Tag: Germany

Legendary Dishes | Bratkartoffeln mit Speck und Zwiebeln und Bratkartoffelgewürz (fried potatoes with bacon and onion and spice mixture)


Fried potatoes are intregal to the image of German traditional food, because they epitomise the relationship with the country’s indigenous products, of which bacon, onions and potatoes feature prominently. The spice mixture designed for fried potatoes adds a depth of flavour that is remarkable.

  • 1.5 kg waxy potatoes of roughly equal size, cooked whole, cut into 2 cm dice / raw, cut into 2 cm dice 
  • 300 g smoked belly pork / smoked bacon, cubed
  • 300 g onions, sliced thick
  • 75 ml rapeseed oil
  • 15 g pepper / 45 g spice mixture
  • 5 g salt (exclude if using spice mixture)

Sauté onions in two tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan, until they start to brown, remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm.

Increase heat, fry pork belly / bacon to release the fat, then add a tablespoon of oil. When the pork / bacon begins to take on some colour, remove to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Add a tablespoon of oil, fry half of the potatoes until they have taken on a crispy crust, remove and keep warm.

Pour a tablespoon of oil to the pan, add potatoes and fry until crispy. Slide first batch of potatoes into the pan, fold in the bacon and onions, season with salt and pepper or with the spice mixture and gently heat through for a couple of minutes.

INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Bacon | Onions | Pork Belly | Potatoes




Condiments | Bratkartoffelgewürz (fried potato spice mixture)

  • 15 g onion, dried, ground
  • 15 g paprika, sweet, ground
  • 15 g salt, ground
  • 5 g marjoram, dried
  • 4 g garlic, dried, ground
  • 3 g white peppercorns, ground
  • 2 g caraway seeds, whole
  • 2 g yellow mustard seeds, ground
  • 1 g fennel seeds, whole
  • 1 g nutmeg, ground

Blend and store in air-tight jars.

Legendary Dishes | Apfelsalat (apple salad)


Traditionally this salad utilised cored and peeled apples, quartered and sliced, dressed with sugar, for sweetness, and crushed walnuts, and served with cold cuts. None of that here. The vegan version is faithful to the old recipe, and adds a little lemon juice, for tartness, and hazelnuts to accompany the walnuts. The vegetarian version allows for a cream-milk sauce.

6 apples, cored, peeled, quartered and sliced
120 ml cream (optional)
120 ml milk (optional)
60 g hazelnuts, chopped small
1 lemon, juice and zest
45 g icing sugar
30 g walnuts, crushed

Combine apples with lemon juice and zest, and the sugar, stir and leave to rest for an hour in the refrigerator. Dress with nuts, and, if desired, whisk the cream into the milk. Serve sauce with the apple salad.

INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Apple | Hazelnut | Walnut




Legendary Dishes | Schwein mit Kraut (pork and cabbage)

Schwein mit Kraut pork with fermented cabbage, one of the great traditional dishes of Austria and Germany


Another rustic dish that remains popular, despite the haute cuisine make-overs that are compromising traditional dishes in the Germanic countries.

  • 1 kg pork, bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large green cabbage, shredded
  • 600 g onions, sliced
  • 250 ml water
  • 100 g butter
  • 90 ml sour cream
  • 30 ml sunflower oil
  • 15 g paprika Seasonings

In a large pot fry onions in half of the butter, about 15 minutes, sprinkle with paprika, add water, pork and seasonings. Simmer for an hour, until pork is tender. Sauté cabbage in remaining butter and oil for ten minutes, add sour cream, season, cover, reduce heat and simmer for an hour. Add cabbage to pork, stir, cover and cook for 30 minutes.




Legendary Dishes | Bratwürst mit Zwiebelsauce und Rösti (sausages with onion sauce and grated potatoes)

  • 1 kg Potatoes
  • 4 St Galler sausages / pork-veal sausages
  • 500 g Onion sauce

Zwiebelsauce GERMANY SWITZERLAND onion sauce

There is no agreed method for making onion sauce in Europe. Some cooks insist it should be aromatic and saucy, rich and strong, and have a smooth consistency, other cooks believe it can be lumpy and gooey, thick or thin, flour-based or tomato-based.

