Tag: Berlin

Meet In Your Kitchen | Alfredo Sironi’s Pizza with Cima di Rapa and Salsiccia

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

“Food means a lot, not everything, but a lot. I enjoy cooking more than eating.” – Alfredo Sironi

There are two things Alfredo Sironi does all the time: chatting and eating while constantly moving around. When I sat with him outside his Sironi La Pizza restaurant in Berlin’s Goltz Kiez, an endless flow of children, neighbors, staff, and guests stopped by to talk to the baker, always having his full attention. When we were at his Sironi il Pane di Milano bakery, at Kreuzberg’s Markthalle Neun, he grabbed the pepper grinder from one of the stalls next to him, exchanging it for a piece of pizza and a quick chat with the chef. He nibbles bites of warm salsiccia from a tray while passing by and allows himself a couple minutes to indulge in the pizza bianca that we just baked together, but he won’t sit still. Only quick moments of pleasure, before the man moves on to the next venture.

Alfredo says he’s a better cook than eater. He blames his childhood. When you basically grow up right in a family restaurant you’re always on the run, always looking out for problems that need to be solved and people who need to be taken care of. You have a quick nibble in between chats but you barely sit down to eat. It runs through his family, he says.

“Everything we describe as tradition is fake. There weren’t potatoes in Germany, there weren’t tomatoes in Italy. Noodles, pasta come from China. It’s a cultural process, every day rewritten over and over again. – Alfredo Sironi

Growing up on a farm in Lombardy – between Milan and Como, close to northern Italy’s buzzing industrial center yet at the same time, you’re surrounded by lush green fields, paddocks, and horses – his life was about his parent’s restaurant, his family and friends, and the restaurant’s regular guests. Women always played an important role in his world. Although his father started the business, and he’s also the most passionate cook in the family, it was Alfredo’s mother who kept the motor running smoothly. Due to the region’s economic success, the women in northern Italy already ran thriving businesses in the 50s. The cliché of the mother, cooking and staying at home in the kitchen, wasn’t Alfredo’s reality.

The Sironi family comes from Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna so the family’s home cooking mirrors the best of what the four regions bring to the table. Bread and pasta is a staple, always homemade and part of every day’s lunch and dinner. Everyone knows how to make it, it’s in their blood. And exactly this would become one of Alfredo’s greatest assets.

“You can’t prepare yourself for your failure but you have to be prepared for your success. When you start a business, you only focus on avoiding that it crashes. You hope that customers will come, that you can pay your bills, and that it will all work out. But in reality, everything can be totally different, that you are successful. And then the bakery was too small, I hadn’t considered this option in the beginning.” – Alfredo Sironi

Until Alfredo moved to Berlin at the age of thirty, he never questioned his cosmos circling around the food and the people that were simply there all his life. It could have been so easy for him to just stay there, to take over the family business at one point, to live this beautiful life in this beautiful place with all the people he loves – but he was hungry for something else. So when Alfredo came up north to move to Germany’s capital, he used his memories of the people and the food in Italy, the memories of his daily life, to found his own bakery. Although he studied history in Milan and already saw himself following an academic career, things changed.

In 2010, Berlin’s food scene was buzzing and hungry for the new. Carbs are Alfredo’s passion. Every day, bread was freshly baked and pasta freshly rolled at his family’s restaurant and he helped out whenever a hand was needed. For him, good bread isn’t science, it’s knowledge and experience. He knew Berlin didn’t have anything like the Milan-style bread he grew up with and felt the city would love it yet he was also aware of the risks.

In the end, there was nothing to worry about. It only took a few months for the Berliners to fall in love with the baker and his goods. Right from the start, you could always find Signor Sironi on the annual Berlin’s Best Bread lists. His sourdough loaves are praised, his sheet-pan pizza is the reason for ongoing pilgrimages of the carb loving crowds to his bakery in Kreuzberg and to his new pizzeria where the pizza is round. Alfredo Sironi knows his dough, maybe it’s as simple as that.

Alfredo shared the recipe for his Pizza Bianca with Cima di Rapa and Salsiccia with me. It’s a recipe that I love so much that when I first ate it a few years ago, I came up with my own take on it for the blog. It proves that reducing the toppings for pizza often leads to the best results.

The podcast episode with Alfredo Sironi is in German. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Alfredo on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Pizza Bianca with Cima di Rapa and Salsiccia

by Alfredo Sironi

Makes 2 to 3 pizza sheets (using 30 x 40cm / 12 x 16“ baking sheets; if you make 3 sheets the pizza base will be thinner and crunchier, 2 sheets will lead to a thicker, softer base)

For the dough

  • 700ml / 3 cups water, lukewarm, plus more as needed
  • 10g / 1/3 ounce fresh yeast, crumbled
  • 1kg / 7 2/3 cups high gluten wheat flour (German flour type 1050)
  • 20g / 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup (or rice syrup, or molasses)
  • 20g / 4 teaspoons fine sea salt

For the topping

  • 4 – 6 salsiccie (or any other coarse sausage), skin removed, sausage torn into bite size pieces
  • 800g – 1.2kg / 1 3/4 pounds – 2 2/3 pounds cime di rapa, blanched or sautéed (you can also use drained jarred cime di rapa or replace it with broccoli)
  • 500 – 750g / 1 – 1 2/3 pounds drained mozzarella, cut into french fries-shapes
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the hook attachment, whisk together the water and yeast and let it sit for a minute. Add the flour, syrup, and salt and knead well for about 5 minutes or until smooth; add more water if the dough is too firm. Cover the bowl and let the dough sit for 10 minutes (the ideal ambient temperature is 26-30°C / 80-86°F; you can use the oven or place the bowl on a heater).

After 10 minutes, leaving the dough in the bowl, grab the dough from underneath and fold it on top of itself then turn the bowl by 90° and repeat folding and turning the bowl for 4-5 times. Let the dough sit for 15 minutes then repeat the same procedure once again. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or put it in a rubbish bag and close it; you can also use a container with a tight fitting lid. Keep the dough in the fridge for 18-24 hours.

After 18-24 hours, divide the dough in 2 or 3 portions, roll out each portion so that it’s roughly the size of your baking sheet then oil 2-3 baking sheets and arrange the prepared dough on top and cover with kitchen towels. In a warm place, let the dough rise until it roughly doubles in size; depending on the ambient temperature, this will take 30-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to the highest temperature setting (at least 250°C / 480°F).

Divide the salsiccia, cime di rapa, and mozzarella among the prepared baking sheets and bake for about 10-13 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with some pepper, and enjoy immediately!

Meet In Your Your Kitchen | Husarenkrapferl – Stefanie Hering’s Christmas Family Cookies

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

Innovation – but always based on tradition. Never neglect tradition. – Stefanie Hering

There’s something very calm and focussed about this woman. Stefanie Hering is the opposite of agitated. Things feel possible, manageable, even in times of disruption she doesn’t forget that the potential to create joy and beauty always lies in her hands, literally.

