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hanseata's picture

Vinschger Paarlen

June 13, 2010 - 7:36am -- hanseata

50 g rye meal
100 g water, at 122 F/50 C
77 g all-purpose flour
100 g rye flour
2 g salt
108 g water

284 g all-purpose flour
5 g sugar
1 g/1 tsp. blue fenugreek (Brotklee, Schabziger Klee), ground *
2 g/1 sp. caraway, ground
3 g/1 tsp. anise seeds, ground
8 g salt
6 g instant yeast
170 g water

* substitute: dried, ground nettle leaves + generous pinch of curry

hanseata's picture

On a trip to South Tyrol (a border area between Austria and Italy) as a student, I first tasted a sample of the spicy rye breads typical for the region. Hiking up the mountains to a "Huette" (a small rustic inn) we were served Vinschgauer Paarlen with homemade butter and smoked ham (Suedtiroler Speck). The flat bread was quite spicy. I didn't know what herb was in it, but it smelled and tasted wonderful.

Later I found out that there were more than one type of rye bread from Vinschgau (Vinschgauer, Vinschger Paarlen, Vinschgerlen or Vintschgauer) comes in different variations, some with, some without sourdough, some flat, some rolls, and also with different seasonings, but all of them spicy and delicious.

A typical, very unique spice in some Vinschgauer breads is blue fenugreek (Brotklee, Schabziger Klee), it develops its special aroma from growing in the mountains with lots of sunshine. When I baked a batch of Vinschgerlen some days ago, the whole house was filled with the smell of Brotklee.

Unfortunately I couldn't find a source for Brotklee/blue fenugreek in the US - I bought several boxes in a health store during my last trip to Germany. But the German Wikipedia had at least a suggestion for a substitute: dried nettle (burning nettle) with "a good pinch of curry". I haven't tried that, yet, but I know the taste of nettle (and the nasty burn of the plant) and I can imagine that it works.

Vinschgerlen or Vinschgauer Paarlen (= pairs)

Here is the link to the recipe:

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