Cream Version
  • 350 ml bouillon
  • 200 g onions, sliced into rings
  • 100 g shallots, sliced
  • 100 ml red / white wine
  • 45 ml sour cream 
  • 30 g butter
  • 30 g white wheat flour
  • Black pepper, large pinch
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Sugar, large pinch
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • Lemon thyme leaves, for garnish

Pour the hot water into a bowl, add the bouillon powder and leave to soak. Combine flour and onions in a large bowl. Heat butter in a large frying pan, add the flour and onion mixture, and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. De-glaze the pan with the wine, add the bouillon and choice of herb, simmer for 15 minutes. Add cream, simmer for five minutes, season. Serve hot with grilled sausages and fried grated potatoes, garnished with lemon thyme.

Tomato Version
  • 350 ml bouillon / broth
  • 200 g onions, sliced into rings
  • 120 g tomato passata / sauce
  • 100 g shallots, sliced
  • 100 ml red / white wine 
  • 30 g butter
  • Black pepper, large pinch
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Sugar, large pinch
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • Lemon thyme leaves, for garnish

Pour the hot water into a bowl, add the bouillon powder and leave to soak. Heat butter in a large frying pan, add onions, sauté for five minutes until the onions start to brown. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes. De-glaze the pan with the wine, add the broth and choice of herb, simmer for 15 minutes. Add tomato sauce, simmer for 15 minutes, season. Serve hot with grilled sausages and fried grated potatoes, garnished with lemon thyme.

St. Galler Bratwürst SWITZERLAND pork-veal milk sausages


The butchers‘ guild of St. Gallen in 1438 noted that the country bratwürst was made with veal, belly pork, spices and fresh milk, and had a distinctive white colour. Today the St. Galler bratwürst is a white unsmoked sausage made with veal, pork, spices and milk. Why change a good thing? This unique sausage is produced in the cantons of Appenzell, St. Gallen and Thurgau with meat and milk from Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Throughout its history it has been made with and without veal, an unthinkable thought today to those who cherish a bratwürst that is now an integral aspect of Swiss festival culture. The year 2013 was the 70th anniversary of the St. Galler bratwürst at the Olma agricultural fair. More than half a million bratwürst went on the grill. Many were eaten on their own, some with the brown rolls called bürli and not a spoonful of mustard in sight. They are difficult to make in the home because the technique requires equipment that will produce a fine emulsion of the meat, milk and spices. But not impossible. St Galler sausages are sold in Switzerland in 160 g x 2 packets.

  • 370 g veal, minced
  • 260 g bacon, minced
  • 150 ml milk 
  • 100 g pork, minced
  • 25 g pork belly rind, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 15 g salt
  • 1 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1 tsp ginger, ground
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 1 tsp white pepper, ground
  • Mace, large pinch
  • Pork casings
  • Ice, crushed

Blend the celery, onions and rinds in milk until smooth, add minced meat and blend again. Adjust liquid content with some ice, add seasonings and blend again. This should produce a thick smooth paste. Pack into casings, 25mm long, and place in a large pot of boiling water. Cook for 30 minutes. The desired internal temperature of the bratwürst should be 72°C. Prepare a pot of ice cold water. Plunge bratwürst into water to cool down. Hang until dry. The St. Galler bratwürst should contain 37% veal, 26% bacon, 10% pork and 27% bulk, of which 25% must be milk, wet or dry. Mace and pepper are mandatory, but other spices can include a combination of cardamom, celery, coriander, ginger, leek, lemon, nutmeg and onion.

Zürcher Rösti SWITZERLAND Zurich pan-fried potatoes

Johann Jakob Strub brought the potato to Switzerland. A native of the canton Glarus, he was a lieutenant in the English army and according to legend returned home with a bag of seed potatoes from Ireland. Potatoes were cultivated in Glarus in 1697. They spread to the neighbouring cantons and by the middle of the 19th century prötlete herdöpfel, fried potatoes, replaced barley porridge as the preferred breakfast among farming families around the growing city of Zurich. The recipe travelled south-west into the Bernese countryside and over the mountains into the Roman canton of the Valais / Wallis, where it was called pommes de terre roties. It became the morning meal among the French-speaking farmers, who shortened the name to roties – rösti in Swiss-German. By the mid-20th century variations of the original recipe began to appear. The Roman west preferred boiled potatoes, the Germanic east used raw.

  • 1 kg urgenta potatoes, grated, squeezed, dried
  • 4 onions, sliced
  • 30 g oil
  • 15 g caraway seeds, soaked
  • Salt, large pinch

Mix onions and potatoes, and sauté in a frying pan over a medium heat for ten minutes. Place a plate on top of the frying pan, invert onto the plate. Oil pan and slide rösti back. Cook for 20 minutes.

The rösti story is told in The Great European Food Adventure.