Stefanie is the founder of Hering Berlin, a traditional Berlin based ceramic manufacturer who changed the way we experience porcelain tableware. Lenny Kravitz, Nicole Kidman, Oprah Winfrey, and the chefs of more than 250 Michelin starred restaurants fall for her bold and uncompromising design. Tom Aikens, Heinz Winkler, Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, they all trust the designer’s vision to present their culinary creations, allowing her to create a frame for their food that’s anything but shy yet doesn’t distract from the chefs’ work.

“We were at the fair in Chicago and there were Charlie Trotter and Thomas Keller talking, saying It’s bloody expensive but damn good.” – Stefanie Hering

The first plate from Hering‘s manufactory that I held in my hands many years ago gave me a sense of a designer who had traveled into the future and came back with an approach to design that dared to question the prevalent, established ideas of porcelain. It was a plate of the Cielo collection, the rim perforated with a pattern of small holes that are drilled into the unglazed biscuit (or bisque) porcelain by hand.

It takes 80 steps to make this plate. So, 80 times, this plate can break or crack, but also, 80 times, the craftsperson gets the chance to approach perfection in a plate that seems so fragile, so delicate, but that is so robust. When I anxiously asked Stefanie how to clean it, she answered “Just put it in the dishwasher.” She’s pragmatic and never forgets that good design should work but also create and accumulate fun and satisfaction in your kitchen.

Hering‘s success came sudden, almost too sudden. When Bergdorf Goodman ordered their products for their NYC department store, when MoMA put a picture of one of Stefanie’s objects on their annual catalogue, she became famous and noticed that she would soon reach the limits of her manufactory’s oven capacities. The time had come to expand and grow, which she managed to do several times in her career, which also included setbacks. But somehow Stefanie always manages to connect with that deep trust in herself and her work that she was already aware of when she was young.

Stefanie is her hardest critic, she wants to excite and surprise her customers with her creations, she wants to impress them with her high standards of hand-crafting, but most importantly, when she started her career, she said to herself “I’ll stopp doing this job as soon as it bores me and I don’t enjoy it anymore. That’s 30 years ago and it never bored me a single day.”

Food is love. It’s an elixir. It’s something I could never live without.” – Stefanie Hering

It’s tempting to romanticize a career like Stefanie’s. Working with a craft that is so rewarding in the process of creating and also in the final products that become a part of many people’s everyday life all over the world, yet Stefanie doesn’t hide the tough times and painful decisions. The more successful a company becomes, the higher the risk, the more people are affected by your decisions. You do need to stay calm within yourself to deal with the pressure, the uncertainties, the fact that the final responsibility will always be on your plate.

Stefanie shared one of her Christmas family cookie recipes with me, the Husarenkrapferl that she’s been baking for her children for years, can now fill your pretty cookie jars. These are Austrian-style thumbprint cookies, however, Stefanie doesn’t use her thumb but the stick of a wooden spoon and she fills the cookies twice, before and after baking them.

The podcast episode with Stefanie Hering is in German. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Stefanie on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Husarenkrapferl

by Stefanie Hering

Mind that the dough needs to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Makes about 40 cookies

  • 140g / 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 70g / 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon ground hazelnuts (or almonds)
  • 70g / 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of salt
  • 140g / 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 150g / 5 ounces black currant jelly (or any other red jam or jelly)
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting the cookies

In a large bowl, combine the flour, ground hazelnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the butter and egg yolks and, using a knife, chop the butter and egg yolks to combine them with the flour mixture until crumbly. Quickly crumble the dough with your fingers and squeeze and form it into a ball and then into a thick log. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, briefly warm up the jelly over medium heat, whisking constantly, until liquid; this will make it easier to fill the cookies.

Cut slices of dough off the log and, using your hands, roll each piece into a ball, around the size of a small walnut. Spread the balls of dough on the prepared baking sheets, leaving enough space between them as they will expand during baking. Using the stick of a wooden spoon, make a small hole in the middle of each cookie.

Using a teaspoon or an icing bag with a small tip, fill the cookies with the jelly then bake for 15-18 minutes or until the cookies are golden and tender; mind that they don’t get dark. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer to a large plate or cooling rack. Dust them with confectioners’ sugar and fill up the holes with a little more jelly. Let them cool completely then enjoy them or gently layer them in a cookie box or jar.

Meet In Your Kitchen | Kiduk Reus’ Bonanza – The Perfect Coffee

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

There was no movement there. We were the movement.” – Kiduk Reus

When a friend took me to Bonanza Coffee on Berlin’s buzzing Oderberger Strasse back in 2006, I felt disturbed and suspicious about the whole thing. This had nothing to do with my beloved old-fashioned Italian-style espresso places where I’d usually have a cup of the dark, thick, bitter drink, a bite of flaky sfogliatella, while Italian opera was soothing my mind, playing in the background. It took me years to understand this new kind of coffee, to taste, to smell, and appreciate the whole complex flavor and aroma profile; to accept that an old tradition was taken in the hands of a bunch of young people to experiment and to create something different with the good old coffee bean that’s been a part of our culinary heritage since at least the 15th century.

Young Kiduk Reus, one of the founders of Bonanza, was one of those kids – curious, brave, and fearless, and ready for a new chapter in his life. After studying design at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam and at the Rietveld Academy of Arts in Amsterdam, after successfully working in the advertising industry, he felt that Berlin was calling his name in 2004. He packed his bags, the vague idea of starting a speciality coffee shop at the back of his mind. That was the beginning of a time that would later become known as the worldwide Third Wave Coffee Movement.

I did it all myself. I fixed it. It wasn’t like the machines were actually working. I had figured out how to get them running and put modern equipment into it so it ran even better. And honestly, that even also took off. That actually saved our business in the end because what happened one day, it became a trend this thing with the cast-iron machines. And then I had a whole side business on that in the evening, which financed the whole Bonanza thing. I must have helped over 250 roasteries worldwide getting their equipment. It was huge.” – Kiduk Reus

Born in Seoul, South Korea, adopted at the age of 4 by an American mother and a Dutch father, Kiduk grew up in the Netherlands in a town famous for cheese, in Gouda. Food played an important role. He remembers being a picky child knowing exactly what he wanted to eat and what he didn’t. His palate was already refined, a skill that would come in handy later in his life. In the following years, Kiduk learned what would become a mantra in his life: I need this, it needs to be better, I improve it. And then, miraculously (or not), other people pick up on it.

