Hans Röckenwagner Recipes

Posted on Aug 1, 2014 07:45am

Chef Hans Röckenwagner joined the ladies in the kitchen for THE TALK Food Festival.  He made a classic German dish with a fresh California twist!  Here are all of his tasty recipes.

Recipes courtesy of Hans Röckenwagner.


spatzleSummer Spätzle with Heirloom Tomatoes

Makes 4 to 5 servings


Marinated Tomatoes

1 1/2 baskets of the best-quality heirloom cherry or other small tomatoes, sliced in half

1 medium shallot, finely diced

2 teaspoons good-quality sherry vinegar

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste

Small handful of basil leaves (6 to 8), hand-torn into small pieces



Marinated Tomatoes

Homemade Spätzle

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste


Place the tomatoes in a single layer in a large ceramic or glass casserole dish. Sprinkle the shallots on top of the tomatoes. Whisk together the vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl. Drizzle the dressing on top of the tomatoes and shallots, followed by salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the basil on top and allow the tomatoes to marinate, uncovered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. (Do not refrigerate the tomatoes.)

When ready to serve, toss the hot spätzle with the marinated tomatoes along with any accumulated juices. Sprinkle the parmesan on top and season the spätzle with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.


Makes 4 servings


2 cups flour

1½ teaspoons course sea or kosher salt, divided, more to taste

Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

6 large eggs

½ cup whole milk

4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, divided

2 tablespoons chopped parsley, basil, or mixed fresh herbs

Freshly ground pepper, to taste


In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ½ teaspoon salt and nutmeg.  Make a well in center of the flour, break eggs into the middle, and add about half of the milk.  Use a fork or wooden spoon to incorporate eggs by beating in a circular motion.  Gradually incorporate flour toward center with egg first, then flour toward the outer edges, as you would making pasta. As batter becomes dry, add remaining half of milk, continuing to beat in the same motion.  The mixture should look like thick pancake batter and have few lumps.  Let dough rest for 10 minutes while you bring water to a boil.

Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice.  Fill a large pot halfway with water, add remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil. Snugly wrap a kitchen towel around one handle of the pot, being careful that towel is not close to flame.

Just before cooking, beat dough with a fork or spoon a few times to aerate.  Scoop out about 1/3 of dough with a ladle or measuring cup and place on the end of the spätzle board or medium cutting board.  Loosely shape dough into a long rectangle about 4-inches wide.  Rest cutting board on kitchen towel over boiling water.  Use a spätzle scraper, pastry scraper or blunt knife to quickly scrape thin ribbons of dough off the board and into the water.  Shake scraper or knife above water if necessary to “flick” off dough.  (Don’t shave dough pieces too large or spätzle will fall apart as it boils).  If batter spreads out to edges of cutting board, use the scraper to guide it back toward the center.

By the time you finish scraping dough (30 to 45 seconds), spätzle should have risen to the top of the water.  With a long-handed skimmer, immediately transfer spätzle to ice bath.  Bring water in pot back to a boil and repeat with remaining batter.  Strain spätzle from ice bath, gently shake to remove excess water, and transfer to a food storage container for up to 2 days.

When ready to serve, heat a large, preferably nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 2 tablespoons butter, heat until foam beings to subside and add half of spätzle.  Sauté until beginning to turn golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes.  Carefully flip and brown on the opposite side another 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a serving bowl and repeat with remaining butter and spätzle.  Toss with parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.


Makes 8 pretzels



1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) lukewarm water

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active-dry yeast

3 1/2 cups (17 1/2 ounces) bread flour, divided, more for dusting

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (2 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature


Lye wash

2 tablespoons food grade lye

Coarse pretzel, sea, or kosher salt, for sprinkling


In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, stir together warm (but not hot) water, yeast, and 1/2 cup bread flour. If yeast does not begin to bubble after 5 minutes, discard and begin again with new yeast. Add remaining 3 cups flour and salt, and mix on low speed until well combined, scraping down bowl as needed. Continue to knead for 5 minutes and scrape dough off hook. Dough will be very sticky. Allow to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add softened butter (if butter is firm, warm slightly to soften) and continue to knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 more minutes.

Lightly flour a medium bowl and add dough. Quickly run a kitchen towel under water, wring tightly to remove excess water, and place over bowl. Allow dough to rise for 1 hour, or until about doubled. 

Lightly dust a work surface with flour and place a small bowl of water nearby. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces and roughly form each into a ball.

Dip you hands in water, shake off the excess, and roll and stretch 1 ball of dough into a rope roughly 14 to 16 inches long. Set aside to rest and repeat with remaining dough. If you run out of room on your work surface, transfer ropes to a lightly floured baking sheet.

Extend first rope to 20 to 24-inches and taper both ends so rope is significantly wider in the middle and gradually thins (length doesn’t need to be precise nor rope perfectly uniform in width). Form rope into a U-shape, lightly moistening hands if necessary, and cross approximately at the middle into an X-shape. Twist one full time so you can bring both ends down to bottom of the pretzel. Gently press ends into bottom piece of dough to lightly adhere.

Transfer pretzels to a large, lightly floured baking sheet and use your hands to expand the 3 “windows” of each pretzel so slightly expanded. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.


Lye Wash

Preheat oven to 400°. Place racks in top and bottom third of oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Fill a large glass or ceramic bowl with 1 quart of lukewarm water (do not use a metal bowl or add lye to a dry bowl; see sidebar). Wearing thick rubber kitchen gloves, safety or swim goggles, and a long-sleeved shirt, add lye, and stir well with a long-handled spoon or spatula. Continue to stir occasionally until beads have all dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes. 

Use a sharp blade or knife to make a 2-inch horizontal slash at bottom of pretzels. With your kitchen gloves or a long-handled skimmer (tongs will tear dough), completely submerge each pretzel, one-by-one, in solution for 10 to 15 seconds. Press top of pretzel down gently with your gloves or a small plastic cutting board. Divide pretzels among both baking sheets, 2 to 3 inches apart, and sprinkle with salt or sesame seeds. Set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes to slightly rise.

Bake pretzels until surface is shiny and dark brown, about 22 to 25 minutes. Rotate pans top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking time. Cool pretzels for 10 minutes on baking sheets, peel from parchment, and enjoy warm. Allow remaining pretzels to cool completely on baking sheets. Serve the same day, or freeze for up to 2 months. 


Sidebar: Food grade sodium hydroxide

Commonly known as lye, food grade sodium hydroxide is an alkali similar to baking soda that gives an authentic pretzel the telltale dark crust. Lye reacts with some metals, so always line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Do not use a metal bowl or add lye to a dry bowl when mixing it with water.

Be sure to wear goggles, thick rubber kitchen gloves, and a long sleeved-shirt to prevent burns. If you don’t have professional goggles, swim goggles also work well to protect your eyes.




-1 pineapple quartered then sliced. 

-Drizzle with molasses to taste.

-Sprinkle lime zest on top. 

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