Saturday, September 3, 2011

Little French bread: Franzbrötchen

I hope everyone has recovered after the breaking news of my previous post. But it's true, the von Strudel's have just over a week until it's time to say Auf Wiedersehen to Berlin, and I'm trying to get as much in (my mouth) as possible before we leave. Eat, drink, be merry, for in Melbourne, ye diet.

Knowing that our time in Europe was limited, Mr von S and I set about organising a road-trip through Germany and neighbouring Austria. After our amazing camping success at Melt! Festival, we thought we would save money and 'commune with German nature' by camping. Ambitious? Perhaps. Worth the crick in the back? Maybe. Would I do it again? Certainly!

With a rough itinerary planned, we set off from Berlin on a Thursday. Remembering that I haven't driven a car in over a year, we had hired a manual VW Polo, stuffed it full of everything we thought we'd need, and set off on the German Autobahn. Very slowly. First stop, Hamburg.

Hanseatic Hamburg, as it is known, is a city that I've visited before. In fact, 11 years before. As a slightly bewildered school girl, I spent three months on exchange in a town just south of Hamburg, called Luneburg. Trading in a summer for my first white winter, I managed to gorge myself on marzipan, Pommes mit Mayo (fries with mayonnaise) and McFlurrys of all things. I arrived back in the heat of Melbourne's summer (and the start of the rowing season, oops!) quite a few kilos heavier than I left. I guess some things never change :)

Luneburg's Am Sande
Never-the-less, the last time I was in Hamburg was a long time ago, and a refresher visit was much anticipated.

Our trip to Hamburg also included a visit to our friend Kata's house. She cooked us a lovely meal (we got her recipe for a great casserole, which will likely feature on this blog some time in the near future) and gave me some great foody tips on what I should try in each region. In Hamburg, apart from the famous Niederegger Marzipan from Lubeck, we were urged to try a pastry called Franzbrötchen, and tried it we did, the very next day.

According to Wiki, the Franzbrötchen was probably named after the French (in German französisch) bread roll (brötchen) the croissant, which became popular in Germany after Napoleon's troops occupied Hamburg between 1806-1814. The Franzbrötchen is essentially a sweet, yeast-based pastry, which is more bread-like (or even doughnut-like) than flakey. Filled with sugar and cinnamon, the Franzbrötchen can be topped with pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, poppy seeds, or as I chose, streusel.

Streusel Franzbrötchen
Upon first bite, I compared the texture to another baked good I've been coveting of late, Streuselschnecke (literally streusel snail) – the similarities extend to the texture: bready and almost doughnut-like, and the shared streusel topping: a crunchy, biscuit-like covering. Of course, what really sets the two apart is not only the shape of each pastry, but also the Franzbrötchen's heart of cinnamon and sugar. After biting into the pastry, this layer is a welcome surprise, and achieved by sprinkling the rolled dough with the Zimt und Zucker mixture, and then folding in to shape.

At 70 Euro cents a piece, and with a variety of toppings, the Franzbrötchen is dangerously affordable. Good thing for my hips we won't be visiting Hamburg again for a while!

Next stop, Frankfurt: Handkäse mit Musik and Apfelwein.

xox Fifi


  1. Woah.. are you coming home already??!! No more stories of East Europe?? Booo... but they'll be many more stories to tell on your other adventures!!

  2. Sadly it's home time - we've been away for over a year, so I think we've had a pretty good run. But yes, looking forward to getting back into the Melbourne scene, having a decent kitchen to cook in, and having an income again ;)


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