Schnitzel Sandwiches on Pretzel Rolls: Oktoberfest food is an anytime food

Here lately, I’ve been exploring more of my German heritage.

Perhaps it’s that time of year when delicious Oktoberfest beer is thankfully still in stores (Spaten makes the best one, but that’s just one girl’s opinion) or perhaps it’s because of the quantity of German history I’ve been reading lately, or perhaps being married to a man of German heritage who loves the food that makes me want to cook more of it.

So last weekend we were planning dinners, since only going to the store once a week is a huge time and money saver, and I stumbled across these recipes in Food Network Magazine and thought, “Hey, I already have the ingredients for these.”  That thought is one of my favorite surprises.

So for my Bavarian-at-heart husband I surprised him with schnitzel sandwiches on pretzel rolls.  Yeah, sounds fancy, but there’s nothing to it.  I’ll start by telling you about the pretzels.  I did things just a little bit differently for the sake of time, since the instructions on the second rise made no sense at all to me.  I’ll link you to the source, but for this recipe I’m blogging the changes.  These would be great for nearly any sandwich, and I have these sweet potato burgers in mind for the next batch.

Pretzel Rolls (From Food Network Magazine)

Fresh out of the oven
Fresh out of the oven
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 -ounce package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coarse sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Warm the milk in a small saucepan until a thermometer registers 110 degrees F. Pour into a medium bowl; sprinkle with the yeast and let soften, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the sugar and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Combine the flour and fine salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the yeast mixture and butter and mix until the dough is slightly smooth and soft but still sticky, about 2 minutes. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray; add the dough, cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Generously coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Stretch into a 16-inch-long log, about 2 inches wide; cut into 8 even pieces. Roll and stretch each piece into a 6-inch-long rope, then wind into a coil; tuck the end underneath. Transfer the rolls to the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Fill a large pot or deep skillet with 3 inches of water. Add the baking soda and 1/4 cup coarse salt and bring to a boil. Add half of the rolls and cook until slightly puffed, about 1 minute, flipping halfway through with a slotted spoon. Recoat the baking sheet with cooking spray and return the rolls to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining rolls. Brush the rolls lightly with the beaten egg, then sprinkle with coarse salt.

Transfer to the oven and bake until the rolls are deep golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Transfer to a rack and let cool 10 minutes on the pan, then remove the rolls to the rack to cool completely.

Once the rolls were in the oven, it was time to start what was going on the rolls.  It was also roundabout this time that I realized, schnitzel is Germany’s version of country-fried chicken.  Food is a great way to realize, we’re really not that different from anyone, when it comes down to it.  Of course, for these I halved the recipe, splitting two chicken breasts to get the right amount of cutlet.

I’d also recommend pounding the meat thin if it’s more than 3/4″ thick.  We left ours a bit too thick, and rather than letting them burn in the frying pan waiting for the centers to cook, we finished them in the over at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.  These sandwiches are great served with a good Marzen beer.

Great with a Marzen
Great with a Marzen

Schnitzel (From Food Network Magazine)

schnitzel on pretzel

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons caraway, poppy, sesame or fennel seeds (or a combination)
  • 8 pork, turkey or chicken cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 pretzel rolls, split
  • Sliced pickles, sliced red onion, lettuce leaves and/or spicy brown mustard, for topping

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs and milk in another shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Combine the breadcrumbs and seeds in a third dish; season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge each cutlet in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip in the egg mixture, then in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing to coat both sides.

Arrange the cutlets in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, 1 hour. (This will help the coating stick to the meat.)

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry the cutlets until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes per side, sprinkling with the parsley during the last minute of cooking. Remove to a rack or paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season with salt.

Sandwich the schnitzel on the pretzel rolls (you might need to cut the bigger pieces of meat). Top with pickles, red onion, lettuce and/or mustard.

Tip of the week: What to do with leftover sweet roll frosting?  Add more pumpkin spice to it, and use it to stuff your french toast.  Great way to start the day.