Understanding that he has to be the motor to bring movement to his ideas, he always had the soul of an entrepreneur. Not waiting for others to come up with something great or to improve something existing, he jumped in first to create what he needed to move on and fulfill his mission. So when he started the first Bonanza coffee shop together with his partner he knew he wanted to roast his own beans as soon as possible to simply reach and keep the quality that he had in mind.

Coincidentally, Kiduk noticed that some old cast-iron equipment – stored in an old airplane hangar by a friend of his and that he had access to – was the best possible equipment for roasting coffee beans. So he jumped on the occasion and spontaneously started a business that would in the end finance Bonanza for a long time. He bought the old parts and machines, added new parts to make them work even better, and became the Berlin man to supply roasting machines to all the big names in the speciality coffee roasting business worldwide. Blue Bottle, Seven Seeds, and about another 250 coffee roasters went to Kiduk Reus’ workshop and got their vintage equipment, customized by Kiduk himself and his growing team of mechanics.

Kiduk says he listens to his mind more than to his feeling. His intuition is definitely absolutely reliable. Many of his decisions seem random at first but then turn into something great. The street where his first shop is on, on Oderberger Strasse, was called Street of Death by house owners and estate agents as none of the businesses lasted long. This street changed a couple years after Kiduk arrived. Leading to Mauerpark – a park that would become famous and turn into a weekly festival scene attracting 30,000 people on a Sunday, all passing by Kiduk’s coffee shop – this street would become one of the most buzzing spots in the city. In hindsight, he couldn’t have chosen a better location.

I get also pushback from my staff because they are again more like It should be like wine, it should be the terroir, it should be the way we’re roasting it, you should be tasting the processing and the varietal! And I’m like But this is so boring, we’ve been doing that all the time, can we not do this! But no, that is not a serious drink! and then I look at the cashier and I’m like Aha, you didn’t sell any of it! No, we recommend them away from that drink, and I’m like Ok.” – Kiduk Reus

When you pay so much attention to each single bean, when you know the farmers, when you set the quality bar so high, you want your customers to taste the whole range of flavors packed into that little bean by nature. Bad beans strongly roasted taste bitter, which covers up bad taste, but you don’t want that to happen with good beans.

And now coffee geeks like Scott Tedder from Leeds (pictured below during a coffee tasting to prep for a coffee competition), Bonanza‘s head roaster and green bean buyer for years, come in to define the perfect roasting process that each bean will go through so that I can actually enjoy the complete complex flavor profile. This means that I have to – or rather want to – question my rigid ideas of how an espresso should taste. I want to give people like Scott a chance to show me something I haven’t experienced before and to allow my taste to develop. And I must admit, it did change. The coffee beans that I buy now aren’t as dark, aren’t roasted as strong anymore. I’m slowly discovering the profiles of good coffee beans.

Kiduk and I might always be a little more experimental and willing to compromise than Scott when it comes to creating new drinks including espresso or hand-brewed coffee, but that’s fine. A baker will always tell you to eat the warm bread just with butter, a farmer will recommend to enjoy the soil-studded carrot on its own, the wine maker wants you to stand in between the vines to feel the terroir when you take the first sip. It’s an appreciation for nature and its miraculous creations, for the pure flavor. Maybe there’s also a little pride involved – which isn’t a bad thing – that they all manage to make nature’s produce shine without distracting from the inner qualities.

Kiduk showed me how to hand-brew the perfect coffee with affordable equipment (you can find the recipe below). You can work with the most basic equipment you have in your kitchen but it’s definitely worth investing a) in a digital gram scale and b) in good coffee beans from a coffee roaster who understands what you’re looking for in taste and who will also grind the beans for you. However, go for small quantities as ground beans will lose their aroma quicker. You will slowly discover flavors in a hand-brewed coffee that you never tasted before and that’s quite an experience. It turns making and drinking coffee into a ritual, like making a cup of special tea.

The podcast episode with Kiduk Reus of Bonanza Coffee is in English. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Kiduk on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

The Perfect Hand-Brewed Coffee

by Kiduk Reus / Bonanza

Makes 2 small cups, or 1 large cup

Equipment

  • 1 coffee paper filter (such as Melita, Hario or Kalita)
  • Coffee dripper / filter (such as Melita, Hario or Kalita)
  • Glass hand drip coffee pot (or any other heat resistant glass pot)
  • Digital gram scale (Kiduk uses an Acaia scale)
  • Kettle with spout (or pour the boiling water into a tea pot with a spout)

Ingredients

  • 220g water (at 95°C / 203°F)
  • 16g coffee, medium grind (most speciality coffee shops will grind your coffee beans if you don’t have a coffee grinder at home; the baristi at Bonanza will happily grind the beans for you if you happen to be in Berlin)

Type of coffee* used by Kiduk (which is also Scott Tedder’s competition coffee)

  • Country: Costa Rica 
  • Producer: William Mora
  • Varietal: Geisha
  • Processing method: natural / anaerobic (anaerobic coffee is fermented / processed in an environment that lacks oxygen)

* Ask your local speciality coffee shop for recommendations for coffee beans suitable for hand-brewing.

Place the paper filter in the coffee dripper, put the dripper on top of the heat resistant glass pot then place the pot on top of the scale.

Fill roughly 240ml / 1 cup of water into your kettle and bring to a boil. Let the water cool in the kettle for a minute until the temperature drops down to roughly 95°C / 203°F.

Add the ground coffee to the paper filter. Tare the scale so that it’s on zero then wet the coffee with a little of the hot water. Wait a few seconds then pour 110g of water on top of the coffee in the paper filter, pouring circular, and wait a minute. Pour the other 110g of water on top, this time straight in the middle. Don’t pour the water in at once, let it drip through the coffee gradually and evenly and make sure that the ground coffee doesn’t swim in water. The brewing time (or water to coffee contact time) should be around 2:20 minutes.

Pour the coffee into 2 cups and enjoy immediately.

Meet In Your Kitchen | Cookies & Co’s Ricotta Lemon Cake with Yuzu Cream

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

Food is existence. It’s therapy. In our case, food is a way of expression. It’s a reflection of our personalities and our believes. Food in general is pure pleasure. – Mira and Ori

She loves baking, he loves coffee. She grew up in the Soviet Union before it became Russia, he grew up under the hot sun of Israel. She calls herself a lazy perfectionist – she’s anything but lazy – and dances around with her two little kids while preparing filigree cakes for the bakery, tired but happy. He tells you about the most painful moment in his life and how it became one of the most beautiful moments of his life. Mira Koretsky and Ori Kidron of Cookies & Co are two opposite poles, two planets orbiting and dancing around each other. There’s so much energy, so much trust. They are one of the most positive couples I’ve ever met and together they are riding life’s turbulent waves as they come.

