Sunday, August 30, 2015

German Brötchen

The classic German Brötchen
The crusty German yeast roll known as "Brötchen" (“little bread”) is as pleasingly moist and chewy on the inside, as it is satisfyingly firm and crunchy on the outside.  

Bakers all over Germany bake them early in the morning, but also throughout the day because they are popular for lunch or dinner. T
he rolls are best when enjoyed within a few hours of baking, especially when topped with butter or cheese, a spread like liverwurst or  teawurst, salami, ham, or cold cuts, bratwurst, and even fish, either marinated or smoked, 

Dipping pieces of Brötchen into the yolk of a soft-cooked egg is always a delight.  Sweet toppings also rank high on the popularity scale.  Try honey, fruit preserves, sugar beet syrup (Zuckerrübensirup), or a chocolate-hazelnut spread.

And a Fleischsalat (hearty meat salad) can turn a lowly roll into a satisfying meal.  And we’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention the guilty pleasure of slicing open a fresh Brötchen and sandwiching a sweet, fluffy, chocolate-covered “Schaumkuß” between the two halves.

Good News!!  You can get authentic German Brötchen here in the USA at They are imported from Germany where they've been partially-baked (par-baked) and are ready for you to finish baking in your oven. 

Brötchen (brotchen, broetchen), depending on the region, may also be referred to by one or more of these names: Schnittbrötchen, Spitzbrötchen, Semmeln, Schrippen, Weggla, Weckerl, Weckle, Wecken, or Rundstücke. 

The traditional Brötchen is made primarily from wheat flour, yeast, salt, and water and is shaped into an oval.  However, more modern variations often include the addition of other flour types like rye.  Sometimes milk fats, butter, or oils are added.  The shape of a roll might vary, as well, and the roll might be be covered with seeds or nuts.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The German Fruit Tart (Obstkuchen or Obst Tortenboden)

Summer time in Germany is celebrated to its fullest in the local market square.  Every city, town, or tiny hamlet has at least one market square with booth after booth displaying a bounty of seasonal fruits and berries.  Local farmers pick berries fruits only when fully ripe and aromatic.

It's almost impossible to walk past a harvest of perfect strawberries, peaches, plums, red currents, and other seasonal berries and fruits without filling up at least one shopping bag to overflowing.  Fresh fruit juices running down your chin, perhaps even before you get your purchases back to your kitchen or hotel room, is its own reward.  However, there are other ways of enjoying Mother Nature's answer to sweets made in a factory.

Some Germans preserve "can" fruits in glass jars to enjoy during the cold-weather months. Others begin layering fruits in sugar and rum to make a traditional Rumtopf.  Watch for my upcoming blog about Rumtopf  culture.  And let's not forget that summer is our opportunity to create thick, sweet fruit jams.  But the best berries and fruits are often selected for a higher purpose...

A Fresh Fruit Tart (Obstkuchen or Obst Tortenboden) is not to be missed.  One or more fruit varieties are strategically placed or joyfully heaped onto a delicious sponge cake.  Your personality and temperament determines if you are a precise "placer" or if you pile it all on with great abandon. Either way, it's all held together with a gelatine glaze. All over Germany, amateur and professional bakers alike create visually-appealing, edible masterpieces.

But it doesn't have to end there.  "Aber bitte mit Sahne" is a common request in Germany, loosely translated as "But, with whipped cream, please.".  Indulging in a dollop of sweetened, whipped cream is not a requirement, but it certainly is a compliment to a wonderful plate of summer's sweetest and juiciest gifts. So, grab a fork and enjoy!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

COOL FOR SUMMER: Fleischsalat & Wurstsalat

Here are two delicious German salad recipes that are easy on your budget, a breeze to make, and won't heat up your kitchen on a hot summer day.  Both are so tasty that you'll make them all year long.

Wurstsalat Recipe 
(3 to 4 servings)

■ 1 pound (two cups or more) leftover cold cuts chunks (Ring Bologna, Fleischkaese, Jagdwurst, Schinkenwurst, etc.) but almost any leftover meat, including beef steak, could be turned into a delicious cold salad.
■ 1 cup firm Cheese (like Swiss)
■ 1 cup yellow or white Onions, medium-thin slices
■ 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
■ 1/2 cup Radishes, thinly sliced
■ 1 cup Pickles (preferably German pickles) cut into strips
■ 1/4 cup fresh Parsley, finely chopped
■ 1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar
■ 1/2 cup Oil (like Canola, Sunflower, Corn, Pumkin-seed, or Olive Oil)
■ 1/2 Tsp Pepper (adjust to taste)
■ 1/2 Tsp Salt (adjust to taste)
■ 1 Tbl Spicy Mustard

Slice the Meat, and Cheese into Julienne strips (or slices, or cubes) and then add all the other ingredients and toss.  Keep salad chilled until ready to serve.

Fleischsalat Recipe (3 to 4 servings)

■ 1 pound (two cups or more) leftover cold cuts chunks (Ring Bologna, Fleischkaese, Jadgtwurst, Schinkenwurst, etc.)
■ 1 cup firm Cheese (like Swiss) diced or cut into strips
■ 1 cup yellow or white Onions, diced or medium-thin slices
■ 1 cup Pickles (preferably German pickles) diced or cut into strips
■ 1/4 cup fresh Parsley, finely chopped
■ 1/3 cup Mayonaise
■ 1 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
■ 1/2 Tsp Pepper (adjust to taste)
■ 1/2 Tsp Salt (adjust to taste)

Dice the Meat into cubes or cut it into strips and then add all the other ingredients and toss.  Keep salad chilled until ready to serve.  This salad is great on top of a hearty rye bread or a crusty roll.

Watch the video of Chef Uwe preparing these recipes:

Fleischsalat & Wurstsalat

Monday, March 23, 2015

Schnitzel - a timeless favorite!

Crispy, delicious Wiener-Schnitzel

Almost every country in the world features at least one dish made from a boneless, breaded, & fried cutlet of meat.  Meats like veal, pork, beef, chicken, turkey, venison are perfect candidates.

In general, the cutlet is pounded until nice and flat, then dredged in flour, egg wash, and breadcrumbs, and fried until golden brown and crispy.

The name of the dish can vary in each country, but in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland when you see "Schnitzel" on the menu, you are almost always in for a great meal.

Click HERE to see how to prepare Classic Wiener-Schnitzel by watching Chef Uwe in this short step-by-step cooking video.  

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Valentine's German-style

Love has no language barrier.
Germans in love, like Americans in love, will go to great lengths to shower their love with signs of deep devotion and true affection.  Long-stemmed roses, reservations at an upscale restaurant, decadent chocolates, and French Champagne are as likely to be part of February 14th in Germany as they are in the USA.
"Mon Cheri" is an "adult" chocolate filled with liquor
Although you won't find great differences in how Germans in love celebrate "Valentinstag" compared to how Americans in love celebrate Valentine's Day, a few sweet edibles are much more common in Germany.
For example, Liqueur-filled chocolates, like the delectable "Mon Cheri" brand by Ferrero, are especially popular.  Marzipan, a confection made primarily with ground almonds, sugar, and egg-whites is molded and shaped into hearts or other signs of endearment.  And German street vendors, who sell large gingerbread hearts on a string for any special occasion, insure that their hearts are iced with messages of love and passion.

But no matter which side of the Atlantic you find yourself in on February 14th, we hope you enjoy the sweetness of true love.