Varieties and uses of European potatoes are discussed in the Fricot Edition pocket book Cooked, Cured and Curdled: The modern story of traditional food in Europe.


Text & Pix © Fricot Project 1998-2020



Festive Food | Roasted Almonds



Gebrannte Mandeln
roasted almonds


They are crispy and sweet, very addictive, and are probably the world’s oldest confection. They are sugared nuts, almonds in particular, which were a favourite treat with the ancient Romans. Sugared almonds were given as gifts and according to Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat they were distributed at private and public ceremonies.

Almonds and hazelnuts have been coated in a syrup made originally from honey, then from molasses and nowadays beet or cane sugar, and served as a festive treat for countless centuries.

These days it is the method that is a keen subject for debate and the amount of sugar. Once apon a time the ratio was 3:2 in favour of sugar, now it is 3:2 or 2:1 in favour of the nuts, mostly almonds, especially in central, northern and western Europe.

From Italy the idea of combining spices with sugar and coating almonds and pine kernels with the caramelised mixture caught on in France, where these confections became associated with fairs and festivals.

In the Germanic countries, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla-flavoured sugar and water are brought to the boil, almonds are added and slowly cooked in the syrup. The coated nuts are poured out onto a sheet greased with butter, separated and left to cool.

In England the nuts are roasted in the oven and then added hot to a sugar and water syrup. Because of the formation of acrylamide, a chemical identified as a possible carcinogen, during the roasting of almonds the oven temperature should be at 129°C or lower.

The Spanish largueta almond is regarded as the perfect variety for this delicious confection, because of its intense flavour.

This is the German version with reduced sugar.


200 g largueta almonds, unpeeled
50 g sugar
50 g vanilla sugar
50 ml water
5 g cinnamon
Butter, for greasing


Boil the sugars with cinnamon and water, add almonds and cook over a low heat stirring constantly until the water has been absorbed and the sugar begins to dry. Spoon the sugared almonds onto a buttered baking sheet. Separate the almonds with two forks, leave to cool.

Indigenous Ingredients | Spelt

Andrew Workman surveys one of his spelt fields in Dunany, county Louth, Ireland

Lucius Annaeus Seneca was the most distinguished of the Spanish writers of the Roman imperial age.

Born in Corduba in Andalucia to a Roman equestrian family, Seneca was brought to Rome as a child and seemed destined for a political career. Instead, he became a stoic philosopher, producing wise words that carry moral echoes down the ages to us.

Seneca grew up in a Rome that distributed welfare in the form of free grain, spelt among barley and emmer, an expedient consequence of the food riots, 60 years before he was born, in 59 BC.

An ancient hardy grass thought to be native to both Persia 8,000 years ago and south-eastern Europe 4,000 years ago, spelt was cultivated throughout the continent from the Caucasus to Scandinavia.

Three thousand years ago, river valley communities in the south of Ireland were cooking with spelt berries.

The ancient Greeks and Romans expanded its use. Roman armies lived on spelt (along with barley), making an early version of polenta.

Nearly one thousand years ago, Abbess Hildegard von Bingen of Rupertsberg wrote enthusiastically about spelt. ‘It makes people cheerful with a friendly disposition,’ she said. ‘Those who eat it have healthy flesh and good blood.’

Spelt has been making a comeback in recent decades, largely in southern Germany and in nothern Switzerland, where older varieties have been cultivated.

Known as urdinkel (old spelt), the range of flours milled from spelt are going into every type of bread and pastry, replacing wheat in many recipes.

It is also becoming increasingly popular in Ireland, where Andrew and Leonie Workman grow, mill and package spelt berries and flour from their farm in Dunany, on the coast below the ancient land of Oriel above the Boyne Valley.

Spelt, with barley, einkorn and emmer wheat, remained a staple in Europe until the 20th century, when it fell out of favour for numerous reasons, not least the problems associated with harvesting, separating and milling it into flour.

The Workmans have got round these problems with modern machinery. Now spelt is one of their biggest sellers and they have high hopes for the berries, which can be used in salads and stews, to make risotto and soaked whole to be baked in bread.

Spelt Berries

Dominick Gryson, a Louth man who has experimented with ancient grains to find strong shafts for thatching, believes the Workmans have found a great artisan product.

‘Spelt does not give the same yield as modern wheats, which do not grow well here in our climate,’ he says. ‘Spelt, on the other hand, is suited to the soil and the climate and can be sold as a high-value organic product.’

