Throwing a March Madness party this weekend? Why not, it’s the perfect excuse to host a get together. With all the madness of Spring Break, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter coming soon, I’ve chosen to keep things simple this weekend. Sometime’s a low-key get together is the best way to go.
A simple phone invite to your friends is more than enough to get things started. Encourage your guests to wear their favorite jerseys and bring their brackets if they chose. Now comes my favorite part…the food. In going with the simple theme, I’ve decided to stick to appetizers and food that would be served at a stadium. The perfect way to make your guests feel like they are truly at the game.
Because every party starts with a drink, I will be serving beer, water, soda, and Gatorade, all inside an iced cooler. If you wanted to get extra creative you could serve your drinks inside a Gatorade cooler. Then for the menu: Berghoff Nachos, Fresh Baked Pretzels, peanuts, and popcorn. For dessert, keep it simple with cookies or lemon squares. Most importantly enjoy the game and your company. Cheers!
Pretzels are one of the world’s oldest snacks. Great-grandfather Herman ate them in Germany as a boy and here in America as an adult. It was natural that they would find their way into the Berghoff bar. Traditionally, shaped pretzel dough is briefly boiled in water, just like bagels, before being baked. The brief boiling gives both pretzels and bagels shiny crusts and a very chewy texture. I omitted the step of boiling the shaped dough when I developed our pretzel recipe for the home kitchen, so this pretzel is easy to shape and bake. It has a nice soft crust, easy to bite, easy to chew. It is best baked and eaten on the same day. Pretzels are fun for kids and grown-ups alike to shape. We recommend eating these pretzels with any Berghoff beer or a frosty mug of Berghoff Root Beer.
- 4 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for kneading
- 1 (1/4-ounce) package (2 ¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 1 large egg white, well beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Pretzel (coarse) salt, as needed
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Do not use a convection oven for this recipe.
To mix in a mixer: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt, and stir to mix; add the water, butter, and egg yolk, and mix on low until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Fit the mixer with the dough hook and knead the dough at the lowest speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes, adding some or all of the remaining flour as needed. Cover with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with cooking spray and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
To mix by hand: In a 4-quart bowl, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt, and whisk to mix; add the water, butter, and egg yolk and, using a large spoon, stir until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Remove the spoon and, using your hands, knead the dough right in the bowl until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes, adding some or all of the remaining flour as needed. Cover with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with cooking spray and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
To mix in a food processor: In the work bowl of a large-capacity (14-cup) food processor fitted with the plastic dough blade, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt, and pulse to mix. Add the water, butter, and egg yolk, and pulse until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and forms a cohesive mass. Add additional flour as needed through the feed tube.
To shape the pretzels: Turn out the dough on a lightly floured board and knead briefly, about 1 minute. Cut the dough into twelve equal-size pieces. Roll out each dough piece into a 24-inch-long rope. Make a U shape with the rope. Holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press the ends down on to the bottom of the U to seal, forming a “pretzel shape.” For small pretzels, cut the dough into 24 equal-size pieces. Roll out each dough piece into a 12-inch-long rope and shape as directed.
Gently place each pretzel on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet (two pans). Brush the tops lightly with the egg white mixture. Sprinkle each with ½ teaspoon of coarse salt, or to taste. Bake in the preheated oven for 14 to 16 minutes, or until browned firm. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.