Cuisine of Germany

One could say that the most significant of all German foodstuffs is bread, which traditionally comes in all shapes and sizes: based on different grains (wheat or rye, mixed with oats, spelt, buckwheat, different seeds, etc.), strong or finely ground flours, ways of fermentation (whether using yeast or sourdough), seasoned with nuts, spices and fruits and so on and so forth. For many breakfast without fresh rolls isn’t a proper breakfast .

Right next to bread stand potatoes, probably most widely consumed staple in many varieties. Though readymade potato products ranging from crisps to dried mashed potatoes are widespread, “Germans still see themselves as potato eaters and distinguish between fest, halbfest and mehlig kochend (waxy, semiwaxy and floury) varieties. ” Of all the soups eaten in Germany potato soup is most loved and perhaps most German of all soups .

Dairy farming is heavily industrialized and milk, butter and especially cheese are extremely popular and considered healthy food important for infants and children . Quark, smooth and homogenous cottage-like cheese plays an important role in the daily diet.

Vegetables in general accompany meat or are made into salads or soups. “The proverbial Germanic preference for cabbage reaches back at least to the Middle Ages. Round white and red cabbages are traditional standard fare all over Germany during autumn and winter. Sauerkraut is found throughout Germany. ” As well as cabbage, roots such as beets and turnips as well as French beans are very popular. Legumes, on the other hand, are considered hard to digest and time consuming to prepare and have never been as liked in Germany as in for instance in Slovenia. Asparagus, however, is a different story, being a national passion as it is cultivated in all the states, especially white variety. Spices and herbs are used sparingly in comparison to other countries, most common being parsley, chives, dill, horseradish, pepper, caraway, mustard.

Nowadays Turkish minority is the most noticeable one in Germany and its culture has influenced German and European cuisine. Döner kebab a roasted meat sandwich is probably the most well-known Turkish dish throughout Germany.

Kartoffelsuppe Potato soup

  • 4 large floury potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 onion or ¼ cabbage head and 1 tsp asafoetida chopped
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 1 celeriac diced
  • 2 tbsp butter or 1 tbsp refined coconut oil and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Vegetable stock or water
  • Salt
  • White pepper
  • 1 dcl heavy cream or vegan alternative (optional)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 4 sliced vegan frankfurters (optional)

Sauté onion or cabbage with fat and a pinch of salt until translucent then add the carrot and celeriac. After a few minutes add potatoes, marjoram and pour over vegetable stock or water so it covers the vegetables. Optionally you can cook half of the potatoes separately and add them at the end. Season and cook covered until vegetables are completely cooked (for around 15 minutes). Add nutmeg and adjust the seasoning. At this stage add the heavy cream and if desired blend the soup with immersion blender, but still leaving some texture. At the end garnish with parsley and serve with whole wheat or rye bread and sliced frankfurters.

Seitan schnitzel with Kartoffelsalat – Seitan steak with potato salad

  • Seitan:
  • 1 kg all-purpose flour
  • Water
  • 2 l Vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 2 heaped tbsp. paprika
  • 4 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour diluted in 2-3 tbsp water
  • Breadcrumbs for coating
  • Flour for coating
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Potato salad:
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 ½ dcl vinegar
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • Salt pepper to taste
  • 1 medium onion sliced (optional) or 2 tsp asafoetida
  • Coconut bacon:
  • 100 g coconut flakes
  • 3 tbsp tamari soy sauce (preferably low sodium)
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or asafoetida
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp yeast extract
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

Seitan: Here is the recipe for seitan from scratch, however, you can use premade store bought seitan and skip this process. The flavour and texture of homemade seitan if far superior though. First make the dough from 1 kg of all-purpose flour. The dough should be smooth and soft. Let it rest covered for 30 minutes. Next you have to wash out the starch from the dough by covering it in cold water and kneading it. The water will turn white and that is a sign that starch is being extracted. Change the water and repeat the process until there are no white spots left and only a ball of gluten remains. This make take up to 20 minutes. Rinse well and form into a log using plastic wrap. Cook in plastic in boiling water for 15 minutes. Take the seitan out of the pot and remove the plastic wrap. Put the seitan in simmering vegetable stock along with the remaining spices and salt. Cook on low heat for at least 45 minutes turning once. The seitan will expand considerably. Let it cool in cooking liquid preferably overnight. Store in cooking liquid in the fridge. The flavour intensifies over time.

To make the steaks slice the seitan in desired thickness (1cm is best) and coat first in seasoned flour then in a chickpea and water mixture and lastly in breadcrumbs. Shallow fry on medium heat until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

Coconut bacon:
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the coconut flakes and arrange them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 160°C over for 20 minutes or until crispy.

Potato salad:
Cook the potatoes in skins in salted water until fork tender.

Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl so that the sugar and salt dissolve. When the potatoes are done peel the while still hot, dice and add to the vinaigrette. Toss to coat. Before serving add the desired amount of coconut bacon. Good warm or cold.

Döner kebab

  • For the ‘meat’
  • Seitan made from 1kg of flour (see recipe above)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp yeast extract
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp asafoetida or garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 jar of vegan mayo (see the Belgian fries recipe)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp yogurt or soy yogurt
  • Vegetables of your choice (tomato, lettuce, finely sliced cabbage,
    cucumber, onions)
  • Sandwich buns

Finely slice the seitan and marinate in seasonings for at least an hour. Fry in a non-stick pan with oil until golden. Meanwhile prepare the sauce by mixing in the additional spices and yogurt with the mayo. Toast the sandwich buns. When everything is ready assemble the döner. First a spoon of the sauce followed with the ‘meat’ and a touch of sauce. Lay over the veggies and pour over more sauce. Serve while seitan is still hot.

Soft Pretzels

  • 650 g all-purpose flour
  • 3 ½ dcl lukewarm water for the dough
  • 1 package active dry yeast or 15 g fresh yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 50g melted butter or refined coconut oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 85g baking soda
  • 2 ½ l water
  • 3 tbsp of milk of your choice for milk wash
  • Coarse salt for sprinkling
  • Oil for the baking tray

Dissolve sugar and yeast in a bowl and let it sit until it becomes foamy. Add the sifted flour, salt and fat. Bring together in a dough and kneed for 10 minutes by hand or in a mixer for 5 minutes using dough hook attachment. Let it sit in a warm place covered for approx. 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 230°C and bring water with baking soda to boil in a pot. Divide the dough into 8 equal balls and roll them into ropes. Holding both ends make an U-shape then twist and press on the bottom of the U. Place them on a tray lined with parchment. Next blanch the pretzels in boiling water and baking soda solution one by one for 30 seconds each. Place them on an oiled baking tray, give them a milk wash, sprinkle some coarse salt and bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until dark golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool slightly before serving.

Rote Grütze – red berry pudding

  • 500g mixed red berries (traditionally red currants and raspberries
    are most popular)
  • 60g of sugar or to taste
  • 400 ml water
  • 60g corn starch
  • Vanilla custard (ice cream) or whipped cream or both to serve

Bring the fruit, sugar and water to boil. Then whisk in corn starch dissolved in a few tablespoons of water. Bring to simmer on low heat and remove from heat when it thickens. Serve either hot or cold with vanilla custard, vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.