Cookies & Co is one of Berlin’s highly praised cafés / bakeries. The two owners never compromise to please everybody. Instead, they attentively take care that their place keeps its unique soul. A lot comes from Mira’s style of baking, which – despite its perfect look and taste – never loses its charm. She’s a professional baker with the soul of a flexibel home baker. Unpredictable influences cause that not every pastry looks the same. Taste and texture vary slightly according to the seasons or changing weather conditions, which means that every cookie, every cake, and croissant is unique. This is not a baking factory, it’s the opposite. All pastries are made by Mira and her assisting pastry chef, Lior – who is at least as passionate about baking as he is about Beyoncé. The two bakers share the same quality standards and values and also curiosity to dive into unexplored baking adventures.

Once you move your body, you’re moving forward. That’s the circle of life. As long as there is movement something is happening.” – Mira

Maybe it’s because Mira grew up in a political system that didn’t allow culinary abundance but had a strong baking tradition, her recipes simply work and impress even if she left out the firework. However, let her start her firework and you will see the most colorful sweet feast. Fascinated by Japan’s modern baking culture, she tops her perfectly moist Ricotta Lemon Pound Cake with a flowery-sour Yuzu Cream (recipe below). Her Black Forest Cake is refined with miso and the bakery’s popular Compost Cookies stay true to their name: take a thick and chewy cookie and add chunky pretzels, chocolate, and potato chips to it. It sounds funky but it’s so good!

One of the masterpieces from the Cookies & Co bakery, it’s like the movie star that everybody wants to take a picture of, is their glorious, beautifully laminated Croissant with Yuzu Filling and flamboyant purple Italian Meringue. It’s a diva, you’re almost too shy to cut it. It’s dramatic, it’s loud but it keeps its promise: it looks like something that will excite you and it definitely does. And then the husband comes in, serving you a cappuccino or espresso that is just right. Ori is the barista in the family, obsessed with good coffee, and also taking care of the guests while his wife is getting creative in the kitchen. Sometimes Ori has to slow Mira down otherwise the guests would never see their beloved Cookies & Co classics on the menu again. If she could, Mira would change the menu every day. Luckily, he stops her so that we can enjoy her creations more than once.

“And you’re thinking to yourself, how do I deal with this now, how do I go on, how do I make the most out of this, how do I optimize myself ’cause this requires so much more out of me, out of us as people, as parents, actually being there for someone who needs you so desperately. And you don’t even know in what sense, what is going to be required of you. Then all of a sudden came a song by Sade. It’s called Long Hard Road and the chorus says There’s a long hard road ahead but a voice inside me said it’s gonna be alright. It was just exactly what I needed at that point. And I just started crying right there in the street and as emotional as all of this was, I remember telling myself this is one of the most beautiful moments I have ever had in my life.” – Ori

There are many bakeries offering perfect pastries all over the world but the ones we stick to, we keep going back to, are the ones that touch us, the ones that have a soul. Mira and Ori do almost everything on their own, keeping the quality level they once defined for themselves without compromises. Even if their energy is running low, they keep the motor running constantly. They are young parents, their youngest daughter was born with trisomy 21. The situation challenged them but they decided to face it with the same stubborn energy and positivity that they, individually and as a couple, activate every day to deal with all facets of life. They are honest, they know the gifts they got. They don’t look for the easiest way but they always find a beautiful way to enjoy life as it is: an endless circle of ups and downs. And in Mira’s and Ori’s case it’s a dance.

Mira shared the recipe for her Ricotta Lemon Pound Cake with Yuzu Cream with me. You can either bake the cake in a loaf tin and serve it with dollops of the fruity cream or go for the pâtissier-style serving and bake the cake in a deep baking dish, cut out circles, and pipe the cream delicately on top. Just like they do at the Cookies & Co bakery.

The podcast episode with Mira and Ori is in English. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Mira and Ori on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Ricotta Lemon Pound Cake with Yuzu Cream

by Mira Koretsky / Cookies & Co

It’s best to prepare the yuzu cream the night before you serve the cake.

For the yuzu cream

  • 2g / 2/3 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 80g / 3 ounces white chocolate
  • 120ml / 1/2 cup heavy cream (divided into 2 x 60ml / 1/4 cup)
  • 70ml / 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon yuzu juice

For the pound cake

You can either bake the cake in a 26 x 12cm / 10 x 5″ loaf tin or for the pâtissier-style serving, cutting the cake into circles or squares, use a baking dish of roughly double the size.

  • 170g / 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 350g / 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (or 300g / 1 1/2 cups sugar if you prefer it less sweet)
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 360g / 13 ounces ricotta, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 200g / 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the yuzu cream, stir the gelatin into the water in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. In a small saucepan, melt the white chocolate in 60ml / 1/4 cup of heavy cream over medium heat, whisking constantly; remove the pan from the heat. Add the cream mixture to a blender (or leave it in the saucepan and use a whisk), add the remaining 60ml / 1/4 cup of heavy cream, the yuzu juice, and the gelatin-water mixture and blend, or whisk, until smooth; cover and let sit overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 160°C / 325°F. Butter and line a 26 x 12cm / 10 x 5″ loaf tin with parchment paper, or a baking dish of roughly double the size.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each egg before adding the next one, and continue beating for a few minutes until creamy and light yellow. Mix in the ricotta and lemon juice then add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until smooth and shiny. Transfer the dough to the prepared loaf tin or baking dish and bake for around 40-50 minutes, checking after 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden; if you insert a skewer in the middle of the cake it should come out clean. Let the cake cool completely.

For serving, whisk the yuzu cream to fluff it up. You can either cut the cake into slices and serve the yuzu cream separately or cut the cake baked in a baking dish into circles (using a round cookie cutter) or squares and, using a piping bag, pipe the yuzu cream on top.

Enjoy!

Meet In Your Kitchen | Sebastian Frank’s Horváth – Austrian Roots in Berlin

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

“When there’s a feeling coming up like Can this dish compete with the one before, did I go a step further? then I try to push it away. It does come up, there’s nothing I can do to avoid it, especially when I remove a dish from the menu that was the bomb. That’s just the way it is, the quality in developing new dishes can’t always be the same. If I were a machine and I could only create dishes that are the bomb, I’d do it, but I can’t.” Sebastian Frank

Two worlds fruitfully combined in the midst of Kreuzberg: Austria and Berlin. His home country, Austria, feeds the chef Sebastian Frank with the knowledge, passion, and inspiration he needs to create unique dishes of rare honesty. He built up one of the capital’s most praised restaurants, he has been rewarded with 2 Michelin Stars but when you talk to him, he makes it sound so easy. And somehow it is. Some people have a genius mind and still manage to keep their feet on the ground.

Together with his partner, Jeannine Kessler, Sebastian moved to her home city, Berlin, 10 years ago and thanks to fortunate circumstances they both took over the Horváth restaurant and turned into the gem it is today.

