Get ready for Hungarian treats at the Bakehouse!Posted on
One of the best parts of being a baker is the opportunity to keep learning. The variety of breads and pastries around the world is remarkable. The most difficult part of the opportunity is deciding where to start! We have decided to delve deeply into the baking tradition of a part of the world that we know only a little about. After doing some really difficult research, testing, and tasting, we decided to start our exploration in Hungary (special thank you to our friends Jane and Steven Voss for their help). So, for I’d guess quite a few years to come we’ll be sharing with you our new found knowledge of Hungarian baking and food ways. We hope you’ll enjoy taking this long foray into a new baking tradition with us.
Hungary has an incredibly rich and varied food tradition reaching back at least 1500 years. Hungarian cuisine has influences from the nomadic ways of the Magyars (the ethnic founders of Hungary) and invasions of the Turkish Ottoman Empire and the Hapsburgs in Austria. At one point in its history Hungary was the garden for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, not allowed to do any manufacturing! The silver lining was an even greater dedication to local and fresh produce and a continued focus on an already rich cooking tradition.
Many cultures in the world have developed cuisines, but they do not all have a great baking tradition. Hungary has it all, though, and its baked goods include incredible breads and desserts, fancy professional versions and delicious rustic home baking traditions.
The final reason we chose Hungary is its connection to Eastern European Jewish history and cooking. Hungary had a large Jewish population before World War II, which was decimated in the last nine months of the war. Since the early 1990s, however, there’s been a renaissance of Jewish cooking in Budapest. This connection to the roots of our organization’s beginnings with traditional Jewish delicatessen food is very appealing. As we learn more, we will begin to bring you different Eastern European Jewish food traditions to enjoy.
So when can you expect to start to see Hungarian specialties in our shop and at the Delicatessen? We’re working on recipes right now—cabbage strudel, langos (a traditional bread), Rigo Jansci (a light chocolate cake from the coffeehouse era in Budapest), and walnut beigle (a yeasted sweet bread filled with walnuts). Frank, Ari, and I will be traveling to Budapest in September and we plan to share our new baking knowledge with you in October.
Do you have a Hungarian food you’d love for us to make? A story you’d like to share? Please let us know. We’re hungry for Hungary!
Amy Emberling -Bakehouse managing partner