The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Vinschgauer Bread - Unique Alpine Flavor

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Vinschgauer Bread - Unique Alpine Flavor

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: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/keyword/brotklee

Comments

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

Wow-that is awesome. Thanks for the info on the spice in Vintschgauer- I used to love eating Vintschgauer Fladen as a kid, but never was able to replicate the taste, due to not knowing I needed Brotklee.Blue fenugreek-so interesting........I will have to snoop around for it!


They look beautiful and I am sure they taste amazing!


Christina

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Got my hands into some of it yesterday pulling weeds. 


Fenugreek:


http://www.purcellmountainfarms.com/Fenugreek%20Seed,%20whole.htm


The above is Trigonnella Foenum-Graecum  (or the brown fenugreek)  (now not so interesting)


The blue or Blue Melilot is Trigonells Caerulea. 


Mini

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Hanseata,


Inspired ideas for ingredients to make genuinely interesting breads, less common on the pages of TFL.


A link to the recipe would be great, save me having to trawl through lots of pages.   Can you help with that please?


I hope rossnroller sees this; he's a huge fan of breads of this type!


All good wishes


Andy

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I enjoy trying out different recipes - I'm a very curious person, and always loved bread, so I own tons of cook books, especially baking books, both from the US and Germany, and adapt the old (and cumbersome) techniques to newer, more elegant methods, like pre-doughs and stretch & fold.


Blue fenugree is not the one used in a lot of Indian recipes, but another member of the fenugreek family. I do not know whether you can use regular fenugreek as substitute, but since the different recipes I saw for Vinschgauer breads all used different spices, I don't think it would be a sacrilege... and definitely better than not baking this bread!


I love this forum, it's quite addictive, and I already learned a lot.


Here's the link, I just posted the recipe:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18288/vinschger-paarlen


 


 


 

008cats's picture
008cats

I've been looking for new flavours, and I have never tried blue fenugreek... thanks so much for posting!


We grow nettles in our butterfly garden as a couple of different species lay their eggs on it. Will definitely leave those alone. I wonder if one could grow the fenugreek (altho I can't wait that long!)

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Burning nettles are the bane of every German child playing outside... But they are edible, can be used like spinach (cooked, of course), and are good in soups, tartes and quiches. The dried leaves are used in herbal remedies, and fermented nettle tea is also a good fertilizer.


Unlike blue fenugreek dried nettle leaves are available in natural food stores everywhere, so you don't have to wait until your nettles are dry (and hope that they are not all eaten by the caterpillars).

008cats's picture
008cats

This is good - are the nettles sold preserved for taste as well as healing benefits? I'm never sure about what I am getting in these stores as they are unregulated here, but I will give it a try. Have purchased some fenugreek seeds to grind, but I understand the flavour is much stronger than the blue fenugreek and I will have to add carefully.


Nettles grew on the ranch where i grew up and I always remember the "zap" of it on my shins.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I haven't found exact differences yet but I suspect they are like comparing wild blueberries to tame ones.  Or wild cranberries to tame ones.  Both have light blue flowers.  The ones growing more wild at higher drier elevations seem to be the "best" but don't let your milk cows eat either one.  The flavor taints the milk.  (Secret tip for alpine milk bread or cheese... maybe that's why so much of it is made into cheese!) :)   Start out with just a small amount, fermenting strengthens the flavor.  I read a suggested starting point of 0.2%


Mini

hanseata's picture
hanseata

It's definitely worth a try. Maybe only purists can detect a noticable difference. Perhaps I should bake to batches to compare blue fenugreek and regular one - and do a nettle/curry substitute.

008cats's picture
008cats

I am so intrigued! May take me awhile to try this, I've got 3 loaves in the fridge and one on the counter, but I will get there!


Nettle Tainted Milk? Mini-O, is there anything you don't DON'T know about? 


Got any tips for dealing with shedding pet fur??


I just had to ask...

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

but fenugreek will taint the milk.  Do cows eat nettles?  I don't have any cows but I know they are a picky bunch.  They won't eat everything, goats are not as picky.  You can go up to 2% fenugreek in the bread recipe but that might be Fenugreek geek territory. 


The year after the Chernobyl meltdown, we had varicolored stinging nettles everywhere.  They are also an air polution indicator and sensitive to their environment.   I also have the smaller tame nettles as flowering plants, yellow, white and purple in my garden. 


My dog is shedding too.  I give her a bath more often (I trained her to jump into the tub on demand) and put a sieve in the drain.  A little shampoo and lots of hair comes out that might have been all over my house.   You could teach your dog to like being vacuumed (hoovered), did that with our German Sheppard.  I think he liked the cool breezes under his fur.  This one hates the vacuum but loves the hair dryer. 


Where were we?  Nettles.  Yes, I have a bag of the dried stuff (leaves and stems) for tea.  Could throw it into the next loaf.  I have no idea how much to use but the tea is not strong, a little bitter though.  The small plants when up to 4 inches high will not sting and are in the traditional 7 herb spring soup served during Lent and thrown into salads here.  I understand it as a diuretic.  I got some fresh stuff just over the fence.  I've got other weeds too than can be used in both salads and bread. 


Mini

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Those pesky nettles apparently do not grow (yet) in Maine, at least I never saw one. If I left a corner of my former garden in Germany alone, they would soon show up. I left them in peace, because of the butterflies and fertilizing properties.


