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Introduction to German Baking

German recipes are somewhat different from North American recipes. I guess that is kind of obvious but I thought I mention it.

First of all, we use weight and not volume. There are some exceptions but generally speaking you will find recipes that say 500g of flour not 4 cups of flour. I personally find weight much more accurate than volume but maybe that is because I grew up with it. On the other hand, my grandmother bakes by feeling and she measures with her eyes. I recommend you buy a scale and it doesn’t have to be a fancy digital one. (Although, with a digital one you will be über accurate, which is nice sometimes.)

Of course there are some different ingredients, like flour. Flour? Yes, flour seems to be a bit heavier over here. As a result you might need more liquid. I also know that a lot of people have problems to bake bread in North America. Might be the flour, might be the oven, might be the altitude. I am not sure. My recipes are adapted to North American baking, which means I used a German recipe and looked for a substitute.

Also, when I write butter I usually mean unsalted butter because that is the kind you can buy in Germany. I know that unsalted butter in North America is much more expensive but there are some recipes that it is necessary you use it. I will specifically point out those ones where you need unsalted butter. Otherwise, using salted butter will be fine, just leave out the extra salt. (Makes sense, hu?)

There is also a greater variety of cream, or maybe I just think there is. This link will give you an overview and you’ll understand what I mean. Don’t be scared, there is most likely a substitute though if you can find the real thing, use it. Some of those “real things” might be a bit more expensive but it will pay off at the end of the day.

Remember that German recipes are made for Germany, not just in the context of ingredients but also of locality. That means altitude thus pressure, humidity and so on play an important role. You might have to experiment depending on where you are and maybe a recipe will never work out the way you would like to. Same goes for the oven. (Btw, we use Celcius, not Fahrenheit, remember that.) If I say back at 180°C for 20 min you might want to check after 15 min because you oven is different. Keep that in mind.

If you have troubles with a recipe, let me know and I will try to solve it.


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