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How to Make Your Own German Foods and Ingredients

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Sometimes we cannot find ingredients that are common in Germany, in another country. Many of these ingredients are simple to make yourself or have good substitutions. German ingredients can be made at home with a little time and effort.

1. German Baking Ingredients

Selbstgemachte Sahnequark - Homemade Quark
J.McGavin
  • Vanilla Sugar (Vanillinzucker) is found in most German recipes for cakes and cookies. You can buy it online, or easily make it yourself.
  • German Baking Powder is usually single-acting, so it is not interchangeable with American baking powder. Dr. Oetker is king of the German baking powder scene, with a proprietary blend of sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate and cornstarch.
  • Quark and Créme Fraiche (video), both fresh cheeses used in baking and cooking.

2. Kasseler and other Smoked Meats

Fresh Side of Pork for Making Bacon
J.McGavin

Many smoked meat products are purchased, rather than made at home. If you are hankering for a German-tasting piece of meat, though, it is not that hard to make.

  • Kasseler is a type of ham which is brined, then smoked.
  • This quick, Black Forest ham substitute has a salt rub and is then smoked.
  • German bacon is salted and smoked. Beech wood or Alder smoke impart the uniquely German flavor.
  • Find a smoker Compare Prices

3. German Bakery Products

Puff Pastry Cherry Turnovers
J.McGavin

Germans usually buy all their rolls and pastries from a bakery. When one is around every corner, why go through the trouble of baking them yourself? The following recipes are not only fresher than anything you can find in an American bakery, they are not very hard to make.

4. Make Sauerkraut at Home

Sauerkraut Being Made in a Mason Jar
J.McGavin

Sauerkraut came to Europe via Asia, where people have been pickling cabbage for thousands of years. Because of its high vitamin C content, it was very useful in preventing scurvy and keeping people healthy throughout the winter months when no fresh food was available.

5. Sourdough Starter for German Bread

Sourdough Starter Made with a Dry Culture
J.McGavin
German bread is often made with sourdough. Sourdough bread keeps longer and doesn't dry out as quickly. Start here to find out how. There are many ways of making bread sour.
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