German Hazelnut Bread

Focaccia in Italy. Chapati in Kenya. Matzo in Israel. Naan in India. Tortilla in Mexico. Whichever border I cross on the earth, some kind of “bread” always seems to appear on the table. Bread, a universal staple food, has been created, loved and shared by people all around the world for thousands of years. Today I’m making German hazelnut bread in my California kitchen. German breads mean “borderlessness” to me, because I discovered my love for them while knocking down the Berlin wall during their reunification in 1990.

To start, I preheat the oven to 350F. Separately, I ground 1 ¼ cups hazelnuts in a food processor and roast in a cast iron pot for 5 minutes. Then I mix it with 2 cups flour, ½ cup wheat flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt & ½ teaspoon nutmeg. In a separate bowl, I whisk a 1/3 cup roasted hazelnut oil, 1 cup buttermilk and 1 egg and mix it with all dry ingredients. Then I pour the batter into a medium size loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes.

The aroma of the hazelnut bread baking in my oven makes my whole kitchen smell like a delicious candy store. During the entire bake time, my mouth is so watery that I can’t wait for a bite of the first slice. And, how heavenly the warm bite tastes! Roasted hazelnut oil doesn’t only moisten the bread’s crunchy, dense texture, but it also enhances the nutty flavor of the bread. It’s so flavorful that you wouldn’t need any nutella or butter. So the next time you feel like experimenting with a “new and different” kind of bread, give this German hazelnut bread a try. It may open up a new “border” you had never imagined and bring people together in your dining room. Happy cooking!

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