages and often with herb butter on it.

Germany is a land of Breads and as part of getting to know its rich varieties here, I was surprised to learned that Pretzels were invented by mistake! { A great story!}  Now it’s not a new thing  that many dishes  were created out of a mistake but indeed, pretzels has been one of the traditional German food for ages and until now.

Bavarian Pretzels
Freshly baked Bavarian Pretzels

If you are curious like me, you can read about Pretzels and its history and although in other regions of Germany have their stories of how it was invented, the Laugenbrezel is accredited to the Bavarians. The story goes that one fine morning of February 11, 1839, Anton Nepomuk Pfanenbrenner, the baker for the Munich Royal Café, was preparing some sweet pretzels for his guests. He wanted to brush the pretzels with sugar-water, but accidentally used the Natronlauge, the sodium hydroxide solution being used to clean and disinfect the bakery kitchen countertops. The baker decided to bake the pretzels anyway.

Lye can be toxic in high concentrations, but is also commonly used for curing foods like lutefisk. Most bakers use food-grade lye, which is the chemical equivalent of drain cleaner, but is produced and packaged in a clean, regulated way.Since the lye dip is heavily diluted and the pretzel is baked after dipping, it won’t kill you.

The pretzels came out of the oven with a unique brown crust, soft center, and delicious taste. His guests were very pleased and he became the “pretzel hero.”That’s where it all began.

There are so many varieties of Pretzels that we are excited to try. There’s the New Year’s pretzels, sweet pretzels, Oktoberfest Pretzels {Wiesnbrezn }   which are baked larger than the original size,and lighter in shade and the special Lent Pretzel (Fastenbrezeln)  which are baked during the 40 days of Lent. For sure I’ll be writing about these things soon.

Have you ever tried German Pretzels? How was your experience?

I would love to hear your  story in comments below.

If you like this story, then you might also love to read about fascinating facts about Arabic foods we like when we are living in Kuwait or follow our Expat Life stories Here.

 

 

Iranian Bread & Zubaidi Fish

 

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Warm & delicious Iranian Bread

If there’s anything that is a MUST in every Kuwaiti household for a weekly groceries,that is a bunch of Iranian Bread and Zubaidi fish (or Silver Pomfret).

While in Western culture ,the  bread ( loaf or any other type )  is the queen of every table and for Asians, it is rice, then here in Kuwait, this is every family’s staple. For  Kuwaitis, Iranian bread is as  almost as important as oil. They have eaten Iranian bread since they were born and start solids. Their grandfathers also did the same. Every morning after prayers, people dash to the Iranian bakeries and queue to get their stock. Since Kuwait became richer, maids and drivers now queue up instead, but still there are a lot of people waiting. They eat it with almost anything. With grilled fish, kebabs, chicken, hummus, tahini or just as it is. Its simply delicious.

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An Expat’s  favorite meal : Kebabs, shish tawook, Hummus, fries & Iranian Bread

The Kuwaiti nation eats also rice, and other things but you cannot compensate them with something else. I love Arabic bread (smaller pita bread or Kubz) that you can usually find in packs at the co-op). It’s very nice, but it cannot replace warm Iranian bread. Sometimes when I go to buy the bread, I eat one on the way back because it’s so warm and fresh and tasty, especially if you pay a bit extra like 5 fils and get sesame seeds on them. As an Expat, I have grown fond of eating this especially when its fresh and I used it to make home made shawerma. My Dutch husband taught me an very awesome trick to preserve breads, and that is putting it in the fridge and just take it out to defrost when I would like to eat it. It tastes as fresh as it was & surely, we don’t have stale & wasted bread anymore! This is how I preserve Iranian bread & Kubz.

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Local sightings : Local bakers using old-fashioned oven in making Iranian bread.

When I visit the Mubarakiya, I still see locals who make Iranian bread in a very old fashioned stone ovens. Normally you can find these small bakeries tucked in any governorate but mostly in nearby Co-op. One place I visited before was the one in Shamiya where I really love the taste of it. The smell and the sight of it is very interesting and every Expat should try this. Whenever you eat out in a restaurant ( or locally called as Matam ) they normally served hot & freshly baked Iranian bread along with any meal, while in any other fancy restaurant they also served different types of bread like the one we have tried in Leila’s ( a Lebanese restaurant ) which is more of hot  buns. I could finish the bread while waiting for our orders!

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Leila’s hot delicious hot buns
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A sumptous Zubaidi meal with rice

Although Kuwait is  abundant in all types of food, having a home cooked meal of Zubaidi & rice is always special. This very tasty fish with rice is often served in homes in the Arabian Gulf.  Zubaidi (Silver Pomfret) fish is Kuwait’s national fish that is local but can be found in the frozen section of many Middle Eastern or Asian shops. (You may have to degut them yourself). While some prefer to eat them with rice alone, others  make Kuwaiti Tomato Sauce (Dukkous Al-Tamat) to serve as an accompaniment.

Have you tried any Arabic  dish with Zubaidi or the Iranian Bread? How was your experience?

Read more on my Expat guides & tips in my Life as an Expat in Kuwait section and learn to embrace the Arabic culture to beat your culture shock.