“Women are just better chefs and I’m convinced that every man who is a good chef has a strong feminine side.” – Sebastian Frank

For a long time, the Austrian chef thought he missed out on international experiences, that he couldn’t compete with other chefs who did work abroad, particularly the chefs who worked in French kitchens celebrating haute cuisine. Little did he know that exactly this would become his greatest asset.

Although Sebastian started to learn in kitchens at a young age, at 14, it was only in his late teens and twenties that he learned about all those praised culinary luxury products, about a way of cooking that could possibly be rewarded with Michelin Stars and Gault Millau rankings. He was hooked but he still needed time to find himself in the vast culinary universe and all its possibilities. Yet when he stopped looking outside but opened up towards what he already had inside himself, he found the answer he was looking for. He says that he only discovered the confidence to trust himself and work with what he had found inside himself when he was 30, when he started working at Horváth.

Growing up in eastern Austria, close to the border to Hungary, only experiencing the local cuisine until he reached his twenties, smelling, tasting, and working with just local produce and products of exceptional quality, left a mark deeper than he expected at that time. Sebastian noticed that when it comes to the cuisine and the products that he up grew with, no one can fool him.

Being limited opened up his mind – and the flood gates – to a more profound knowledge and understanding of the food that he had had on his plate all his life. He experienced a much deeper level of tastes and textures by working with just a small range of vegetables. He wasn’t distracted anymore. He could study a celery root, carrots, beets, potatoes until he totally understood their flavor profile. He could dive into the regional recipes until he totally understood what makes or breaks them. And at that point, he could start playing. Sebastian also had another great advantage, he already had the emotional connection that you need for true inspiration. And this emotional connection took him right back to his childhood, to his own roots and memories.

Today, Sebastian Frank plays with an imperturbable down-to-earth confidence that is impressive. He only needs to visit his culinary archive in his head to find an endless source of old knowledge and new ideas to feed his kitchen repertoire. It’s not arrogance, he is open to other opinions and criticism, but he himself knows best when something is right – and then he makes his decision within seconds.

Usually I’m a rather chatty person when I go to restaurants but when I indulged into a 9-course dinner at Horváth, accompanied by non-alcoholic drinks based on vegetables, fruit, and broth that were just as refined as the compositions on the plates, even I had to keep my mouth shut and just enjoy the full range of tones that Sebastian plays with; sometimes they are harmonic or a harsh contrast, familiar or a surprise, quiet or loud, sometimes they build up slowly but then explode so vibrantly that it makes you smile.

The recipe Sebastian shared with me is called Celery, Young and Aged. One part of this recipe is a celery root that has aged in salt dough for a year and that’s being grated over the dish. It looks like white truffle, is packed with umami, tastes like concentrated salted celery, and looks absolutely stunning. The crusty salt dough shell, when it’s cracked open, looks a bit like Parmesan rind. You automatically feel a lot of respect for this product that needed so much time to age and that people have been taking care of for a whole year. You can’t really detach this feeling from this dish. However, if you don’t feel like waiting a year to try out Sebastian’s recipe you can either make the alternative celery salt (which I bagged him to come up with) or order an aged celery from the Horváth shop (which I highly recommend).

The podcast episode with Sebastian Frank is in German. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Sebastian on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Celery, Aged and Young

by Sebastian Frank / Horváth

(from his book KuK – cook, published by Matthaes Verlag, 2019, in German, you can order the book here)

The aged celery in this recipe ripens in salt dough for 1 year*. Alternatively, you can order an aged celery from the Horváth online shop or use celery salt instead – you can find both recipes for the aged celery and celery salt below! You can buy the celery seeds used in this recipe in spice shops or online.

Serves 2

* For the aged celery in salt dough

You’ll only need some of the aged celery for this recipe. Please weigh the ingredients for accuracy and don’t use cups.

  • 250g / 9 ounces instant flour (doppelgriffiges Mehl)
  • 165g / 6 ounces fine salt
  • 160ml / 2/3 cup water, at room temperature
  • 1 whole knob celery, roughly as large as a fist, with skin but without the green

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and water until smooth. Form into a ball, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest, at room temperature, over night.

Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F.

Rinse the celery, pat dry, and cover evenly with the salt dough then transfer the celery to a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180°C / 350°F and bake for another 40 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely (don’t remove the salt dough crust!).

Store the celery in the salt dough crust in a place with a constant temperature of about 15-20°C / 60-70°F. In the first 2 months, flip the celery every second day so that the moist bottom side is at the top. In the following 6 months, turn the celery once a week. In the last 4 months, you don’t need to turn the celery at all.

For the celery salt

  • 2 tablespoon celery seeds
  • 5 tablespoons Maldon sea salt flakes (or another flaky sea salt)

In a medium, heavy pan, toast the celery seeds for a few seconds; they shouldn’t get dark. Transfer to a mortar and crush lightly with a pestle, add the salt, and mix to combine. Store the celery salt in an airtight container.

For the chicken soup

You’ll only need 200ml / about 3/4 cup of the soup; you can use the remaining soup for other recipes.

  • 500g / 18 ounces chicken carcass
  • 300g / 11 ounces chicken skin
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 garlic bulb, with skin, cut in half
  • 100g / 4 ounces carrots, peeled and diced
  • 150g / 5 ounces celery, peeled and diced
  • 100g / 4 ounces leek, cut in half
  • 30g / 1 ounce parsley stalks
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 3 star-anise
  • 10 cloves
  • 5 juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves

In a large pot, bring the chicken carcass, chicken skin, and 2.5 liters / 10 1/2 cups of cold water to a boil.

In a small pot or pan, sear the onion and garlic, cut side down, until very dark then transfer to the pot with the chicken carcass, along with the carrots, celery, leek, parsley, and spices, and gently simmer for 90 minutes.

With a large spoon, remove the chicken fat on top of the soup, transfer to a bowl, and set aside (you’ll need the chicken fat warm and liquid for serving). Strain the soup through a very fine sieve and muslin towel and set aside.

Young celery

  • 1 knob celery, roughly as large as a fist, with skin but without the green

Rinse the celery and, using a mandoline slicer, carefully cut into paper thin slices. Steam the celery slices for 2 minutes at 90°C / 190°F or until tender but al dente. Let them cool.

Toasted celery seeds (for serving)

  • 20g / 3/4 ounce celery seeds

In a hot, dry pan, toast the celery seeds briefly until dark.

For finishing the chicken soup

  • 200ml / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the chicken soup
  • 30g / 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Salt

In a small saucepan, warm up the chicken soup and butter until hot, it shouldn’t start boiling (it should be 80°C / 175°F). Remove the pan from the heat, whisk in the egg yolks to bind the soup, and season to taste with salt.

