The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fingerspitzengefuhl is the word

Cooky's picture

Fingerspitzengefuhl is the word

Just found this word "fingerspitzengefuhl" (Imagine an umlaut over the 'u') in, of all places,  Dutch flower bulb catalog. It is a German word mening "the feeling in the tips of your fingers." It is used by bulb growers to describe the way they tell when daffodil bulbs have been properly dried -- "matured," is how they put it -- for shipping. (Hint: The big box stores get 'em way too early.)

 It struck me as the perfect word to describe that sensitivity to a dough's condition that we strive to acquire, so as to know by touch when the mix is right, when the fermenting is finished, when the final proof has reached perfection.

The Germans really *do* have a word for everything, don't they? I wish I knew how to pronounce it. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

"fingerspitzengefühl" I think you can make out finger, add shpit zen geh fuool. Ephasis on first and third syllables and trailing off at end.

Mini O

Cooky's picture

It was that last couple of syllables that had me flummoxed. I think I'm going to use this word all the time now! 


"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You could just say,  "... use my finger-tip-expertise."

harrygermany's picture


the lovely German word "Fingerspitzengefuehl" does not only mean "the feeling (sensivity) in the fingertips".

Figuratively it also means "sure instinct", and in this meaning the word is used normaly.

There is another beautiful German word that almost no Non-German can pronounce: "Streichholzschaechtelchen" (means little matchbox).

"Streich-holz"=rubbing stick of wood;
"Schaechtel-chen"=little box ("Schachtel"=box, "-chen"=little).

Find some German and ask him to teach you. Lot of fun!


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