When Stephan and I go to Germany to visit his parents, we tend to spend quite a bit of time walkingin the cities.Just generally enjoying the diverse scenery which is the opposite of Florida. One thing I noticed my first time visiting, were the bakeries on every corner. By bakeries, I mean GOOD bakeries. They are perfect to stop in for a little snack while shopping or sightseeing.
Kaesestangen is a deliciousGerman specialty that is thin bread with shredded cheese on top. It looks similar to pizza, but it is made like a pretzel, as it isboiled before baking. You can also find it with small cubes of Schinken (ham) on top, which is my guilty pleasure… although I don’t eat much ham. I tried to find a recipe for this online, but I had no luck, so I just made my usual pretzel recipe and topped with cheese before baking.
1 c warm water (110 degrees)
1 package (or 2 1/4 tsp) dry active yeast
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 c flour
2 tbsp melted butter 1/2 tsp salt
6 c water
3 tbsp baking soda
1 egg, beaten with
1 tbsp wate
1/2 c shredded emmenthal or gruyere cheese
1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand for 10 minutes to bloom. Add the water/yeast along with the melted butter, brown sugar, salt and 2 3/4 cups of the flour to your heavy-duty mixer and knead dough for about 8 minutes, adding the last 1/4 cup of flour if necessary. You can also do this by hand. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky, but very uniform and smooth. Place dough in a large oiled bowl, and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.
2. Punch down, and divide the dough into 8 equal shapes and form them into small balls. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rest for 15 minutes. Roll them into flat ovals, around 2 inches by 6 inches. If you notice them getting hard to roll (springing back), cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 5 minutes and then continue rolling out. Place on a piece of parchment paper with 2 inches between, cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow the kaesenstangen to rise for 1/2 hour. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
3. In a large pot, bring the baking soda and water to a boil. Add the Kaesestangen one at a time to the boiling water for 1 minute. I found the easiest way to do this was to cut the parchment paper between each risen kaesenstangen and pick up the parchment paper along with the piece of dough. Then gently place the parchment paper lined dough into the simmering water. Slowly peel the parchment off and thenpress down into the boiling water with a spatula. Remove and place on a cooling rack.
4. When cooled, transfer to a clean parchment lined sheet pan. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle generously with shredded cheese and pepper and bake for 12-15 minutes, until dark brown. Best eaten the day they are baked.
Note: To ensure the dough is thoroughly kneaded, take a small piece and roll it into a ball. With your thumbs, stretch the dough until either it tears or becomes transparent in the center, also known as a window. If you cannot stretch the dough to form a window, knead a little longer.
Note #2: If you have a kitchen scale, use that to weigh out the 8 balls of dough. They should be right around 2.5 oz each.