For serving, arrange the steamed celery slices on a large, deep plate. Pour a little bit of the whipped chicken soup around the celery slices. Sprinkle with the toasted celery seeds, and drizzle some of the chicken fat on top. Break open the salt dough crust of the aged celery, remove and discard the salt shell, and grate some of the aged celery all over the plates. Alternatively, sprinkle with a little celery salt. Enjoy immediately.

Meet In Your Kitchen | Moritz, Switzerland & the Grill Royal Family

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

“Food is probably the most important thing for me besides breathing. But I guess sex is also pretty important.” – Moritz Estermann

When you grow up in the Swiss Prealps and you find your peace with the fact that you live in a tiny village only surrounded by nature, then Switzerland is the best place to live in. However, if at one point you want to know what there is on the other side of the mountains, you have a problem. Then you have to leave.

Moritz Estermann liked his life, tightly woven into a safe net of family, friends, and Swiss food. During the week he would play in the neighbors’ fields and barns, the weekends would be all about walks in the mountains together with his parents and brother. And when he could tell his father the names of 20 flowers he would get French Fries in one of the mountain huts. Moritz doesn’t want to make it sound like Sound of Music – but it does.

But one day, the Swiss fairy tale ended and Moritz left the mountains behind to move to Berlin. And as he arrived, walking down Strasse der Pariser Kommune lined with its very vertical, very unadorned socialist buildings, he felt home and ready for a new chapter.

“We started at Pauly Bar, moved on to the Grill (Royal) then we went to King Size Bar at 1 at night and left at 6 in the morning, staggering. But I had to be back in the office at 9:30, often working on bookkeeping. It was an absolutely amazing time, I learnt everything this business is about, but you shouldn’t do this. You get bogged down. It’s too much. Your own life falls by the wayside. Completely.Moritz Estermann

Grill Royal, Kin Dee, Bar Freundschaft, Dottir – Moritz Estermann’s name appears behind many raisins in Berlin’s gastronomic cake but the man himself stayed a mystery for me for a long time. I had been wanting to meet him for years and it had to happen during a long and tipsy night out at Bar Freundschaft. Introduced by Susan Choi, and soon rebuked by Moritz as I told the sommelier “I’m sure you don’t have pastis,” the first sentence Moritz ever said to me was: “Don’t be so negative!.” I felt like a little girl, but he was right, and I got my drink in the end.

So how does a Swiss boy end up in the ‘Grill Royal family’ at quite a young age? He’s not only supervising some of the ‘family’s’ places, but he’s also Stephan Landwehr’s and Boris Radczun’s – the founding fathers – copartner in a few endeavors. How does he start new projects and each and every single one is a success? The answer is very Swiss: Moritz says he understands restaurants and he understands Berlin.

But there’s more behind this humble Swiss mind. Moritz has a great connection to his instinct and he completely trusts this instinct. I’ve seen this talent in the characters of all the people I’m talking to for the Meet in My Kitchen podcast. They can all hear their inner voice and learnt to always listen to it. Moritz instinctively goes to the right places, connects with the right people, feels the inspiration, and then picks up the right projects. It’s not luck, his success rate is too good for that. It’s a very clear focus on what makes sense and then hard work and discipline to get there.

What I love about people in the gastronomic world is that despite this discipline, they never miss the party. What I love about Moritz on top of this is that he wants to create places that make his customers happy but he also wants to create places where his employees are just as happy to work at. He is part of a new movement of restaurateurs who break with the old system. Yes, he wants to and he has to create profitable places, but that doesn’t mean you have to exploit the ones who work for you. It’s a new feeling of responsibility, and also awareness, that no matter what your job is, you can always make a difference within your everyday operating range.

“I’m not sure if I really trust the universe or if I am, and was, simply naive, but I was never scared of the world outside. I believe it’s a great privilege, growing up in an environment where fear doesn’t exist, simply not being forced to confront it and learning to live with it.”Moritz Estermann

Moritz pays a lot of attention to the people around him. And he pays the same attention when it comes to his food and cooking at home. He shared his current favorite recipe with me, Pappa al Pomodoro. This frugal Italian dish is made with just a few ingredients and that’s the reason why each of them should be of exceptional quality. It reminded me a lot of Panzanella – a Tuscan bread salad – yet the stale bread is soaked in tomato sauce and not in vinaigrette and water. Officially it’s a thick soup, eaten warm or cold. Roughly chopped sun-kissed heirloom tomatoes, fantastic sourdough bread with a dark crust, the finest olive oil, and a very simple yet very tasty tomato sauce make you forget about frugality and simply indulge in a very fruity, surprisingly light, summery lunch that takes you right to the soft hilltops of Tuscany.

The podcast episode with Moritz Estermann is in German. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Moritz on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Pappa al Pomodoro

by Moritz Estermann

Serves 2

For the tomato sauce

  • 350ml / 1 1/2 cups tomato passata
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Fine sea salt
  • Black pepper, freshly ground 

For the Pappa al Pomodoro

  • Around 1/3 of a 750g / 1 2/3 pound loaf of stale white sourdough bread (with crust, the weight of the stale bread is roughly 225g / 1/2 pound)*
  • Olive oil (the best you can afford)
  • Around 450g / 1 pound ripe tomatoes (organic, heirloom, ideally various types)*
  • 1 large handful fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste (optionally)

* The ratio of fresh tomatoes to bread should be roughly 2:1

Preheat the oven to 160°C / 325°F (preferably convection setting).

For the tomato sauce, add the passata, garlic, and a dash of olive oil to a medium saucepan, season to taste with salt and pepper then bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes. The sauce should be light red and runny, not thick, and taste fruity; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces, spread on a large baking sheet, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Toast the bread in the oven until crispy but not dark. Transfer the warm bread to a large bowl and add the tomato sauce. The bread should be well covered in sauce and soak it all up but it shouldn’t swim in the sauce; let it sit for at least 5 minutes, the bread should have soft parts and parts that are still a little firm.

Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Add the fresh tomatoes and basil to the bowl with the soaked bread, season to taste with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon then gently and briefly mix with your hands; it should be chunky, not mushy.

Enjoy immediately!

Meet In Your Kitchen | Mr. Susan’s Kimchi Michelada

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

“Food really helped carve out my identity, it made me realize who I am, but it was also entrée into other cultures.”– Susan Choi

What happens when you grow up in Germany, move to LA to a Mexican neighborhood at the age of six together with your Korean parents then replace California with NYC and finally end up in Berlin with a Dutch husband? You love schnitzel, traditional German food and traditions like Sunday afternoon Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake); your mother’s Korean cooking becomes a safe home inside yourself, a culinary bond to your roots; you develop a weak spot for Mexican ice cream, and adapt to the culinary playfulness that Americans master to perfection so easily.

