Ryff describes other names as gritz or ocimum (see below) and it is known in Saxony and Pomerania as bauchweyssen [buckwheat] or heydenkorn [heathen corn]. He also tells that it shares the name with the basil plant - ocimum (but this doesn't seem to be modernly true). There can be confusion between buckwheat and basil according to Ryff and I do think they look a bit similar from photos. The grain is shelled or rolled and called in Saxony "schweitzer gritz".
Wiki tells me that in France:
"The dark flour is known as 'blé noir' ('black wheat') in French, along with the name sarrasin ('saracen')." That makes sense in the use of 'heathen" for the German name for buckwheat in our recipes. I think I'm convinced it is buckwheat in the heidenische doughs.
Now, when the baumkuchen recipe calls out for a heidenische dough, is it like the French buckwheat gallette? Or is it a buckwheat cake or cracker as specified in the other recipes?
I think I am going to read the grain section of Lustgarden today, pages 553 - 587 if anyone is following along. It will help me, I'm sure, to make out the different kinds of flours that are being specified.
Today a cookbook came: "Das Kochbuch des Mittelalters" by my now favorite medieval cookbook author - Trude Ehlert, a
Further Ehlert says that buckwheat came to Germany in the 15th century from Asia, and apparently the name for the oriental, or heiden grain points to its foreign heritage. This makes much more sense than the other two meanings above, at least in my mind.
Well, I'm getting closer to a period version of baumkuchen that may be closer to the modern one, at least arguably so.
Yesterday a new wonderful cookbook collection came in ILL, which I promptly read as soon as I got off of work – inhaled it! Trude Ehlert is the author. This is the second book by her that I have been able to read, and I <3 her work – she is a word nerd. More more more!!!
The recipe is for what I presume to be a thin batter poured onto a rotated hot metal spit. It comes from a Munich manuscript - CGM 725, which Ehlert identifies as written in a Bavarian dialect, and is probably dated the last quarter of the 15th to the early 16th century. Interestingly it is called roasted milk! After the recipe for roasted butter, it seems there is a little humor in some of the recipe titles :D
From: Münchner Kochbuchhandschriften aus dem 15. Jahrhundert : Cgm 349, 384, 467, 725, 811 und Clm 15632 by Trude Ehlert. [Munich Cookbook Manuscripts from the 15th Century]
Ain gepratten milich
Jtem nymm ain wenig mell vnd Rur es woll mit guetter milich vnd klopf ayr darunder vnd gar ein wenig smalcz. So tropfell das an ainen haissen Spis vnd reib den Spis vmb.
A roasted milk
Item – take a little bit of flour and mix it well with good milk and beat eggs into it and also a little fat. So drop in on a hot spit and turn the spit around.
It looks like a basic modern crepe recipe calls for about a cup of flour, a cup to a cup and a quarter of milk/water, 2 eggs and a few tablespoons of melted butter, more or less. I'd have to examine the other recipe for hints on what 'wenig' might indicate size wise. It would be an interesting experiment to see what the flour/egg threshold is to make the mixture cling to the spit. I imagine one could play around with a frying pan for testing.
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The Staindl cookbook has an interesting recipe for a spit-cake that took me a while to figure out. It is in chapter six, which the heading says is about mortar cakes, and some baked goods, and how one makes hohlhippen (which is a cool sugar wafer cooked in an iron in that recipe).
This cake calls for softening butter on a wooden spit, and then sprinkling 'grieß' over it. That word can mean sand, gravel, groats, Embden grits or semolina. The OED defines groats as: "1. Hulled, or hulled and crushed grain of various kinds, chiefly oats, but also wheat, barley, and
Without further ado, I give you 'To roast butter on a spit':
Butter zu braten am spiß
Steck ein Butter an ein spiß / der hülßen ist / und fein höflich / brat in gegen dem fewr / unnd so er anhebt waich zu werden / so laß ihn mit eim grieß beseen / für und für / dieweyl du bratst / biß eine braun wirt / so gibs für ein essen. Etlich die nemen gwalen honen / und stippens zu mit dem grieß.
To roast a butter on the spit
Stick a butter on a spit / that is wooden / and fine quality / roast it towards the fire / and so it starts to raise and soften / so let it be sprinkled with groats / over and over / while you roast it / until it becomes brown / and then give it for a dish. Take some boiled honey / and spices/herbs with the groats.
It almost sounds like a honey-graham cracker crust on a spit :)
There is also a recipe for heidenische kuchen as well in the Staindl cookbook. Again, this is a fried cracker type of bread covered with honey. This recipe instructs, as wasn't said in the other recipes, to make the dough as stiff as possible.
So, some new gleanings.
