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  • Biersuppe

    This is a very old dish in Germany, at least from the Middle Ages.

    From Time/Life's Foods of the World - The Cooking of Germany, 1969:

    As the Middle ages drew to a close and the Renaissance began, German life changed. Cities became more powerful, and with them, a new urban middle class. An age of trade began, bringing new goods and grerat wealth to Germany....In terms of food, the results of the trading reached down to the actual consumer; at the end of the 15th Century, Bozen and other markets of the inland Tyrol dold such imported delicacies as capers, rice, almonds, figs, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, currants from Smyrna, Polish mustard, cinnamon and precious sugar....

    As the renaissance progressed, the art of fine cooking sifted down from the nobles to the rising middle classes, who quickly adopted an extravagantstyle of eating and drinking. In Germany, the age of Humanism and the Reformation brought a new freedom of behaviour and a new luxury of living. Now the new bourgeoisie could keep up with princes and nobles when it came to feasting.

    Seven hundred guestswere invited to the wedding of a Berlin maiden at the end of the 16th Century. The meal started with a beer soup heavily spiced with pepper and ginger, served on a table set with enormous cheeses. The first full course included a gruel of millet tinted with saffron and enriched with sausages, mutton and kale, veal tinted with saffron, roast venison with garlic and onions, and roast baor and spice cakes. The second course brough ham and bread, a second gruel of millet, bread with caraway and fennel, boiled fish, a selection of venison baked in a crust, and a cream of almonds. The beverages included spiced wine and four kinds of beer.
    Here's one recipe, from Time/Life:

    Heisse Biersuppe
    Hot Beer Soup

    To serve 4:
    • 3 12-ounce bottles or cans of light beer
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 1/3 cup sour cream
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • Freshly-ground black pepper
    Pour the beer and sugar into a heavy 4- to 5-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved, then remove the pan from the heat. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with a wire whisk or fork to break them up, and beat in the sour cream a little at a time. Stir in about 1/4 cup of the hot beer into the mixture, and then whisk it into the beer. Add the cinnamon, salt and a few grindings of pepper. Return the pan to low heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until the soup thickens slightly. Do not let boil or it may curdle.
    Taste for seasoning and serve at once from a heated tureen or in individual soup bowls.

    Another source, Culinaria Germany, agrees that this is a very old dish, but gives a slightly different perspective:

    Since the Middle Ages, beer soup has been a common dish in Germany, and has generally been consumed in the morning for breakfast. In once used to be thickened stodgily with flour so that it made a filling meal. It has, however, been refined over the centuries with the addition of lemon peel, cinammon, sugar and raisins, as well as egg yolk, which combine to give the soup the final, stylish touch.
    Culinaria's recipe for beer soup is from Munich;it has the same base (light beer, sugar, salt, pepper, egg yolks and cream), but is spiced with lemon, nutmeg and caraway:

    Münchner Biersuppe
    Munich Beer Soup

    2 tablespoons butter
    4 cups (1 litre) light beer
    Salt, pepper and sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground caraway
    Apinch of ground nutmeg
    The juice of 1 lemon
    2 egg yolks
    1/3 cup (100 millilitres) cream
    4 tablespoons croutons

    Melt the butter in a pan. Add the beer, season with salt and pepper, a pinch of sugar, caraway, nutmeg and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, and removce from the heat at once. Whisk the egg yolks with the cream, and stir into the soup. Serve with croutons.
    Culinaria Also has a recipe for Sorbian beer soup, which reflects Germany's Slavic population near Spree Forest and Lausitz Bergland:

    [Germany's western Slavs] presereve theri own language and culture as well as cuisine in the Oberlausitz, Saxony and Niederlausitz, Brandenburg. With their colourful regional folk costumes, with the splendid bonnets, and their folk festivals, they have made their mark on the whole region....[For] more than a thousand years they lived in a largely peaceful manner with their German enighbours....
    The Sorbs are also known for their Easter traditions - including beautifully-decorated Easter eggs - and the Bird's Wedding:

    [This is] a children's festival which is celebrated on January 25th, predominantly in the Bautzen/Kamenz/Hoyerwerda area. As on Saint Nicholas's Day, the children put plates on the window sill or outside the door. The magpie and her bridegroom, the raven, then put candy on the plates, especially sroki, little magpies made from milk dough rolls with sugar frosting and raisins for eyes, as well as baked birds' nests and merungue birds....Later in the day, the children dress up as birds or wear their traditional costumes and celebrate a wedding.
    Here's the recipe for Sorbian beer soup:

    Sorbische Biersuppe
    Sorbian Beer Soup

    1 cup (250 millilitres) lager
    1 cup (250 millilitres) malt beer
    2 cups (500 millilitres) milk
    2 Tablespoons flour
    Scant 1/2 cup (100 grams) cream
    Pinch of salt
    1 egg, beaten
    1/2 cup (100 grams) raisins

    Mix the beers together and heat them through. In another pan, bring the milk to a boil and pour it into the beer. Blend the flour and cream together and use the mixture to thicken the soup. Bring to a boil again and season to taste with sugar and salt. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the beaten egg. Pour the soup into soup cups and sprinkle the raisins on top.
    Helfen, Wehren, Heilen
    Die Wahrheit wird euch frei machen - Shoot the bull with the boyZ

    Foods of the World Forums

  • #2

    i've been doing some reading on what constitutes the german idea of light beer, and it has nothing to do with the american version. thanks to a lot of good microbrews, a person should be able to find just the right thing. one guy said he tried it with sierra nevada pale ale and it was ok, but didn't quite work right. three that i am considering from montana breweries (i plan on making the first (heisse biersuppe) are trout slayer ale from big sky brewing:

    bayern's pilsener:

    or, based on it's description, bayern's st. wilbur weizen might be the way to go, if it's available:

    my goal is a light (in the german sense) beer that is not too bitter or "hoppy." i'm not too much of a beer expert, so it might be a bit of a walk through the forest, but finding out should be a good experience!

    will be seeing if i can get each of these today. the forst two should be a problem, but the third (the one i really want to try) might not be available due to the season.
    Helfen, Wehren, Heilen
    Die Wahrheit wird euch frei machen - Shoot the bull with the boyZ

    Foods of the World Forums