The ten most typical dishes of German cuisine
Much more than sausages to savor German gastronomy
German gastronomy or, as it is more popular to call it, German, is full of clichés. Sausages, pretzels with huge beer mugs, lots of meat and the ever-present potatoes... but really, this kitchen hides real treasures. Discover the dishes that are actually cooked in typical German taverns and in private homes.
Brezel or pretzel
Pretzels are one of the emblems of German cuisine and they are still very popular there. If you ever go to a Biergarten (literally beer garden, a kind of totally open-air beer garden) it is the obligatory tapa for your beer.
Its dough and flavor is very similar to Bavarian rolls, also called Laugenbrot and, of course, more practical for filling with cheese or sausage. So, if you like Brezels, you know the bun you have to try.
Its ingredients vary depending on the federal state and the baker, but generally they all have wheat flour, malt, salt, water, butter and baker's yeast. Some bakers also add milk or cream.
Before baking, the pretzel is soaked in a sodium hydroxide solution. That gives it the typical brown coloration. And, also, before putting the pretzels in the oven, they are sprinkled with coarse salt.
So you can imagine that it is a very salty food, also similar to another typical snack of German gastronomy, the Salzstangen, which means "sticks of salt". Not recommended for hypertensives, but great for replenishing minerals after playing sports and sweating.
Depending on the region of Germany you go to, they will cook the potatoes in one way or another and the sauce is also different. The most widespread version is the typical one from the north and west of Germany, that is, with potatoes, German gherkins, mayonnaise and, frequently, the mayonnaise is lightened with a little vinegar from the gherkins and their spices (dill, mustard, etc. ).
In southern Germany, that is, in Bavaria and surrounding regions, cut potatoes are usually mixed with meat broth, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and mustard. Sometimes chopped onions, fried bacon bits, garlic, or cucumber are added. The marinade is usually poured over the potatoes while they are still hot. The salad can be eaten hot or cold.
Did you know that it is possible that the origin of the hamburger can be found in the emigrants from Hamburg to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century? Be that as it may, the frikadellen have a certain resemblance to them. Of course, those with the authentic recipe, made at home in the slow food style, are much tastier and healthier.
Frikadellen are also called buletten in Austria and kotlety mielone in Poland, although their origin seems to be in Danish cuisine. They consist of a flat fried meatball of minced meat (usually a mixture of beef and pork), prepared and shaped in different ways, generally round in shape.
Minced meat is mixed with egg and chopped onions. Pieces of day-old bread soaked in water or milk are used, which are squeezed and also mixed with the meat. There are regional variants in which cottage cheese is used, the egg is dispensed with or even water-soaked oat flakes are used as a binder.
Salt and spices such as pepper, parsley, marjoram, and sometimes nutmeg are also added. Some even add garlic and mustard or caraway seeds. As is often the case with these dishes with so much history, each region and even each family has its preparation "secrets".
Finally, balls smaller than the palm of the hand are formed and fried in hot fat. In Austria and Denmark, it is customary to coat the balls in breadcrumbs before frying. Frikadellen are often served as an appetizer, accompanied by mustard and bread rolls, although they can also be served as a side dish. Do they really not remind you of hamburgers?See also:Healthy Fast Foods: What's the Best Option?
The Italians have the pizza; the French, the crêpes; on the Mediterranean coast we have cocas... and the Germans have flammkuchen (literally, "flame cake"). It is a specialty of Alsace, but it is widespread throughout Germany.
The base of the Flammkuchen is a very thinly rolled bread dough. The traditional dressing consists of raw onions, bacon and a sour cream, which is only lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. All this is baked in the oven over high heat for a short period of time. It used to be cooked in a wood oven before bread, to take advantage of the first strong heat. Its name comes from the fact that the flames of the oven had not yet completely extinguished when it was introduced.
5. Knuckle with sauerkraut
Called in German Eisbein mit Sauerkraut, it is a cult in Berlin, a tradition in Munich, although not as appreciated in northern Germany. You can't say for sure where exactly the pork knuckle comes from. Typically German? Not at all: according to legend, it was used as a patty in Norway before people came up with the idea of curing it, cooking it, serving it with sauerkraut and spreading this middle-class dish all over Germany from the north of the country.
There are many regional differences in the preparation, but what everyone does agree on is its garnish: sauerkraut.
If we have said that the flammkuchen was a "German pizza", we could say that the Schnitzel is the closest thing to an escalope. They consist of thin pieces of boneless meat that are usually flattened with a meat tenderizer (griddle) or pressed with a meat roller, making the meat more tender by breaking down muscle fibers. In Switzerland, the Schnitzel is also called Plätzli. The Jägerschnitzel consists of a Schnitzel with mushroom sauce.
The Viennese Schnitzel is a popular dish made with veal and traditionally accompanied by potato or potato salad with parsley and butter, and garnished with a slice of lemon. In Austria and Germany, the Viennese Schnitzel has a protected geographical indication and must be made from veal.
There are many different ones. Bratwurst are simply "fried sausages". But if they are Currywurst they are fried or grilled white sausages, served open with ketchup and curry. The Thüringer Bratwurst are the favorite for many Germans and once made they are similar to sausages. Fried sausages are often served with pommes, which are French fries.
Nürnberger Wurst are small, but have an intensely spicy flavor, which is why they are often served with sauerkraut to mellow it out. Wiener Würstchen are boiled sausages, but nothing to do with those in Spanish supermarkets. They are big, thick and their skin is very crunchy.
Klöße or Knödel
They are balls of dough made mainly of potato, some flour, egg white and butter. They can be eaten as a garnish or in soup. There are also stuffed with crusty bread, onion or pieces of bacon.
Or, for German speakers to understand, Apfelstrudel. Actually, the Strudel (from the German "swirl") is a dough similar to puff pastry that can be filled with savory or sweet foods. But, without a doubt, the most widespread in German territory (and, in modern times, beyond) is the apple strudel. The filling for apple strudel typically consists of foliate-cut sweet and sour apples, sultanas, and breadcrumbs toasted in butter, ground cinnamon, and granulated sugar.
The apple strudel is served fresh and crisp, although it can also be eaten cold or reheated. Apple strudel is often served with vanilla sauce (a kind of custard, but with more milk) or with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Apparently, the origin of the strudel dough is Arabia and it came to Turkey via Egypt. It then incorporated characteristics of the baklava after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, and came to Vienna via the Balkans. And then we say that our dishes have history!
Black Forest Cake
Its name already tells you its origin. It comes from German Switzerland, which shares with Germany the great forest called Selva Negra. This creamy, chocolate and strong cherry flavored cake did not reach Germany until the 1930s, but today it is the most popular German cake, a favorite of many Germans and it is world famous. If you try it, you will understand this furor.
The key ingredients of this cake are layers of kirsch-flavored sponge cake, a cherry-flavored filling, cream, cherries, and chocolate shavings as decoration. It is an authentic explosion of textures and flavors!See also:Nutritional Yeast: What It Is and How To Use It
Doesn't it make you want to try these German gastronomy dishes? We hope that one day you will be able to make it there, but in the meantime, have fun preparing their recipes.