If I were a cow I wouldn't eat them. I once had a nettle soup in a fancy restaurant that tasted really good. But the chef decorated it with a little bit chopped fresh nettles on top - oh boy, did my poor tongue burn!

008cats's picture
008cats

...aside from the odd matt, I found that I could do just as well with a metal comb. One of my cats has a extremely heavy undercoat, you can brush all day and he'll still walk by like Pig-Pen, in a halo of hairs.


My real trouble - besides keeping cats in the first place - is that the fur is on everything, and short of wrapping myself in double sided sticky tape when home, I can't keep it off me!


OK!!! Back to BREAD! (where's that clothes roller?)

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I just did the taste test: blue fenugreek - regular brown fenugreek - nettle leaves (just the spices by themselves, not in baked goods). I ground organic brown fenugreek and dried nettle leaves (from our natural food store that has good quality bulk herbs), smelled them, tasted a pinch and compared both with my blue fenugreek from Germany. Nettle won!!


Blue fenugreek, a green powder, has a strong smell similar to curry, and tastes slightly sour and curryish. Brown fenugreek has an unpleasant metallic bitterness and is much sourer. Nettle yields a green powder, smells similar to blue fenugreek, though less pungent, and tastes also slightly sour and curryish, though milder. Both are not bitter, like the brown fenugreek variety.


Therefore I think the German Wikipedia was right in suggesting nettle with a little curry added as best substitute for blue fenugreek. Of course I don't know exactly what they mean by "a generous pinch of curry" - an 1/8 tsp curry per 1 tsp. nettle? Or 1/4 tsp.? Too much curry would surely overpower the more delicate nettle taste.


Tomorrow I will bake a batch with nettle and curry, and see what happens.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Hanseata,


Wow - amazing that nettle won the taste test! I'm quite pleased in a way as now I can stop pining after blue fenugreek (still sounds much more interesting than 'nettle'!). Like Noor13 I do remember that brown fenugreek in curry came out through the skin, somehow. Not sure about blue. Also I have nettles in my garden.


However I have had trials with nettles too - falling in them as a British child! The small fresh leaves are being promoted quite a bit more by chefs here, as part of the movement to eat 'fresh and wild' food. However I think they have to be the very small tips as the mature leaves can still burn your mouth. Drying them appeals - thanks to all for the tips on drying. 


Kind regards, Daisy_A

008cats's picture
008cats

I can't wait to hear how you make out!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

They turn black when dried in the sun so look for an air shady place to dry them (like hanging them whole, by the stems in a dark garage or attic from the rafters) or try this trick...  Take two cookie sheets: one cookie sheet for under the clean losely scattered leaves, some kind of spacers like shot glasses in the corners and one same size or larger dark cookie sheet inverted on top.  The gap should be about 2cm around the edges of the sheets.  Park in the sun, the heated cookie sheet and the space between allows moisture to quickly escape.  


 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

folks with extreme rheumatoid arthritis would throw themselves into a patch of burning nettles for the heat and "pain relief".  They must have really been hurting.


Anna (formerly from Thüringen)

bread basket's picture
bread basket

My father ws a country doctor in Switzerland. He injected bee venom for artritis. I still remember seeing the little bulge it created when he injected it. The great grand father of my kinds used to put his hand in ant hill...........

008cats's picture
008cats

well I was going to say liars and cheaters, but I think even that is a bit extreme form of corporeal punishment!

Noor13's picture
Noor13

Hmmm since I will be going to Austria in about three weeks time I will have to try to get my hands on some blue fenu greek. I am from there, but I have never heard about that. I do love Vintschgauer as well-I think they just taste divine. Thank you for that tip. 


The brown fenu greek I know from the Middle East. My mother in law uses it for a spacial cake they make. But the taste and smell of it is VERY strong, and you will smell it on yourself and clothes for a few days after you ate it. So not exactly my cup of tea.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Don't forget to buy some blue fenugreek in Austria - you will find it in a Reformhaus, health or natural food store. The German/Austrian name is Schabziger Klee or Brotklee (made by Brecht Gewuerze). It's not expensive, and it keeps well. The aroma is very strong and fills the whole house when you're baking, but pleasantly so, and I did not notice it clinging to my clothes.


I did one test batch with 1 tbsp. ground nettle and 1/4 tsp. curry. This mix tasted raw similar to Schabziger Klee, but was too mild in the baked rolls. So I think you would need 1/2 - 1 tsp. curry - I'll try it next time. But nevertheless, the rolls still tasted very good, so good, that my visiting friend asked for the recipe.

Noor13's picture
Noor13

I did get a jar of the Schbziger Klee and I can"t wait to get started with the Vinscgauer bread. I love this type of bread:)


Does anyone have a good formula for it?

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Hallo, Noor13, this is my bread recipe: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18288/vinschger-paarlen


I have more recipes that are seasoned with Schabziger Klee, and will eventually post them. Try this one out, you will love it - and the wonderful smell in your house when you bake those rolls.


Let me now how they turned out.


Karin

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Good news for all those who otherwise would have spent big money on silicone - you just have to drink enough fenugreek tea!


It's always amaaaazing what's all out there!


Karin


 

Noor13's picture
Noor13

Werde ich probieren 


I will try it and let you know how it went:)


Liebe Gruesse, Evelyn aka Noor

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Just visiting my old hometown Hamburg. I bought some cheese flavored with Schabziger Klee - very tasty. And the selection of breads and rolls could make you cry....

Karin