Three Recipes for Sauce and Serving Bread

These are from the Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch, and they are interesting.

A Gingerbread Baker

12 To Make a Lebersultz

Take half a square of Leipzig gingerbread (Leckuchen) and cut it small into a glazed pot that holds 3 Maß. Pour a little (lacuna. wine? water?) over the gingerbread to cover it and let it soak overnight, but start soaking it early. Stir it well with a spoon. The next day, bring it to the fire and let it warm up. Take half a seidlein of honey in a pan and let it melt over the fire and pour it in again (? geuß es widerumb an). Take wine in a pan with the honey and let it boil up over the fire and remove the scum. You shall add three seidlein of wine to the honey, and when it has been skimmed, pour it into the pot with the gingerbread. Let it warm up well so the gingerbread becomes soft. Then take a sieve of coarse haircloth and yet it over a nice cheese vat (kaeslein oder multern) and pour the gingerbread into the liquid in the pot (probably garbled). Stir it in the sieve and force it through so that the gingerbread passes through. When it has all gone through, wash the pot nicely so that nothing sticks to it. Take some fresh fat and grease the inside of the pot. Then return the liquid (prue) to the pot. When it has been passed through, it must be like a wheat porridge (in consistency) or like a thick soup. Then let it boil by the fire and take care that no fire is close by the pot. Stir it with a spoon so that it does not stick (sich nit anlege) when it has become warm again. Take one and a half quintlein of saffron, grind it up with wine, add it to the liquid in the pot and stir it with a spoon. Add ground ginger and pepper and take whole nutmegs and cinnamon bark that is crushed (zerknuetschet), but not too small, and also add that to the liquid and keep stirring the entire time. When it boils, take the ground spices and add them, and salt it before adding the spices, but not much. Let it boil, and when it becomes thick, pour in more wine. It must not be too thick or boil for too long, no longer than an egg that is boiled hard and not poured out. And it should be slightly thick, like wheat porridge. Thus you have a Lebersultzen.

13 To make Deller brot or Moerser brot (literally: plate bread or mortar bread)

Take grated semmel or old and dry (altbackene) weck that is well baked, a good part of a wecken of five or six (pennies), and a little sugar. Put the ground bread in a bowl. Then add ginger, pepper, cinnamon and saffron. Item do not salt the eggs too much and beat them well in a pot. Strain it nicely over the bread so that the shells (huelsen) come out. Turn over (wende) the mash (mus) top to bottom with a spoon. Take small raisins, the pips removed, into the bowl with the bread and the egg. Then take almonds, blanch them and add them entire. Take the greatest quantity of weinberlin (different type of raisins) and stir it together until it is thick as a cheese fritter batter (kaeskuechlin teig) and pour on a little egg so that it is not too thick, like filling for chickens. You shall also use nutmeg to season it. When the batter (read brey for frey) is made, take a small mortar that is glazed on the inside and also nicely smooth and even outside and that holds about a seidlein. Spread ashes on the hearth and set the mortar on it so that it stands evenly. Make a fire that burns brightly and set it by the fire at a distance. You must not have hot coals beneath. They must be baked by the fire. Then take fat in a pan and let it boil up very hot. Then pour some into the dough (brenn den eins in taig) and stir it well with a spoon, but do not use too much. Taker the rest of the hot fat and pour it into the mortar. Swirl it to cover the walls (schwenk es fein drinn umb) and leave a little in the mortar, but not too full. Than take a cover (stuertzlein) that covers it well and lay this into the fire so that it glows. And when you take it off the fire, throw it briefly into cold water and place it quickly over the mortar. Do this often, so that it always has a hot cover. You must not place coals around it or it will stick. Also turn the mortar and do not leave it alone. When it (the dough inside) hardens, turn it over, the bottom to the top. It must cook well for two or three hours before it comes out done. When you think it is well cooked, take it out. Take a griddle, lay it on entire and lay coals underneath so that it browns nicely all over. Draw out the fat, then slice it like apple fritters (kuechlein von Apffeln). Then lay it into a bowl and pour on the Lebersultz. If it is too thick, take Malvasyer (malmsey wine) and pour it into the Lebersultzen. Take the Tellerbrodt and lay it at the bottom of the bowl, and also take a roast chicken or pigeon. Cut that in half and then lay it on the Tellerbrodt, pour the Lebersultzen over it and serve it to eat. But when the Lebersultzen has boiled, it must be thicker than a weinmuss (spoon dish of wine), and it becomes thicker yet when it stands. You may well keep that, it lasts half a quarter of a year. When you wish to eat it later, add Malvasyer or good firnen (?) wine.

14 How to bake kuechlein that are round

Also add Weinberlin (type of raisin) into the Lebersultzen with a dry (altbackenen) weck loaf. Pound that small and fry it and add pounded sugar. Stir it altogether thoroughly. Take the raisins, a large quantity, and add them to the bread. Beat eggs and strain them so that the shells (huelsen) come out, and pour that over the bread so that it turns nicely thick. Stir it together with a spoon like cheese fritter batter (kaes kuechlein taig) and then fry them well. Roll them and turn them over (welger wende sie umb) so that they become round.

I am fairly sure all of these recipes are garbled, but there is a solid core to them that looks like it makes sense. But that is just the beginning.

Recipe 12 is for a gingerbread-based sauce that is called Lebersultz, a ‘liver sauce’ or ‘liver galantine’. there are a number of recipes for such sauces surviving, but this one does not actually involve liver, and I do not think it is an accidental omission. It may be a sign that the gingerbread sauces we still encounter in south Germany today stem from bread-thickened liver concoctions, with liver leaving the stage much like the mincemeat in mince pies did. The recipe itself is not always clear and I think some points were lost in transmission, but it is detailed and clearly tries to present exhaustive instructions. For one thing, we actually have guidance to the quantitiy of spices, and it is impressive.

Recipe 13 looks equally garbled, and is stylistically similar enough to believe it comes from the same ultimate source even if it was not logically linked to the previous one. Again, we have the same careful instructions, not always clear, but trying hard to describe small details. In this case, what it described is a kind of Mörserkuchen, an egg and bread dish baked in a greased mortar. The technique was familiar a century earlier, and there is no reason to think any competent cook particularly needed detailed instruction in the 1550s. still, it is interesting to read how it should be done, and the idea of using slices of the resulting loaf to serve under chickens in a gingerbread sauce is interesting, though the whole package sounds a little starchy.

Recipe 14 is for small fritters, in themselves undistnguished (and again, garbled), but these, too, are to be served in the same sauce. The whole is reminiscent of a similar passage in the Kuchenmaistrey where a number of different things are described as going with the same basic sauce, in this case one actually involving liver. I am not sure I would want to try this one for its culinary qualities, but it is interesting as a way of presenting food and for studying culinary technique.

The short Kuenstlichs aund Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch was first printed in Augsburg in 1559 and reprinted in Nuremberg in 1560 and subsequently. Despite its brevity, it is interesting especially as it contains many recipes for küchlein, baked or deep-fried confections, that apparently played a significant role in displaying status. We do not know who the famous cook‘ referenced in the title may have been or if he ever existed.

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