Dermot Seberry, who champions the Workmans’ produce in his book, A Culinary Journey in the North-East (of Ireland), agrees. ‘They fit in with the super food group and are a substitute for risotto rice and barley in the likes of stews and black pudding,’ he says.

‘For me, it is personal. They are low-gluten and have high nutritional content, particularly for the over-thirties, who have become hyper aware of inner health. Not a trending product but very much the next big little food!’

Spelt contains beneficial minerals, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins (B and E), and has six of the eight essential amino acids that stimulate the production of happiness hormones, just as the abbess said.

But it is the low GI (glycaemic index of carbohydrates) that makes spelt a primary health product. With 35 compared to 40 for wheat and 70 for rice, spelt releases glucose more slowly into the bloodstream, balancing out blood sugar levels.

Spelt saved the early Roman Empire but it also sustained the tribes of barbarians who brought about the fall of Rome and allowed their descendants to supplant Roman power throughout Europe.

Something that powerful is worth promoting, especially now that modern wheat has lost its allure and the wisdom of the ancients, Seneca and von Bingen among them, is finally being listened to.


Legendary Dishes | Mohrenköpf (chocolate balls)

Truffles – the new chocolate balls

Traditionally these are cylindrical dome shaped confections with a marshmallow or sponge filling, a biscuit base and chocolate coating. Artisan production is dwarfed by the commercial specialists who insist the mechanical method produces better products.

Originally a German confection with a foam filling, made with egg, flour and jam, the Swiss claimed the ‘Moor’s Head’ for their own when the Germans and French adopted a more politically correct name, and began to significantly alter the traditional recipe.

The Germans renamed them Chocolate Kisses, and began to produce a different dessert.

The French altered the recipe so much that Boule Meringuée au Chocolat is closer to the Mohrenköpf than Tête Choco, which is effectively a chocolate ball.

The Swiss remain loyal to the original recipe, convinced by the popularity of their filling – a sugary foam made with egg whites for an airy texture.

But tastes are clearly moving from the light into the dark and this is reflected in the different versions of the Mohrenköpfe.

In French-speaking Switzerland the Mohrenköpfe is a Boule Meringuée au Chocolat – a chocolate ball filled with sponge cake and lemon or vanilla cream filling, sold and eaten fresh.

But this is one chocolate confection that is gradually losing its shine, so here are a few recipes for those who like these things.

The first one is an adaptation of the Swiss Mohrenköpfe, the cream and sponge fillings replacing the foam.



  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 75 g pastry flour
  • 75 g vanilla sugar
  • 25 g cornflour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Salt, pinch

Cream Filling

  • 400 g cream, whipped
  • 1 lemon, zest

Jam Filling

  • 250 ml milk
  • 45 g apricot jam
  • 25 g sugar

Biscuit Base

  • 175 g breadcrumbs
  • 50 g flour
  • 50 g mixed nuts and seeds
  • 2 eggs
  • 20 g butter
  • Salt, pinch


  • 250 g 70% chocolate, chopped
  • 30 g butter


  • 2 bun trays with 12 moulds
  • 12 silicon moulds, same diameter at large end as bun tray moulds

Beat egg yolks, add flour, cornflour, baking soda and salt. Beat egg whites and 75 g sugar until stiff. Fold into yolk mixture. Pour batter into 12 moulds. Bake at 180°C for 15 minutes. Leave to cool on wire rack.

Form breadcrumbs, butter, egg and nuts into a soft dough. Bake in the same sized moulds as the sponges at 180°C for 20 minutes.

Leave to cool.

Boil milk, add remaining 25 g sugar. Heat jam, stir into milk-sugar mixture. Leave to cool.

Arrange the biscuits on greaseproof paper on a small tray. Spread jam-milk mixture thickly on each biscuit, top lightly with sponges.

Melt chocolate and butter in a bain-marie.

Whip cream with lemon zest.

Pour the tepid chocolate into each silicon mould, evenly coating the inside of the mould.

Refrigerate for an hour.

Place a large dollop of lemon cream inside each mould, place a biscuit-sponge sandwich on top, seal with a layer of chocolate.

Refrigerate for two hours.

Turn out of moulds.


Giant Chocolate Kiss


  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 75 g pastry flour
  • 75 g vanilla sugar
  • 25 g cornflour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Salt, pinch


  • 250 g 70% chocolate
  • 150 ml cream, whipped
  • 5 egg yolks, beaten
  • 5 egg whites, whisked


  • 250 g 70% chocolate, chopped
  • 30 g butter


  • 1 bun tray with 12 moulds
  • 12 silicon moulds, same diameter at large end as bun tray moulds

Beat egg yolks, add flour, cornflour, baking soda and salt. Beat egg whites and 75g sugar until stiff. Fold into yolk mixture. Pour batter into 12 moulds. Bake at 180°C for 15 minutes. Leave to cool on wire rack.

