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Culinary Update No. 2: The Great Franzbrötchen Bake-Off Post

28.September 2008

While at home in Indiana in August, I finally got around to trying to bake Franzbrötchen, my very favorite pasty in the entire world. I used to eat one (or two) of these every morning while I was living in Hamburg and I’ve mourned every morning since leaving there that they weren’t available. When I was in Berlin last summer, dear W. brought some for me to freeze and ration out over the summer.

Anyway, that same dear friend gave me a book called Das Franzbrötchen: Wunderbarer Plunder aus Hamburg. It’s a (pretty hilariously earnest) collection of texts and poems about (and odes to) the Franzbrötchen. After reading some of them I discovered that there was a RECIPE. This one purports to be the best recipe, though the recipes I’ve found on the internet are really plentiful and varied…

Anyway. Here’s what we did. (Excuse, please, the bad translation and lack of measurement conversion – in my mother’s kitchen we had the ability to work in metric.)

FRANZBRÖTCHEN – freely interpreted from a recipe by Dieter Schemberger


450 g All-purpose flour (Type 550)
30 g yeast
250 ml Milk
50 g Butter
1 Egg yolk (in retrospect I realize we forgot this)
1/2 tsp Salt

We basically threw all this (minus the egg yolk) into the Kitchen Aid and let it do its thing. We ended up adding a little more flour because our dough was looking a little loose. It turned out to be a nice, elastic dough. Let the dough rise for about 15-20 minutes, then roll out into a rectangle of 30 x 25 cm. (Precise Germans!)



150 g. Butter
50 g. Flour

Mix these together and form into a sheet about 15 x 20 cm and lay on top of the dough rectangle. (This was a little misleading. We basically had to spread it onto the dough.) Then fold the edges of the dough over the Butter surface and press down. **Then roll out the dough to about 30 x 40 cm and fold over twice to make 3 layers. Put the dough into the fridge for 15 minutes. Repeat from ** twice more. Finally, roll the dough out to a surface of 25 x 70 cm.

BELEG (the Good Stuff)

50 g Butter (we used considerably more, because I like my Franzbrötchen a little greasy.)
100 g Sugar and Cinnamon (we just used LOTS of cinnamon and 100 g sugar, basically.)

Mix these ingredients and spread the mixture on top of the dough.

Fig. 1. Here you can see the dough with the Good Stuff spread all over. We’re in the process of rolling it up.

Then roll up the dough lengthwise (zu einer langen Schlange – into a long snake!) and cut into slices about 3 cm thick.
Fig. 2. Here we’ve rolled up the dough and are pinching it together so that the good stuff doesn’t squish out.
Fig. 3. at the bottom of this photo you can see the slices. At the top, I’ve just finished forming one.
Fig. 4. Here I’m forming the Franzbrötchen using the “Kochlöffel-Trick” – basically you press the handle of a wooden spoon into the center of a slice, causing the middle to buckle and the sides to turn slightly upwards. Then you press them flat and put them on the baking sheet. It takes a while to get the hang of it, but the results are most satisfying.

Fig. 4. These are the finished product. These emerge out of the oven after they’ve been baked about15-20 minutes at 180° C. They turned out kind of ugly, but in my experience, the uglier they are, the better they taste.

**Thanks to Dan for documenting the process!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 31.March 2011 14:39

    hi there,

    just loved your post on the Franzbrötchen. I too lived in Hamburg for two years, before moving back to Holland. I miss the Franzbrötchen and your recipe is just what I needed. I don’t have a fridge though, this could prove to be a problem. But hey, I’ll give it a try anyway! They’re sooo worth it!

    • Darby O'Shea permalink*
      1.April 2011 17:26

      Thanks! Good luck with your attempt! Isn’t it a tragedy that these things aren’t universally available? Though I feel the same way about Stroopwafels! Can’t get them here!

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