First of all, a new book came in on ILL today - "Ich will ein guter Koch sein" [I want to be a good cook] by Michael Kirschlager. Lovely book, well written, well-illustrated with period woodcuts and with recipes from many different 15th and 16th century cookbooks, but transcribed into modern German. No footnotes. Clearly this man is a scholar of historical cooking but after all this work lists the dates of his recipes in the back with the helpful note that you can find the singular recipes in one of the 47 books in the bibliography. *An epic citation fail.* Words fail me at this point.
At any rate there is a marvelous recipe dated "before 1534" for a Thuringian Cake on a Spit. I don't want to copy his transcription here, but have found Kirschlager's blog and asked him what the source is. Hope I get lucky. I have translated it though and share below. I note that the spit itself is specifically named an eierkuchenspieß (pancake spit) which implies that pancakes were normally made on such a thing. hsifeng will like the fact that this references soldiers and pancakes. This sounds really, really good.
Spitcake from Thuringia
When you want to bake an egg-cake (pancake), then the soldiers also speak of indulging in spit cakes (spießkuchen), so take good, sweet milk cream and one or two tablespoons of yeast. If the spit is large, so must you also put in more yeast, and pour good Saffron in, that is will be a good yellow, mix also a bit of butter therein, and beat it well under each other, that it is nicely smooth, and make a dough from it, it is well relaxed and doesn’t stay stuck to the hand. Put raisins in it, smear the spit with butter as for another pancake, although not all of it with fat, that it doesn’t fall off. Take the batter and break pieces from it and roll it long on a board, dunk the hand in flour so that it doesn’t stick to it. Make the dough into 5 or 6 pieces, according to how much dough you have, and when you want to wind it on the spit, then beat it with your hand, so that it widens and lay it on the correct spot on the pancake spit “eierkuchenspieß”. Draw the spit around so that the dough with be wound on it like a band on a spool, and when you have wound a piece, so beat it a bit together, so that it will widen and covers the spit. Thereon place the next piece of dough, lay it on the spit and again wind it around, as before. Do this so far as the spit becomes full, wrap it fully quite well thereon, that it overall tight is and doesn’t stick or separate from the spit. Then take a thread and bind it well loosely therewith, lay it on by the fire and let it bake, and when it is half baked, then baste it with hot butter and salt the dough with the correct quantity and sprinkling it close to the spit therewith. And when the tube of the spitcake is cut from it, then you can butter it and put it out in small bowls, so you can dunk pancake in it (the butter). Nota Bene: This dish is a Thuringian dish. Brother Sebastian Kämpfe from Kloster St. Veit am Berge (in Oldisleben) often eats it. To this belongs to a good cherry dunking sauce.
Another spit cake and a recipe for Haidenisch kuchen appear in "Wildu machen ayn guet essen..." by Doris Aicholzer. They are in the Mondseer Kochbuch dated 1439 and the middle of the 15th century. They are recipes 24 for the spit cake and 144 for the Haidenisch Kuochen.
Wie gepachens an aim spis mag pratn
Nim gepraten pirn und raw saur oppfel und aßlauch gwsotten. Nim pfeffer un saffran un stoß das zuo samen un mach das waich mit rohen airn, So mach ain plat von airn und zuo tail das. Fulle die materien dar auf, das es gleich werde. So pint das plat zuo samen und mach es nas von airn und leg es in siedentz smaltz und pach es hert. Und steck da durch einen spis und leg es zuo dem feur mit zwayen swammen, als lang das es rot werde. So gib es hin.
How one bakes on a spit by roasting
Take roasted pears and sour raw apples and cooked shallots. Take pepper and saffron and grind the tow and make it with raw eggs smooth. Make a flat dough from eggs and make it two parts. Spread the filling there on, so that it is even. So bind the flat dough together and make it wet from eggs and lay it in bubbling fat and fry it hard. And through it stick it onto a spit and lay it to the fire with with two stands, as long as it takes to become red. So serve it forth.
Haidnisch kuochen oder hausen platter
Ainen aier taig zu treib mit ainer waltzen dünn alss ain oblat und sneids dreyer figer brait und lenger den ain hand und bachs in smaltz. Gues dar auf gepfeffers honig getrancks oder honig würtz und en gibs hin. Das haist haidnisch kuochen oder hausen plater.
Common cake or house plates
Push an egg dough with a rolling pin as thin as a wafer (oblat) and cut it three fingers wide and longer than a hand and fry it in grease. Sprinkle peppered honeydrink or honeyed herbs and serve it forth. This is known as haidnisch cake or house plate.
Dying to get my hands on the original Thuringian recipe...
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I've been doing some thinking about what femkederoas thought might be happening with the baumkuchen recipe.