Melt chocolate for the mousse in a bain marie while beating the yolks. Stir into the melted chocolate after 15 minutes. Whisk the egg white, fold carefully into the chocolate mixture. Stir in the cream.


Melt chocolate and butter for the coating. When it has cooled pour the tepid chocolate into each silicon mould, evenly coating the inside of the mould.

Refrigerate for an hour.

Place a large dollop of mousse inside each mould, place a sponge on top, seal with a layer of chocolate.

Refrigerate for two hours.

Turn out of moulds.

Boule Meringuée au Chocolat

Chocolates are Evolving – this is a selection from the Early Beck shops in Switzerland


  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 120 g vanilla sugar
  • 40 g almonds, ground
  • 40 g butter, melted
  • 20 g pastry flour

Cream-Chocolate Filling

  • 200 ml Chantilly cream, whipped
  • 150 g 70% chocolate, chopped
  • 50 g butter


  • 75 g 55% chocolate, flaked
  • 50 g cocoa powder


  • 1 bun tray with 12 moulds

Mix eggs with sugar, sieve flours on top followed by a slow dribble of butter. Pour this batter into 12 buttered and floured moulds. Bake for 20 minutes in 170°C oven.

Boil cream, add 70% chocolate and whip into a soft paste with the butter.

Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Cut each sponge in two, spread a thin layer of cream on one side and cover with the second side.

Top each sandwich with cream, dot with 55% chocolate flakes and dust with cocoa powder.


Culinary Connections | Small Breads

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Through the backlit window pane of an artisan bakery, golden-brown buns are a tantilising sight, an invitation to indulge.

Generally made with high-gluten flours, a large ratio of butter or lard, fresh yeast and sugar with milk, salt, and an egg or milk glaze, the ubiquitous roll of Vienna was for many years the epitome of this type of bread.

In Aberdeen around the time that Viennoiserie was evolving in Paris, a flaky bread became popular with fishermen. Using the same technique for making croissants, the Rowie was neither crescent nor roll, and it was made with beef dripping. It was also excessively salty and is now exclusively authentic – a product of its time and not easily replicated in the domestic kitchen.

  • 500 g strong white wheat flour
  • 350 ml water, warmed to 38ºC
  • 250 g butter / lard or 50:50
  • 20 g yeast
  • 10 g salt
  • 10 g sugar

Dissolve yeast in sugar and warm water. Sieve flour and salt, add yeast water and work into a soft smooth dough. The high water ratio makes this a tough dough to work, about 20 minutes of hard kneading.

Cover the dough and leave to rise for an hour.

Degas, leave for a further hour.

Cut the fat into small cubes, divide into three portions. On a floured working surface roll the dough into a rectangle, about 40 cm x 30 cm. Place the cubes of fat from one portion on two-thirds of the rectangle. Fold the non-fat end into the middle, and then again over the final third.

Leave to rest for 15 minutes, covered.

Flour the surface, roll the dough out again with a little flour to aid the process, repeat once more.

Flour the surface with flour and roll the dough again, then divide it into 15 pieces (roughly 80 g each), shape into ovals or rectangles, arrange on greased baking trays.

Leave to rise until the doughs have risen considerably.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Place a tray of water in the bottom of the oven. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

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DDR Brötchen

Ostalgie, the nostalgic trend for the humdrum German Democratic Republic, has brought with it a yearning for the simple traditional food once served in the cafes and canteens of Berlin, Leipzig and other East German cities. These breakfast rolls were soft and salty, and were made more often than not with margarine and whey.


  • 250 g white wheat flour, t405 / t550, warmed
  • 250 ml milk, full-fat / whey, warmed to 38ºC
  • 20 g yeast

Dissolve yeast in a little of the milk or whey. In a large bowl stir remaining milk or whey into the flour with the yeast mixture. Rest overnight at room temperature.

Second Dough

  • 250 g white wheat flour, t405 / t550
  • 75 g sugar
  • 25 g butter / lard / margarine
  • 15 g salt
  • 5 g barley / wheat malt
  • Milk, for brushing

Sieve flour into a large bowl, add salt and sugar, incorporate the butter, lard or margarine, then add the pre-ferment. Knead into a soft smooth dough, about 10 minutes. Cover and leave to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Degas, leave for an hour, cut into 12 pieces (roughly 65 g each), shape into balls, arrange on baking trays. Cover.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

When they have risen, brush lightly with milk.

