How do you know when Spring actually comes to Munich? When there are long lines of people buying beer in Biergartens( Beer gardens) and Bärlauch becomes available.
Bärlauch is a German word for ramsons or wild garlic, or bear's garlic.
I love Bärlauch! I love its look, its aroma, its taste, but I hate it for being available for a very short time. Maybe that fact makes me want this herb even more. I wait all year to enjoy ramsons late March, early April.
They say you can find it in the woods,but my hunt last year for wild garlic was not successful. Many Germans say you can even feel that garlicky smell in the forest, which I also didn't. Guess, I was in the wrong place.
So I have no choice but buy it supermarkets or small vegetable and fruit stalls. For some reasons this year it was available only for a few days in ALDI ( local supermarket). I bought a few packs and made Bärlauch butter. I promise to put the recipe pretty soon, as that butter must be Number One in a To Do List. I used the rest of the leaves for salads, sandwiches, and also baked one loaf of bread.
Inspired by this yogurt bread I made my very own bread. I wanted more healthful version, so instead of just plain flour, I used wholewheat and wheat bran. I also added chopped Bärlauch for aroma and its vitamins. It is believed that bears after long winter sleep feed on ramsons, which helps to clean out their digestive system. If that works for bears, it should work for us, right? Extra vitamins will not hurt our bodies too, especially after long winter.
The bread tastes better after complete cooling. I would recommend eating that fresh. This bread will go perfect with hearty soups it is also good in sandwiches. I enjoyed eating it with Frischkäse, fresh cheese, similar to cream cheese. Not "Philadelphia" like , it is tart, but the texture is different. There are lots of kinds of Frischkäse here in Germany: with herbs, plain, with paprika, with nuts.
I baked my loaf in IKEA loaf tin. I love this tin a lot, as nothing sticks to it, there is no need to dust with flour or oil. It makes perfect sandwich bread. And it was cheap, after all!
You can knead your dough and let it prove in a bowl, by leaving it in a warm draft-free place or use your bread machine. I made my dough with the help of my bread machine. God, I love it! It saves me so much time. Come on, kneading bread dough does not take THAT much time, but even a few minutes are precious these days, having a baby crawling around.
Yogurt Bread with Ramsons and Wheat Bran
1 ¼ cups water, warm and divided
2 ¼ tsp dry yeast
1 tsp honey
½ cup plain yogurt
2 1/2 tsp salt
1½ cup plain white flour
1½ cup wholewheat flour
½ wheat bran
½ cup chopped ramsons ( about 40 g)
In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup water with yeast and honey. Stir and let stand for 5-10 minutes, until foamy. Add remaining water, yogurt, salt and most of the flour and bran. Stir until smooth. Add ramsons, followed by remaining flour 1-2 tbsp at a time, mixing until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl to rise for about 1 ½ hours, covered with plastic wrap, until doubled.
Gently turn dough out onto a floured surface. Flatten slightly, then shape into an oblong loaf, 11-12 inches long. Place on a floured baking sheet, cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for about 40 minutes. OR place in a loaf tin and let it rise there. OR make small rolls.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F/200C
Bake at 400F/200C for 35 minutes, until golden brown. If you are making small rolls, reduce time. Depending on your oven, it should take about 20 minutes.
Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
At the beginning of the post I mentioned Beer Gardens. Here you can see one of the famous Beer gardens near Chinese Tower at the Englische Garten. It is always packed on sunny days. If you ever visit Munich, make sure you have a beer or two at this Beer Garden. You will love the atmosphere.
What I like about Beer gardens here is that you are welcome to bring your own food if you do not want to buy there. I do that quite often.
I prefer enjoying my own meal sitting at these tables, rather than lining up for a pair of sausages. Nothing wrong with sausages, by the way. Just love my homemade sandwiches with Ramsons bread, for example.