German Cheese and Beer spread "Obatzda"

Hello Oktoberfest! Known in German as Obatzda, this is a cheese spread or dip that's perfect for spreading on bread or pretzels, or dipping with carrots, capsicum/bell peppers, celery, cucumber or crackers.

Of all the cuisines that do bread well, Germany is right at the top - I mean, who doesn't love a fresh pretzel!? Obatzda is the perfect accompaniment to enjoy next time you're having a pretzel or as part of an entertaining platter.

Originating from Germany's largest state - Bavaria - Obatzda is enjoyed throughout Oktoberfest and in biergardens throughout Germany. It's super simple to make and comes together in about 5 minutes.

Read on to learn how to make and enjoy Obatzda...

Obatzda ingredients

  • Camembert - use which ever variety you prefer. Brie is a suitable substitute.
  • Cream cheese - traditionally, quark would be used, but it's hard to find outside of Germany. If you're able to source it, use it in place of the cream cheese for authenticity.
  • Butter - at room temperature, and preferably unsalted.
  • Onion and chives. Save a little chives for garnishing.
  • Flavourings include paprika (try smoked if you want!) and caraway seeds.
  • Beer, preferably German. You don't need much, it's used to get the dip to the correct consistency.
  • As always, salt and pepper to taste.

How to make Obatzda

  1. Mise en place - dice the camembert, finely dice the onion and finely slice the chives. Use a pestle and mortar to grind the caraway seeds (2 & 3), or run a knife through them if you don't have one.

  2. Mix ingredients - add the camembert, cream cheese, butter, onion, chives, paprika, and caraway seeds to a bowl (1). Mix well to combine (2).

  3. Add beer and season - slowly add the beer, stirring as you go, until you reach your desired consistency; for a spread, have it thicker, for a dip, have it thinner. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

  4. Serve - where possible, allow for the dip to sit for half an hour or so for the flavours to meld. Serve at room temperature topped with thinly sliced radishes or onions, and a little chives.

Tips

  • Bringing the cheese to room temperature before making Obatzda will make it much easier to combine ingredients.
  • Add the beer (or other liquid) slowly and stir while you do this to achieve your desired texture.
  • If you have the time, let the Obatzda rest for an hour after you make it to give the flavours a chance to meld.

What to serve with Obatzda

Obatzda pairs perfectly with freshly made pretzels or spread on some fresh bread. Typically, it's garnished with fresh chives and either some radish rings or thinly sliced onion.

Serve it as part of a larger German spread, with food such as:

  • Bratwurst or currywurst sausages.
  • Schweinshaxe - German roasted knuckle.
  • Leberk√§se - German meatloaf.
  • Rotkohl - Sweet and sour German braised cabbage.
  • Goulash - a slow cooked beef stew.

Or, serve it as part of an entertaining spread, along with

  • Other cheeses.
  • A variety of crackers and dipping vegetables like celery, carrot, capsicum/bell pepper and cucumber.
  • Fresh fruits - grapes, apple, strawberries, etc.
  • Cold cuts like salami and prosciutto.

Being biergarden food, enjoy this with a German beer if you drink.

Can I substitute the cheese in Obatzda?

Camembert is the cheese that is most commonly used in Obatzda. You can use a brie in place of the camembert.

I've chosen to use cream cheese in my recipe because it's widely available, but In Germany quark would traditionally be used in place of the cream cheese. If you're able to source quark, use that. Note that the texture is different between quark and cream cheese, so you will need less beer.

How do I achieve the right consistency for Obatzda?

I like to make my Obatzda as more of a dip so that vegetables or pretzels can be dipped into it. In Germany, it is eaten as both a spread and a dip, so gradually add the beer until you get your desired consistency.

Alternatives for beer in Obatzda?

If you don't want to use alcohol in your Obatzda, there are some alternatives:

  • Non-alcoholic beer.
  • Milk or cream.
  • Apple juice with a little white wine vinegar.

Making ahead and freezing Obatzda

Obatzda can easily be made ahead of time - just take it out of the fridge half an hour or so before you serve it so it can come to room temperature. When the cheese comes to room temperature, it will have a looser consistency.

Due to the presence of dairy in the Obatzda, it's unsuitable for freezing.

Obatzda will store in the fridge for 3-4 days providing it is not kept out of the fridge for long periods of time. If you're only planning on eating a little, remove the amount you need and place the remainder in the fridge.

German Cheese and Beer spread "Obatzda"

5 from 1 votes
Prep Total
5 mins 5 mins
Serves
Obatzda is a cheesy Bavarian biergarden and Oktoberfest beer dip and spread that pairs perfectly with freshly baked pretzels, continental breads and with vegetables or crackers for dipping.
  • 250g camembert, diced substitute with brie if required
  • 120g (1/2 cup) cream cheese use quark if you can source it, see note 1
  • 60g (1/4 cup) butter, at room temperature preferably unsalted
  • 2 tbsp onion, finely diced about 1/2 of a small onion, add more to taste if desired
  • 2 tbsp chives, finely sliced plus a little extra to garnish
  • 2 tsp paprika use smoked if you prefer, but add slowly as it can overpower
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle or use caraway powder, see note 2
  • 2-4 tbsp beer preferably a German beer, see note 3
  • Salt and pepper to taste
To garnish
  • Thinly sliced radish or onions
  • Chives
  • A little paprika powder
To serve
  • Pretzels
  • Crackers
  • Sliced vegetables like carrots, cucumber and capsicum/bell pepper
Steps
  1. Mise en place - dice the camembert, finely dice the onion and finely slice the chives. Use a pestle and mortar to grind the caraway seeds, or run a knife through them if you don't have one.
  2. Mix ingredients - add the camembert, cream cheese, butter, onion, chives, paprika, and caraway seeds to a bowl. Mix well to combine.
  3. Add beer and season - slowly add the beer, stirring as you go, until you reach your desired consistency; for a spread, have it thicker, for a dip, have it thinner. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  4. Serve - where possible, allow for the dip to sit for half an hour or so for the flavours to meld. Serve at room temperature topped with thinly sliced radishes or onions, and a little chives.
Notes
  1. Cream cheese - in Germany, quark would traditionally be used. It's very difficult to find in Australia, so I've opted to use cream cheese as it is widely available.
  2. Caraway seeds - ideally use seeds crush these in a pestle and mortar. Use powdered caraway if you have it, but whole spices always yield a better result. If you don't have a pestle and mortar, run your knife through the seeds to break them up.
  3. Beer - the post contains details about substituting beer and the desired consistency. Add the beer slowly and stir while doing so until you achieve a spread or dipping consistency, whatever suits your use. If you don't want to read the full post, milk or cream is probably going to be your best alternative to beer if you don't want to use it.

Hey, I'm Sam! Welcome to The Aproneer.

I created The Aproneer to share the recipes that my family and friends love to eat.

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