Place a tray of water in the bottom of the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes.


A popular bread in eastern Switzerland, bürli are eaten with St Gallen bratwürst. Generally made with prepared flour, bürlimehl (wheat flour, wheat gluten, barley malt flour and acerola powder). Artisanal hand-made handbürli are preferred to maschinenbürli, the mass produced version, but they are difficult to make.

Pre-ferment / Sourdough

  • 150 ml water
  • 75 g strong white wheat flour / white wheat flour, t550
  • 75 g white spelt flour, t630
  • 5 g yeast

Stir flours into water and yeast in a large bowl. Rest overnight at room temperature.

Final Dough

  • 300 g sourdough
  • 175 g white wheat flour, t550, warmed
  • 100 ml water / milk, warmed to 38ºC
  • 50 g rye flour, warmed
  • 50 g wholewheat flour t1050, warmed
  • 20 g yeast
  • 10 g salt
  • 5 g barley malt flour
  • Warmed water for wash

Dissolve yeast in milk or water. Work flours, malt, salt and yeast liquid into
pre-ferment to make a soft elastic dough, about 20 minutes’ hard kneading. Rest for three hours. Preheat oven to highest setting. Cut dough into 80 g pieces, shape into rolls, lightly wash with warm water, make a deep cut on the top of each roll. Place on floured baking trays. Leave to rest for an hour. Place a tray of water in the bottom of the oven. Reduce heat to 230°C, bake for 20 minutes, opening oven to allow residual vapour to escape, then bake for a further ten minutes. This will produce dark crusts on the breads. For lighter crusts reduce starting heat to 210°C and take out after 20 minutes.


This is the cinnamon bun of Finland.

  • 500 g strong white wheat flour
  • 200 ml milk, warmed to 38ºC
  • 120 g sugar + 60 g sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg
  • 60 g butter, semi-hard, cubed
  • 60 g sour cream
  • 60 g cinnamon
  • 25 g yeast
  • 15 g cardamom seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pearl sugar

Pour milk into a large bowl containing the yeast. When it froths stir in 100 g of flour to make a loose paste. Add cardamom, salt, four tablespoons of sugar and stir in the egg with remaining flour. Work in the cream. Knead for 20 minutes until the dough stretches easily without breaking.

Leave to rise for an hour, degas. Divide into two pieces. Roll dough into a rectangle sheet, about one centimetre thick.

Divide butter cubes into two portions. Place the cubes on the first sheet, and with a wide knife, spread in an even layer to the edges. Sprinkle with cinnamon andremaining sugar.

Starting at the narrow end, roll the sheet tightly, finishing with the seam underneath. Repeat with second batch.

With a sharp knife, cut the rolled dough at an angle to make triangles, 5 cm x 2 cm, for a total of twenty buns. Turn each bun with the narrow side on top. With both thumbs squeeze the bun in the middle to make it bulge.

Remove buns to baking trays layered with greaseproof paper. Leave to rise for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Glaze buns with egg wash, sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake for 12 minutes. Eat them slowly, they are a treat to be treasured.


Sugar buns? An indelicate description for these delightful breads.

  • 500 g zopf flour or 300 g strong white flour, 195 g white spelt flour, 5 g barley malt flour
  • 165 ml milk, full-fat, lukewarm
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50 g butter, softened
  • 45 g vanilla sugar
  • 1 orange, zest
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • 45 g pistachios, chopped
  • 45 g currants
  • 20 g yeast
  • Saffron powder, pinch
  • Salt, large pinch


  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 45 g pearl sugar

Dissolve yeast and saffron in half the milk. Leave to froth. Sieve flours into a large bowl with salt and sugar. Work in the butter, add remaining milk, yeast mixture and egg. Fold in the zest. Knead into a smooth dough, about 15 minutes, cover and leave to rise for an hour. Add pistachios and sultanas, knead, leave for a second hour. Degas, divide into equal pieces, around 80 g each. Place on baking trays covered with greaseproof paper, leave to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush buns with egg wash, sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake for 25 minutes.

Assorted Breakfast Breads

The Aberdeen, Berlin and Vienna breads are plain compared with the bread rolls that are now prominent in Austria and Germany, and in Switzerland.

Among the assorted breads found in a Swiss bakery are small rolls containing multi-varied ingredients.

