Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bread

I have yet to scratch the surface of German food at this blog.  After I finished my tour of the flood, I found myself at the Alte Brücke, just across the river from one of the better bakeries in Frankfurt, Bäckerei HansS in the Brückenstr. 56 in Sachsenhausen.  If you are looking for a baguette that can hold its own against the ones in France, Bäckerei Hanss is the place to go.  Their croissants are good, too.  Today, I purchased a 500g "Ausgehobenes", a sourdough loaf made of rye and wheat and formed by hand.  The Ausgehobenes made by Hanss is relatively light and has a fine-pored texture.  I found reference on the web to the fact that Ausgehobenes Brot is a Northern Hessian specialty.  Presumably, Hanss uses  no more than 60% rye flour.  I've seen recipes that call for up to 80% rye flour.  Frau Bloggerboy found the taste too mild, but I found it perfect for my evening meal of ripe Camembert, Black Forest Ham, and salami.  The relatively strong flavor of the food did not require a strong bread.  The bread's moist texture -- I cut fairly thick slices -- and wonderfully crisp crust were a pleasant contrast to the spreads.

Ausgehobenes Brot from Bäckerei HansS

I'll try a darker bread next time.

High Water

As you may have heard, there is a lot of flooding going on around the world.  The Main River rarely overflows its banks, but it did recently.  This morning I walked into town and shot pictures near the old part of town to try to capture the extent of the flooding.  As I've learned from watching the news and reading papers, unless you happen to have a high perch, it often is hard to get a feel for how bad the flooding is simply by looking at an isolated picture.  So, I decided to delve into my archives to see if I had a picture of the same area before the flooding.  These are pictures of Frankfurt's famous Nizza Park along the north bank of the Main River near the Römer.  The park benefits from a sunny, southern exposure and wind protection, so a mediterranean microclimate exists.

Nizza -- Before (with sunbathers)

Nizza -- After (with ducks)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Stinky Cheese (Stinkekäse)

I just had a great lunch of melted Vacherin cheese over cooked potatoes.  Just add a bit of salt and peper, and voilà.   This is the season for Vacherin, which is produced in Franche-Comté, France under the names Vacherin du Haute-Doubs and Vachering Mont d'Or, and in Switzerland, under the name Vacherin Mont d'Or.  We bought a Vacherin Haute-Doubs in a round box similar to the one shown below.  The Vacherin du Haute-Doubs is a raw milk cheese.  The cheese already was runny when in the fridge, so I spooned it over the potatoes and warmed them in the microwave.  In Alsace, Münster cheese (not to be confused with its American cousin) is served this way in restaurants, and the taste and odor are similar.

The Swiss Cousin, Vacherin Mont d'Or.
 "The older the vacherin gets, the stronger the smell of
 ammonia due to microorganism activity in the cheese."

Stinky cheeses are an acquired taste.  My grandfather, who grew up in Swabia before emigrating to the US, always kept Limburger cheese in a sealed jar in the fridge.  When he took it out, we scattered.  I still don't have cravings for Limburger or Münster cheese, but at regularly intervals we have cheeses such as Münster and Vacherin at home, and I, too, enjoy them as a change of pace.