Whether you party at a music festival in Germany during summer or stroll over a traditional German Christmas market in winter. You will likely smell this freshly baked deliciousness from afar. Germans love their bread and so it is no wonder that it also comes as street food.
Handbrot, also known as Rahmklecks, is a bread filled with melted cheese and ham. What makes Handbrot so special is its simplicity. The combination of freshly baked dough, greasy melted cheese and then the creamy freshness of the cold quark is simply out of this world.
While Handbrot was invented in Dresden over 20 years ago and was first only available in that region, it now pops up at more and more festivals, Christmas markets and street food trucks all across Germany. Nevertheless, Handbrot remains something special.
It Was Love At First Taste
We had first stumbled upon it at Fusion Festival, a multi-day electronic music extravaganza in northeast Germany. In search for a hearty meal, the long queue in front of the small food truck had caught our attention. The twinkle in the eyes of the people who were already feasting on it, finally convinced us to try Handbrot. And it didn’t disappoint us! Since then we have become the biggest fans. Wherever we expect the slightest chance of Handbrot being sold, we always go on the hunt.
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The folks behind the stalls at festivals and christmas markets even opened a steady shop with the name Handbrotzeit in August 2013. That means Handbrot all year round! The café in the center of Leipzig offers several variations of the hot delicacy as well as other luscious treats. Most of the ingredients are sourced regionally. If you are ever in town, make sure to stop by!
It Is Always The Right Time For Handbrot!
The filled bread is usually baked in a wood-fired oven over beech wood. As it comes out of the oven, it is cut into individual portions, topped with German quark and served hot. While the original Handbrot comes with cheese and ham, there are basically no limits to your imagination for the filling.
You can add whatever you feel like and make it your own. Think of a Mediterranean version with olives and feta cheese or a veggie one with mushrooms and chives for example. Also try varying the cheese. Instead of sticking to the classic Gouda, you can give the bread a special aroma by adding flavorful cheeses like Cheddar or Raclette cheese.
Just give it a go and try it yourself – Handbrot is so simple, yet incredibly delicious! A great snack for any time of the year, to enjoy outside in the park or simply at home. If you mention the word Handbrot to any German person, you will instantly get a longing “mmmmmhhhhh” as a feedback. So don’t miss out and try out our delicious recipe below:
Recipe: Handbrot - The Original With Ham & Cheese
- 500 g flour
- 15 g fresh yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 300 ml luke-warm water
- 150 g young gouda
- 150 g ham
- Put the flour in a bowl, form a little hollow in the middle and add the salt, yeast and water. Let it rest for 2 minutes
- Knead a dough from the mixture, smoothen it and form a ball
- Preheat the oven to 45°C, cover the bowl with a cloth and let the dough rise in the oven for one hour
- Cut gouda and ham into small pieces and mix together
- Preheat the oven to 240°C
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin and cut into 16 equal parts
- Distribute the gouda ham mixture onto 8 pieces of dough and place it in their center
- Cover the them with the remaining dough pieces
- Form nice bread rolls from the pieces and combine the dough edges with each other carefully so that no cheese can leak during baking
- Lay out a baking sheet with baking paper and distribute the bread rolls evenly on the baking tray. Scrape the bread rolls slightly and brush with salt water (1 tsp salt per cup)
- Put the rolls in the oven, reduce the heat to 200°C and bake for 25 minutes
- Instead of forming individual bread rolls, you can and bake the full dough with the filling in the shape of a baguette and cut it into smaller pieces afterwards.
- Top the freshly baked Handbrot with a blob of sour cream and chives or quark with herbs and serve it hot.
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