Milk Fritters

I’m in the process of preparing for an online teaching event and thus busier than usual, so again I will be limiting you to a short recipe from the Kuenstlichs und Fuertreffliche Kochbuch:

L0029211 A woman milking a cow, woodcut, 1547 Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images A woman milking a cow. Coloured Woodcut 1491 Ortus sanitatis Arnaldus de Villanova, Published: 1491 Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

67 To make Milk Fritters (Milchküchlein)

Take milk in a pan, as much as you wish to have, and do not let it boil fully, but let it become quite warm. Take flour in a bowl, and once the milk it hot, pour it into the bowl and stir it well. Do not pour in too much, let iut be nicely thick as for gebruete kuechlein, bake (make) it a little thicker. Then take eggs and stir them well in a small pot (heffelein). Salt them as much as they require and pour them in (to the bowl). Beat it well, and take many eggs, that way they rise well. The dough should be like Bruetekuechel dough. Above all fry them while the dough is warm from the milk, that way they rise nicely. Do not use too much milk, but all the more eggs, that way they turn out good. Make the dough much thicker than streublein batter and lay it in (to the hot fat) with a spoon. Do not make the fat too hot, otherwise they become brown, and fry them slowly. Give them a good heat at the end, that way they do not collapse (fallen sie nit ein) and turn out good and not greasy (schmaltzig). They look just like Bruetekuechlein.

Milk, flour, salt, lots of eggs, and the whole should come out looking a lot like Mutzen (similar to what North Americans know as donut holes) or small Berliner, I assume. What makes this recipe interesting is the attention to technique. Clearly, this is dish whose success or failure hinges on getting the proportion of egg to milk, the consistency of the dough, and the cooking temperature right. In the absence of either precise measurements or a universal terminology for describing such things, the author is struggling to explain what would surely be absolutely clear to an observer.

The short Kuenstlichs und 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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