When I started planning our November trip to Salzburg in 2016, I knew we would need to find a way to warm up in between the Christmas markets. Since we were traveling with my mom, I really wanted to find something she would enjoy doing, too. Enter the first Salzburg cooking class. With the help of Johann, we were able to learn how to make delicious apple strudel and the Salzburger nockerl dessert before tucking into a delicious goulash lunch.
The experience was so great that I booked another class in December 2018. The second class, however, taught us how to make a traditional Austrian Christmas cookie, in addition to the apple strudel. Though Johann wasn’t our instruction, we enjoyed ourselves all the same.
01/2020 Update: Added information and photos from a second Salzburg cooking class!
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Sometimes I feel like everything I share is my favorite thing we’ve done. The problem? It’s always true! If you don’t love what you experience when you travel, you should change the way you travel. After trying all the cafes and pastries in Vienna, I knew an apple strudel class would be right up our alley. My mom loves taking cooking classes with me. Tom and I love to do things, learn things, and make things. We also love interacting with people who want to share their experiences with us, which is why we book a lot of tours when we travel. In Austria, that came through the most delicious apple strudel class in Salzburg.
Apple Strudel and Salzburg Nockerl Cooking Class
Scheduling worked to our advantage because the day of our apple strudel class, Salzburg was cold and wet. Fortunately, we were staying right around the corner from the cooking school at the Goldener Hirsch.
This Salzburg cooking school is built into the side of the mountain yet feels delightfully cozy. Johann let us know that we would be his only guests for the day, so we would be receiving a private lesson! What a treat! He also offered us an upgrade to learn how to make the Salzburg Nockerl, which we happily accepted! He gave us an overview of strudel and how the dough is made before handing us our aprons.
Everyone has to participate. That might be the best part of this class.
Salzburg Apple Strudel
Learning to prepare the pastry was perhaps the most fascinating part of the lesson. Strudel dough only has 4 ingredients! I enjoy baking, and I am (pretty) good at it. Yet, I had no idea that dough could become so thin and so elastic. The most important part is making sure that the dough is the right temperature and that it has enough time to rest! I thought that we would definitely tear the dough when flipping the filling, but Johann’s techniques work like a charm. Though ours wasn’t as pretty as his, we were excited for it to bake.
The traditional Salzburg Nockerl dessert represents the three mountain peaks of the region. Using egg whites and jam, we learned to recreate it. You simply put jam on the bottom, add the whipped egg whites, and bake it. If I’m being totally honest, my Salzburg Nockerl left a lot to be desired (#aestheticfail). I don’t even know how to describe it other than a Salzburg mess. It is a very easy dessert to make, especially if you aren’t worried about #aesethetic.
While your apple strudel and Salzburg Nockerl bake, Johann serves up some delicious, homemade goulash for lunch. It hits the spot on a cold winter day, and it’s the perfect palate cleanser before you eat your sweet treats. My mom also tried some of his spirits and purchased a few to bring home for a holiday party that one of her friends was hosting! We both bought cookbooks because everything was completely delicious.
The best part though? Taking my leftover strudel back to the hotel and having strudel for breakfast. (Make this the first thing on your trip and you won’t need to spend anything on breakfast for the rest of your stay!)
Apple Strudel and Austrian Christmas Cookies Cooking Class
Two years later, I was planning our second trip to Salzburg. Since were going in December, I noticed that we could take an apple strudel class that included traditional Austrian Christmas cookies. SOLD. Once again, we were greeted warmly and assigned aprons. (It snowed overnight, so we were really glad to have an indoor activity planned!) A couple from Canada joined our party of three and suddenly we found ourselves in a bit of a competition for who could create the prettiest strudel. We each had our own table, but the friendly banter back and forth was quite enjoyable.
Making Vanillekipferl (Austrian Christmas Cookies)
Once our strudels were baking, we were shown how to make the dough for vaniellekipferl, a traditional Austrian Christmas cookie. These vanilla almond cookies have a delicate flavor and are very easy to make. Similar to the strudel, the dough has to rest for a bit. We learned how to make the dough and used some previously-made dough to roll out our own cookies. Perhaps the most surprising thing I learned was that the vanillekipferl have their own pan! So, noot only do you roll out and shape the cookies, but they have to fit into a specialty pan for baking.
Once the cookies were popped into the oven, we settled in for a bit of goulash and conversation. With the cold, snowy weather, the goulash was the perfect way to warm up before heading back outside. Our Canadian friends won the prettiest strudel competition, and we all headed out with a package of vanillekipferl AND strudel for breakfast.
Additional Salzburg Cooking Class Ideas
Not to worry, I’ve already figured out what cooking class we will be taking if we are in Salzburg in the fall. There’s a third cooking class that teaches you how to make dumplings, pretzels, and strudel… before heading to a classical music concert. I’m sure it will be absolutely delicious. (Fresh pretzels? Yes, please.)
All that said, if you are looking for an apple strudel class, Salzburg is the best place to take one. I’ve seen a few apple strudel demonstrations in Vienna (including one at Schonbrunn Palace!), but these are a few of the hands-on cooking classes in Salzburg that I’ve found. It’s really hard to find a cooking class in Salzburg that is taught in English. Sadly, I don’t speak enough German to get through a cooking class (or much of anything else, to be quite honest).
If you’re looking for more things to do in Salzburg, make sure to check out the other Salzburg posts on my blog!