This is the culinary map of Susan Choi, the owner of Berlin’s acclaimed Mr. Susan bar. Why Mr. Susan? – Susan says “Why not!” Susan embraces, no she celebrates all the colors and shapes, the flavors and textures, the stories and people that this map keeps bringing into her life. She dove deep into each of these cultures, they became a part of who she is today. She welcomes them with respect, curiosity, and infinite excitement and she finds in them endless inspiration to feed her mantra: Life’s a feast!

“My parents worked so hard for us. It is the classic kind of immigrant story where your parents work like a bajillion jobs, bajillion hours to make sure that you have everything that you could want in the world. Every single opportunity I have is because of my parents.“ – Susan Choi

Susan is one of the most positive and energetic people I know – I can’t really imagine her having a bad day. The obstacles in her life were tough, from brutal racism to having to learn to assimilate to a new culture over and over again yet she never let go of staying true to herself. She always knew, even at a very young age, that she either learns to stand her ground or lose the battle and drown. The headwind made her stronger, she’s a tough woman but she managed to keep her soft side. And this combination makes her so lovable, so irresistible, and charming, and also – especially when she stands, smiling, at the counter of her bar sipping an iced coffee – it makes her the cutest. I could just squeeze her.

Her New York life was quite glamorous. Working as a consultant, being a regular in the city’s spectacular restaurants, she developed an even deeper fascination for food in general but also for the people who create it. She learned about the magic of a place, thriving from the dishes, the guests, the location, the interior, and first and foremost, she learned that you lose everything without keeping quality on a constant high level. When you visit Mr. Susan bar today, you can see that she soaked up every detail during her journey. Susan truly understands what makes or breaks a bar, or a restaurant.

Germany’s culinary traditions left a deep mark in her memory. The food, the rituals, the smells, and taste, she finds home in them and they paved her move to Berlin. During one of her first nights in the city, she sat on a swing over the Spree river sipping an Aperol Spritz on a warm summer’s eve and she knew, this is my home. Catering pop-ups and events quickly opened the door to another new city. Berlin welcomed this vivid woman with open arms, thankful for the excitement she brought to the Berliners’ palates. 

Be it her food or her drinks, there’s always something unique and thrilling in Susan’s compositions. Visually and in taste. Maybe because she learned to go through life with open eyes, she never misses a detail. The first drink I had at her bar was served with a paper straw with pink flamingos on it. The straw – and the flamingos – were upside down. It bugged her so much that she had to flip it. Together with her husband Robbert – the two are one of the most complementary couples I’ve ever met – she created a bar that excites, that is fun, and invites you to have a chat at the bar just like you were at home in your kitchen throwing a house party with only fabulous drinks and people (of course).

The recipe Susan shared with me for the Meet in My Kitchen podcast is her playful version of a Korean inspired Mexican drink: Kimchi Michelada! She makes a popsicle of tomato juice refined with kimchi juice and lime juice, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce then she puts the bright red frozen juices into a glass and pours ice-cold beer over it. Despite the fact that I’m German, I’m not the most passionate about beer, but this drink got me hooked. There’s nothing better to have in your glass on a hot summer’s night! If you don’t have popsicle molds, you can use ice cube molds, that’s totally fine. Susan shows how to make the drink in a tutorial in the Highlights of the podcast’s Instagram Stories, click here and go to the Highlight #5 Mr. Susan.

The podcast episode with Susan Choi is in English. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Susan on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Kimchi Michelada

by Susan Choi / Mr. Susan

No popsicle molds? No problem, try using ice trays for ice cubes!

Makes 6-8 popsicles

For the Kimchi Michelada Popsicles

  • 0.5 Liter / 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon of unsalted organic tomato juice
  • 250 ml / 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 100 ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon kimchi juice*, or to taste, you can buy the kimchi directly from Susan (click here) or at any Asian shop and many organic shops
  • 100 ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 8-10 dashes of Worcestershire sauce (Susan uses L&P)

* Kimchi is a live product, it will continue to ferment over time thus have different flavor profiles so adjust to taste! You’ll need to buy roughly 500g / 17 1/2 ounces of kimchi and then drain it for the right amount of kimchi juice. You only use the liquid for the popsicles, you can use the drained kimchi for other recipes or snacks. The more fermented the kimchi, the juicier it’ll be.

For serving

  • About 2-4 tablespoons lime juice, to brush the outside of the glasses
  • Tajin (chili-lime sea salt), to sprinkle the outside of the glasses
  • Your favorite beer. We suggest a crisp lager. It can also be enjoyed with alcohol free beer!

For the popsicles, mix the ingredients together and pour into your favorite popsicle molds (or ice trays for ice cubes). Freeze for minimum 12 hours. 

For serving, brush some lime juice on the outside of a tall glass (just a wide strip) and sprinkle with chili salt. Place a popsicle in the glass and pour in your favorite beer. Or pour the beer into the glass and lay the popsicle on top of the glass (looks prettier and more dramatic).

Meet In Your Kitchen | Domberger Brot-Werk’s Secret to German Bread

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

“Food is kind of everything. It’s a source of conflicts, of love. It connects, it’s sharing, it differentiates. It’s absolutely underrated in Germany.” – Florian Domberger

The first time I visited Florian Domberger’s bakery, Domberger Brot-Werk, in Berlin’s Moabit neighborhood I tried (almost) everything I saw on the wooden shelves: pretzels, croissants, fragrant loaves of crusty German rye and spice bread and traditional buns, such as Vinschgerl, Schrippen, Seelen, and Schusterjungs. All made with sourdough, all made with love. I was hooked. So I sat outside on a bench in front of the bakery in the golden late morning sunlight, all that baked deliciousness spread out in front of me, and every bite reminded me of how bread used to taste in my childhood.

Florian and his team master more than just savory traditional German baking, their sweets are also a generous gift to your palate and hips. His Butterkuchen (a yeasted sheet cake topped with lots of butter and sugar) and his Zimtschnecken (cinnamon rolls) are both the best I ever had in my life. So what is the secret behind this bakery? Florian says it’s just “flour, water, salt, time – and love!”, and I agree, he and his bakers truly understand the core of what their craft is about.

The craft of a baker demands a lot of fascination – and love – for the ingredients, for the flour, the process, the desire to approach perfection and improve each move every day. A baker needs the humble understanding of the importance of time, working and watching your dough slowly and attentively, you can’t rush sourdough bread. And that’s the tricky point where commercial bakeries lost the craft and with this loss they turned the taste of good bread into a faded memory. Commercial yeast and ready-made bread mixes replaced the elaborate simplicity of “flour, water, salt, and time” and paved the way for an industrialization that is conflicting when it comes to food that achieves its taste and quality from a slow process. An undertaking that could only fail and threaten the tradition and variety that once Germany became famous for.

