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Classic Wisconsin Sides

Bratwurst are typically served with either German Potato Salad, American Potato Salad, or Potato Chips, and a dill pickle.  Sometimes baked beans are also included on the plate.  We have recipes for you here.  We've also included a recipe for Semmel Rolls, which can be shaped into Sheboygan Hard Rolls or Brat Buns, as you prefer.

For more classic Wisconsin recipes, see the Wisconsin Recipe Pages.

BratwurstPages American Potato Salad
This one will have your guests beside themselves with pleasure.  People who say that they don't like hard-boiled egg in their potato salad love this salad.  The secret is to mince the eggs really fine (many folks don't like the mouth-feel of large pieces of egg-white).  The other secret is the vinegar toss, which helps prevent the oil in the mayonnaise from seeping into the potatoes.

3 pounds Idaho baking potatoes (use small ones, no bigger than 4 inches long, which will be about 15 potatoes, boiled with skins on.
4 T. minced onion
2 stalks of celery, quartered lengthwise and then sliced thin.
2 hard boiled eggs, minced fine
2 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dry mustard
2 T. cider vinegar
1 1/2 T. sugar
1 1/2 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise (Use another brand if you want, but then it is not my potato salad.  Don't blame me if your guests don't rave over it.  And while I'm at it, if you want your guests to rave over your Bloody Mary's, use Sacramento tomato juice. Like Hellmann's, it tastes different than other brands.  But I digress.)

1 T. Chopped chives
1 T. sweet paprika

Boil the potatoes with skins on, just until tender.  Chill.  After potatoes are chilled, peel, halve lengthwise, then slice.  Add minced onion, sliced celery, and hard boiled eggs.  Sprinkle with celery salt, black pepper, and dry mustard.  Mix cider vinegar and sugar, sprinkle over potatoes and lightly toss.  Add mayonnaise and lightly toss.  Put in serving bowl and sprinkle with chopped chives and paprika.

German Potato Salad
A classic accompaniment for brats; this is usually served hot, but is sometimes served at room temperature or cold.

5 pounds red potatoes, boiled until just tender with skins on
5 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3/4 pound. bacon, cut in pieces about 1/2 inch
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup reserved fat from cooked bacon
2 Tablespoons. flour
1/2 teaspoon. salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

While the potatoes are boiling, chop the celery and onions.  Over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan, add onions to fat and sauté until translucent.  To 1/3 cup fat in pan, add flour; cook and stir until just slightly browned.  Add vinegar, water, 1/2 tsp. salt, and pepper.  Cook and stir until clear and thickened.

Peel and slice potatoes while still hot.  Add the 2 tsp. salt to the hot peeled potatoes.  Add onion, celery and sauce to the potatoes and toss gently.

Semmel Rolls
In Sheboygan, if you talk brats, you'll also be talking about the Semmel; a substantial, chewy roll with a delicately crispy crust.  The Semmel is a close cousin to the Kaiser, but with a distinctive cleavage across the top.  The baked Semmel is large -- about 4 inches in diameter and rises to about 2 inches in height.  To make the single brat bun, shape the rolls like a hot dog bun before final rising and baking.  The genuine Sheboygan Semmel is baked in a brick oven.  In your home oven, your results may vary.  A baking stone helps.

  Left, Sheboygan Hard Roll.  Right, Brat Bun.

4 1/2 cups bread flour (approximate)
1 package dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups hot water (120-130 degrees)
1 teaspoon malt extract
1 egg
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon shortening
Rye flour for dusting

Measure 3 1/2 cups of flour into a mixing or mixer bowl and add the yeast, sugar, and salt.  Stir to blend well.  Pour in the warm water and malt extract.  Mix for 1 minute with a wooden spoon or mixer flat beater until a smooth but heavy batter forms.

Add the egg, egg white, and shortening.  Beat together until the mixture is smooth.  If with the electric mixer, remove the flat beater and continue with a dough hook.  Add flour -- 1/4 cup at a time -- until the dough is a solid but soft mass that can be lifted from the bowl, or left under the dough hook.

Knead the dough with a strong push-turn-fold motion for 10 minutes, adding liberal sprinkles of flour if the dough is wet.  If in the mixer, the dough will clean the sides of the bowl and form a ball around the dough hook.  If, however, it continues to cling to the sides, add sprinkles of flour.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside to double in bulk, about 1 hour.

Uncover the bowl and punch down the dough with your fingers.  Cover the bowl again and allow the dough to double in volume again, about 45 minutes.

Place the dough on a floured work surface, roll it into a 12-inch long cylinder.  With a sharp knife cut 12 pieces from the length (at every inch on the ruler).

Shape the pieces under a cupped palm into smooth rounds.  Cover and allow to relax for 5 minutes.

Flatten each roll with your hand to about 1/2 inch thick.  Dust lightly with rye flour.  With a length of wooden dowel, a round wooden spoon handle, or a pencil, press a deep vertical indentation into the top of each roll.  Press firmly and deeply, almost to the bottom (omit this procedure if shaping rolls into single-brat buns).  As each roll is shaped, place it face down on a greased baking sheet.

Cover the rolls with a length of wax or parchment paper, and leave them at room temperature to rise -- slightly less than double in size, about 40 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the oven by placing a pan under the middle shelf.  Twenty minutes before the bake period preheat the oven to 450 degrees, quite hot.  Five minutes before the rolls are to go into the oven, pour 1 cup of hot water in the pan to form steam and provide a moist environment for the rolls.  Be certain hot water is in the pan.

Uncover the rolls, carefully turn them right side up, brush them with water or spray lightly with an atomizer of water.

Place the pan on the middle shelf of the hot oven.  Three minutes later lightly spray the interior of the oven -- not directly on the rolls.

Midway through the bake period turn the sheet around so that the rolls are exposed equally to temperature variations in the oven. They are done when crispy brown all over, in about 25 minutes.

Remove the rolls from the oven.  If, after the rolls have cooled, they are not as crisp and crusty as you like, put them back into a hot oven for 10 minutes.

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This page last updated on 09/27/2003