The secret to the success of these breads are flour combinations from the millers. For example:

Halbweissmehl is a semi-white flour made with barley flour, wheat flour and wheat gluten. It is used to make enriched breads.

Zopfmehl is strong white flour with barley, spelt and wheat gluten. It is used to make plaited bread.

Bakers also make up their own combinations, mixing spelt with strong white, maize with spelt, white with rye.

The results produce specialist yeast bread rolls like these:

wheat flour - apple juice and cream
semi-white, maize flours - apricots, 
butter, milk
kopf flour - butter, milk, spices and yoghurt
white, wholewheat flours - butter, 
herbs, milk
semi-white flour - potato, walnuts
white flour - baking powder, butter, 
gruyére cheese, milk
maize, spelt flours - curd cheese / quark 
and milk (also made yeast-free, with baking soda)
semi-white flour - milk, walnuts
kopf flour - butter, honey, kirsch and milk, 
and an egg-saffron glaze

This cornucopia reflects a trend with modern traditional baking in Europe, where the simple bun made with butter and milk is being gradually replaced by breads that cater for all tastes.


Legendary Dishes | Leberkäse / Leberkäs (meatloaf)


The red colour that distinquishes leberkäse (leberkäs in southern Germany) in a German artisanal butcher shop comes from pökelsalz (nitrite salt), and the true success of a liver meatloaf are the various agents known as kutterhilfsmittel that keep it solid.

German food specialist Tim Schneider and author of My German Table describes the science.

‘The nitrogen reacts with oxygen to form nitrogen oxides. The nitrogen oxides then bind the myoglobin molecule which is responsible for the color of meat to form nitrosomyoglobin. Nitrosomyoglobin is the stable red coloring agent. Without the pökelsalz, it’s impossible to get a red colored loaf like at the butcher.’

Kutterhilfsmittel is a citrate-based chopping agent that typically contains emulsifiers. It contains sodiumdiphosphate, sodiumtriphosphate, ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate, citric acid, and dextrose. These sodium salts are known as emulsifying salts and these are the ones that are also used in American process cheese. They give a very good meltability to cheese and prevent it very effectively from separating in the oven.’

Without the kutterhilfsmittel the home cook is faced with a challenge, that is not unsurmountable, says Tim. ‘I think there’s no reason not to recommend adding an egg or emulsifying salts to leberkäse for home cooks. Especially if you want a very fine leberkäs, this eliminates the risk of overprocessing the meat paste.’

This is crucial. ‘If you don’t use kutterhilfsmittel the water separates from the loaf. Then when you bake it in the oven the meat proteins can’t hold onto the water and you end up with a dry and crumbly loaf and a water bath at the bottom of your loaf pan.’

The mixing process does require knowledge and skill, which is gained from experience. ‘If the mass has been mixed well,’ explains Tim, ‘it will be very smooth and a bit sticky. It’s easy to see if you have gone too far with mixing because the fat will separate from the water. If you’ve under mixed the mass, the final product will be crumbly and have a little chewiness. You have to look at the meat fibers to judge the mixing process. They will become very smooth. At the beginning of the mixing process, the mass is a bit rough.’

‘In the old days,’ says Tim, ‘people used phosphate-rich warm meat directly after the animal has been slaughtered to produce leberkäs. This binds much better because the natural-occurring phosphates in muscle fibers serve as an emulsifier. In stored meat, the binding capacity of the meat proteins is worse (because the phosphates get broken down within a few hours after the death of the animal). If you’re a butcher, it is possible that you can get pork meat from a pig that has been recently slaughtered, but this is no option for a home cook.’

In Bavaria the leberkäse is actually fleischkäse, a meatloaf without the liver. ‘The naming issue is very complicated,’ says Tim. ‘There was never any liver in the dish in Bavaria. In most places outside of Bavaria we say fleischkäse if we refer to the Bayerischer Leberkäse without liver. There’s a food law that allows fleischkäse to be sold under the name Bayrischer Leberkäse in Germany. Outside of Bavaria, in the rest of Germany, you can distinguish fleischkäse and leberkäse by their liver content.’

Ostheimer Leberkäse

While the good people of Baden and Bavaria argue over who makes the best leberkäse, in Ostheim vor der Rhön in north-western Bavaria their leberkäse is a terrine packed with pork. A butcher who fought during the Franco-German war of 1870-71 returned home to Ostheim determined to replicate the farmhouse terrines he had tasted in France. Using local pork he developed a recipe that is now an integral aspect of traditional Ostheimer gastronomy.