Twenty years ago, driving through my home country, I could stop at almost any bakery in any town, village, and city. Those were still individual bakeries who had their family name written outside on the shop’s sign and inseparably connected to their name was the responsibility, and the pride, to only deliver quality to their customers. And that’s where Florian decided to go back to. He put his name on the sign. After a successful international career in shipping and logistics, after leaving his family’s business and telling his father he’s not going to follow in his footsteps, he learned the craft of the baker with the goal to open his own bakery. Five years ago, his wife, Vanessa, and their two daughters followed their husband and father to Berlin and together they built up one of Berlin’s most acclaimed bakeries.

One of Florian’s most popular breads – and the recipe that he shared with me (see below) – is his Beutebrot. A white sourdough bread made with wheat and a little spelt flour, with a firm crust and an open almost moist crumb (the double-picture at the bottom of this post showing the loaf cut in half is the bread that I baked in my kitchen, which worked out perfectly). If you happen to have an active sourdough starter in your kitchen you can enjoy Florian’s Beutebrot in less than 24 hours and feel the sweet satisfaction of a real bread baker.

The podcast episode with Florian Domberger is in German. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Florian on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Beutebrot / Wheat and Spelt Sourdough Bread

by Florian Domberger / Brot-Werk

You will need a cast iron cocotte (Dutch oven) with a lid to bake the bread and a very sharp razor blade (bread lame / scoring knife) to score the loaves before baking – and of course, you will need an active sourdough starter.

Makes 2 loaves of sourdough bread 

  • 900g / 7 cups unbleached wheat flour (type 550)
  • 100g / ¾ cup whole spelt flour
  • 750ml / 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water 
  • 100g / 3 ½ ounces active sourdough starter *
  • 25g / 5 teaspoons fine sea salt

* Your sourdough starter is active when you refresh it and it doubles its volume within roughly 4-5 hours. For this recipe, use the refreshed sourdough starter as soon as it has risen to its peak, before deflating. To test the activity of your starter, you can add a spoonful of it to a glass of water: it should float, it should not sink, then it’s ready to be added to the dough. On my Instagram you see how I grew a sourdough starter from scratch, it’s in the Highlight Story ‘Sourdough’, click here.

This is my bread baking schedule: On Day 1, I refresh my sourdough starter in the late morning/ around noon, I start mixing the dough at around 5 pm then, after folding and shaping the dough, I leave it in the fridge overnight and remove it from the fridge the next day at around 8:30am. On Day 2 at around 10am, I preheat the oven and bake one loaf after the other in a round cast iron cocotte (Dutch oven) with a lid. At the bakery, Florian shapes the loaves on Day 2, however I find that my schedule works easier for a home baker.

Day 1

In a medium bowl, combine the wheat flour and the spelt flour. In a large bowl, whisk together the water and sourdough starter. Add the flour mixture and, using your hands, mix for about 3 minutes until well combined; it will be a little sticky. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest at room temperature for about 40 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt on top of the dough and, using your fingers, push and rub the salt into the dough. Fold the dough on top of itself a few times then cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest at room temperature (about 21°C / 70°F in my kitchen) for 30 minutes.

Now the bulk fermentation starts, which will take about 3-4 hours: Every 30 minutes, wet your hands with a little water and , grabbing underneath the dough on one side, lift the dough and fold it on top of itself then turn the bowl by 90° and repeat folding the dough the same way on top of itself; turn the bowl by 90° and repeat folding the dough two more times so that the dough has been folded on top of itself from all 4 sides. Cover the bowl, let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes then repeat folding the dough the same way (each time from all 4 sides) every 30 minutes. After 3-4 hours the dough will feel softer and smoother, more cohesive and less stretchy, and it will have risen by roughly 30%. This process will fasten when the room temperature is higher and take longer when the room is colder.

After the bulk fermentation, gently pour or scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto a work surface, dust the dough’s top with a little flour then flip the dough and gently cut the dough into 2 pieces. Take one piece of dough, fold it onto itself so that the top and the bottom surface is dusted with flour. Using a bench knife or your hands, gently pull and turn the dough, giving it a round shape and building surface tension (you can find tutorials about shaping sourdough loaves online). The top should be round, smooth, and very taut. Shape the second piece of dough the same way then let both pieces rest for about 10 minutes.

Line 2 bread baskets or bowls (about 20cm / 8″ diameter) with kitchen towels and dust the towels with flour. For the final shaping, dust one piece of dough with a little flour and, using a bench knife, flip the dough. Gently stretch and pull the side of the dough that’s lying closest to you a little up and fold it over the middle of the dough. Pull the right side of the dough up and fold it to the left generously over the middle of the dough then pull the left side up and fold it to the right generously over the middle of the dough. Now pull the side furthest away from you up and fold the dough onto itself towards you then lay your hands, shaped like a dome, on top of the dough and pull and rotate the dough, while the seams stay at the bottom, towards you. This builds surface tension and creates a taut, round top. Using a bench knife, lift the dough then transfer and flip it into the prepared basket; the seam should be at the top and the round surface at the bottom. Repeat the same way with the second piece of dough. Wrap both baskets with the loaves in large freezer or rubbish bags and transfer to the refrigerator. Leave the dough to rise in the fridge overnight (for about 11-12 hours).

Day 2

After 11-12 hours, remove both baskets from the fridge, leaving them in the bags at room temperature. After 2 hours, place a cocotte (Dutch oven) closed with its lid on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat the oven to the highest setting (at least 250°C / 475°F) for about 30 minutes. The cocotte should be very hot. Remove one basket from the bag. Line a large wooden board with parchment paper, place it on top of the basket, and flip the basket so that the loaf lies on the parchment paper. Quickly score the top of the loaf with the razor blade (you can find tutorials about scoring sourdough loaves and different scoring patterns online) then immediately, and very carefully (!), remove the hot cocotte from the oven, placing it onto a trivet. Be cautious and mind that the cocotte is very hot and can cause severe injuries! Immediately remove the lid from the cocotte then transfer the loaf (on the parchment paper) to the hot cocotte and quickly but carefully place the loaf (on the parchment paper) in the cocotte. Close with the lid, place the cocotte on the rack in the oven then reduce the heat to 230°C / 450°F and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake open for another 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Transfer the bread to a cooling rack. Let the bread cool for at least 20-30 minutes before you cut it.

To bake the second loaf, raise the oven temperature to the highest setting again (at least 250°C / 475°F), place the cocotte closed with its lid in the oven, and heat for 10-15 minutes. Then repeat the steps described above but mind to reduce the heat to 230°C / 450°F when you transfer the scored second loaf into the oven (a step I often forget).

The bread tastes best in the first 3 days. It also freezes well, you just defrost the frozen loaf, sprinkle the defrosted (or partly defrosted) loaf generously with water then bake it at 200°C / 400°F for about 10-20 minutes.