Recipe: Bavarian Sauerkraut

IMG_0838Tools of the trade: Holzbrett, Stampfer, Krauthobel.

When I arrived at the farm in Kulmbach last weekend, I was immediately assigned to the task of making sauerkraut–an entire day’s undertaking even for a relatively small batch, as I discovered. I was given a hand-written recipe and more or less left to my own devices, with liberal advice from whichever of the family members happened to be passing through the kitchen. It turned out pretty decent, if I do say so myself…not bad for an American. ūüėČ

IMG_0835Fresh from the root cellar, harvested during my stay in August.

Ingredients: white cabbage, sea salt, caraway seeds

Instructions:¬†Wash cabbage, remove several of the large outer leaves from each head, and set them aside for later. Cut the cabbage into small pieces. If you don’t have a traditional cabbage cutter (Krauthobel), a knife works just as well. Apparently, it is best to cut it into long, narrow strands–it tastes better that way, according to my hosts.


Beat the cut cabbage in a crock or large pot until enough liquid has come out to entirely cover it. This takes some hefty work–if you can’t seem to get enough liquid out, you will need to add a bit of water later. Let stand for an afternoon, or overnight.


IMG_0870Allll the Sauerkraut….

Add salt (30 grams per kilo of cabbage) and sprinkle with caraway seeds. If you are making a large batch, it is best to work in layers–a kilo of cabbage, then salt and seeds. Stop between layers to compact the cabbage as firmly as possible. If you are making a small batch, this can be done in a glass canning jar–for a large batch, use a crock or pot.

IMG_0875Cover the shredded cabbage completely with the whole leaves (set aside previously). At this point, the shredded cabbage should be quite compact, and completely immersed in its own liquid–if not, add a bit of water.

IMG_0877Set some sort of press on top of the whole leaves, with a weight on top heavy enough to push everything down below the level of the liquid. We used a large plate, weighted down with a jar full of water. The most important thing is that the actual cabbage is fully submerged–this will keep it from spoiling.

IMG_0880That’s 18 kilos of Sauerkraut, yo.¬†

Put a lid on the crock, jar, or pot, and set in a cool place. Ferment for five weeks, and enjoy! Geschafft! 

IMG_0883Sauerkraut, don’t touch!!

Recipe: Zwetschgenknödel


Last night I learned how to make¬†Zwetschgenkn√∂del, a traditional Austrian dish that translates to something like plum dumplings. My host’s little brother Adrian was kind enough to show me how everything worked, and to let me copy down his recipe afterwards–passed down from his father. He told me that his family usually makes them when all the children are at home, and have a contest to see who can eat the most. And I can see why…I ate about five myself.

Plum_tree_with_fruitZwetschgen–plums–in the garden.


1/2 Liter flour

4 egg yolks

10-12 small potatoes

Stick of butter

A bit of sugar

1 cup coarse flour, like semolina (Grieß in Germany)

20 small Zwetschgen, of course–just normal plums in America


Cook and peel the potatoes, then mash completely until there are no more lumps. Let cool.

To make the Teig (dough), combine the cooled potatoes, egg yolks, flour, and a pinch of salt. It should be quite sticky.

Carefully cover each of the plums in a thin layer of dough–these are the Kn√∂del (dumplings). You will need to cover your hands with flour first, or¬†the Teig will get everywhere.

Place each of the  Knödel into a pot of boiling, lightly salted water. They are finished when they rise to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon.

In a large flat-ish pan, boil the butter, a bit of sugar, and the Grieß. Place the Knödel into the mixture, a few at a time, and fry on high heat until they are nice and brown. Remove, and serve right away.

To eat Zwetschgenknödel in the proper German manner, cut each one in half and sprinkle liberally with sugar.

IMG_0343Ingredients for the Teig.

IMG_0344Wrapping the Zwetschgen.

IMG_0346Boiling the Knoedel. 

IMG_0348Frying in butter and flour.

IMG_0349Finished—ganz lecker!!

IMG_0369The top-secret recipe, translated above. : )