  • 200 g pork shoulder, minced
  • 150 g pork belly, minced
  • 100 g pork cheek, minced
  • 50 g pork liver, minced
  • 2 pork caul sheets
  • 10 g nitrite salt / table salt
  • 5 g nutmeg, grated
  • 1 tsp white pepper

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the meat and seasonings, wrap tightly in a sheet of caul, then again.

Place in a greased earthenware dish, bake for an hour.

Leave to cool, slice and serve with pickles and salad.

Stuttgarter Leberkäs

In Baden-Württemberg their liver cheese contains liver. If it does not contain liver it is called fleischkäse. The Stuttgart version is also more aromatic than the versions made in other areas of Germany, where rivalries over the authentic product can be comical. This recipe will produce an authentic leberkäs.

  • 300 g beef shoulder, minced
  • 300 g pork shoulder, minced
  • 300 g pork belly, minced
  • 200 g ice, crushed
  • 100 g pork liver, chopped small
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 50 g onions, chopped small
  • 20 g nitrite salt / table salt
  • 10 g white pepper, freshly ground
  • Nutmeg, grated, large pinch
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • 1 tsp allspice, ground
  • 5 g marjoram
  • Butter, for greasing

Put the meat through the grinder twice.

Combine the liver with the meat, mix in the ice, onions and seasonings, place in freezer for an hour.

Preheat oven to 150°C.

Traditionally the mixture was bound with an egg, then baked in a greased loaf tin in a low oven.

Modern versions call for the cold ingredients to be blended in a food processor to produce a smooth homogeneous mass, which should be no warmer than 12°C.

Pour into greased loaf tin, bake for 90 minutes.

Bayerischer Leberkäse

The 4000 Bavarian butchers who specialise in leberkäse cannot afford to deviate from tried and tested recipes. Attempts to introduce an ingredient they believe will improve the quality of the finished product are usually rejected. 

More often than not that ingredient is an egg, because the Bavarian leberkäse is made with an emulsion that can fall apart during baking. Butchers prevent this by freezing the meat, adding ice and keeping air bubbles out of the emulsion, so that when it bakes in a low oven it holds both its shape and texture. An egg would achieve that end. 

A Bavarian leberkäse should not be grey, it should be a pale pink with a reddish brown crust. This is achieved with nitrite salt.

The end slice, called scherzel, is coveted because it combines the crunchiness of the crust and the melt-in-the-mouth softness of the loaf. 

Leberkäse should taste delicious hot and cold. Hot it is cut into thick slices and served with potato salad or two fried eggs, and with sweet mustard. Cold it is eaten as a snack, usually with gherkins and a bread roll.

  • 600 g pork shoulder, lean, fat, sinew and tendon removed, chopped small
  • 400 g pork belly (without rind), chopped small
  • 300 g ice, crushed small
  • 125 g onion, chopped small
  • 20 g nitrite salt / table salt
  • 10 g marjoram
  • 10 g white pepper, freshly ground
  • Butter, for greasing

Freeze meat for an hour.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Blitz ice into snow, combine with meat, onion and seasonings.

Blend smooth in a food processor, pour into a greased loaf tin, pushing the mixture into the corners.

Bake at the bottom of the oven for 90 minutes.

Remove from tin and brown under the grill, about four minutes each side.

Österreich Leberkäse (Fleischkäse)

The traditional meatloaf in Austria is a throwback to the days when bread was a bulk ingredient, the egg was a binding and the stock was a liquid medium to enhance the flavour. This is Austrian coarse to German smooth.

  • 500 g beef, minced
  • 500 g pork, minced
  • 250 ml cream
  • 240 g (3) white rolls soaked in 250ml milk, squeezed
  • 125 ml meat stock
  • 125 g onions, chopped small, fried
  • 60 g bacon, chopped small
  • 1 egg
  • 30 g breadcrumbs
  • 30 ml sunflower oil
  • 15 g parsley, chopped
  • 5 g white pepper
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Butter, for greasing

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Work the minced meat into the soaked bread until the fat starts to separate.

Add the bacon, egg, fried onions, parsley and seasonings.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs around the bottom and sides of a large greased tin, add the meat mixture, pressing it into the corners. Top with oil.

After 15 minutes pour the stock over the loaf.

After 30 minutes baste the loaf with the liquid that seeps out, repeat every 15 minutes until it has been baking for 90 minutes.

Pour the liquid from the loaf tin into a saucepan, add the cream and bring to the boil. Simmer and reduce until it thickens into a sauce.

Serve sliced in the sauce.