First of all the German wiki page advises that in the 16th century the dough was rolled and tied around the spit. Where the cake rose over the banding gave the baumkuchen its charecteristic indentations.
I went ahead and read the rest of the recipes of the Basle Collection. Interestingly, there is another recipe that gives more information on a haydenischen teig. It is a recipe for (ornerie will like!) an illusion food and is called "Ein essenn von gebackemm heist pffifferling" [A dish from a baked good called pfifferling]. A pfifferling is a peppery tasting mushrom, lactarius piperatus, and also the chantrelle mushroom. The word pfifferling perhaps implies the peppery taste (pfeffer =pepper) of the first mushroom.
The recipe starts with
so mach einenn taig als zu einem haidnischen taig
[so make a dough as for a common dough]
Again I choose the meaning 'common', meaning simple or unsophisticated. I believe the word heiden is equivalent to the English heathen (prolly have the same root - I haven't checked though) and means both "unbeliever" thus implying Saracenic or of eastern origin in meaning, or also as we use in English - plain, rough, barbaric - unsophisticated. I have had to wrap my head around the word in context of German peasant clothing in the 16th century so I don't think I am off track in the meaning in the recipe, although it is a bit earlier in time frame. I still do not have enough data to know for sure!
The recipe continues on the next line giving us a good hint:
als du ein vrhab wolst
[as you a sourdough would]
Urhab is listed in the glossary as soudough, and it appears that Grimm's worterbuch agrees.
The next instructions tell the reader to form small rounds (pletter = plates) in the shape of the mushroom, both a larger and small part (one assumes the cap and the stem). Then we are told:
vnd wenn du dy pletter gemacht hast, so wart daz sie dick sein vnd an den orten nit zu dunn sein.
[and when you have made the rounds, so wait until they are thickened and on the edges are not too thin]
So it seems that we have may have a breadish type of cake wound on a spit with the specification 'haydenishce' given. Now that I see orten can means edges in this document, I think femkederoas is right about the type of preparation of dough wound around a spit in different colors. But I still wonder why call it a kuchen [cake] if it is really bread on a stick? If they are doing colors - parsley for green, saffron for yellow and leaving part of it brown or white, I wonder if there might be additional seasonings added. Other 2 or 3 color dishes listed in this cookbook present the foods cut in layered checkerboard fashion. If one plays with the layers of the bread, this could also be achieved with the baumkuchen. I wonder if the 16th century recipes (if there are any) have additional fillings? The wiki says that these were popular in the 16th century for weddings. Me personally, I can see and endavor to making a giant cinnamon roll on a spit, but that is definitely so far outside of the recipe :D
Those interested in the completion of the pfifferling recipe:
They are fried in grease, taken out, held in the hand like a 'krapffen' (I have another post coming up on this!) and the pieces are stuck together and then back into the pan to finsh.
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There are actually 3 recipes given, all apparently from the same source, although I choose to post the recipe that is kept in Heidelberg (perhaps the Heidelberg reference from the Wiki page) however, Staub's analysis show this document to be from around 1475 of Bavarian/Middle German recording. The manuscript is Heidelberg, Universitätbibliothek, cpg. 551, ff. 197r - 204r. This recipe seems the most complete. I'm also a little shakier translating 15th century German, but I'll give it a shot.
Page 138 (202v-203v, recipe 30 in the manuscript)
Ein heidenischen teig
vnd kuchen an einem spiß
So nym vnd bereit jn woll
von czweyer oder /
Von dreyerley favben
vnd leg sy neben ein ander
nach der leng das einer den
andern nicht beruren mug
vnd beschneid den
ein teill mit dem messer
an einem ort
vnd wint es den
vmb einen hulczen spiß
vnd beslach es mit eir
tottern and den orten
so beleibt er dir gancz
vnd prat jn nicht czu heiß
vnd versalcz jn nicht
A common dough and
cake on a spit
So take and prepare it well
from two or /
and lay them next to each other
along the lenght that one and
the other are not allowed to mix
and cut then
a piece with the knife
in one spot
and wind it then
around a wooden spit
and cover it with egg
yolks on the spot
so it will stay whole (for you)
and roast it not too hot
and do not salt it
The other two titles say:
Will you make a cake on a spit from a common dough
For a dish a cake on a spit. Will you make a cake on a spit from common/[nischemm] dough
nischemm could be related to the verb nusser - which in a context means to puff, or to nuss the word for nuts. So it could be a puff or raised dough or a nut dough. I could be totally off, but a puffing dough in this context makes some sense.
So the knife bit - does this mean to separate the layers while winding to make individual wheels and separate the color and then gluing the cake back together with egg yolks?
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