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Czech food on the brain + Flour types in different countries

Czech food on the brain + Flour types in different countries
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  • Czech food on the brain + Flour types in different countries

    Post #1 - December 22nd, 2019, 6:34 am
    Post #1 - December 22nd, 2019, 6:34 am Post #1 - December 22nd, 2019, 6:34 am
    Hi,

    Recently on WGN-TV there was a demonstration of German bread dumplings. Ever since seeing this, my mind has been thinking about Czech food.

    As things unfold in the internet, I bumped into a Czech food and culture group on Facebook. One ingredient keeps popping up all the time: Wondra. This is something I keep around to help fix a gravy, because it dissolves and does not clump. For Czechs living in the USA, it is a substitution for the Czech flour used to make bread dumplings.

    I found this link talking about Czech flours:

    Hladka
    This flour is the smoothest of all the Czech flours and is used when making anything delicate and fluffy, it is probably most often used in Czech cooking for Christmas cookies and gingerbread. Hladka flour is the most similar to all-purpose flour.

    Polohrubá
    This is a semi-coarse flour that has about a 3% higher protein content than the all-purpose flour we know which means that most things you make with it will likely turn out tougher and chewier, but it is still used quiet a bit in Czech cooking for breads and such.

    Hrubá
    This is a coarse flour, it is not used much, except in the famous bread dumplings. It is great for soaking up liquid, but it is definitely not a good substitute for all-purpose flour.

    Krupice
    This is the coarsest of all the Czech flours, it is very similar in texture to what we know as semolina. Krupice is rarely used but it is the main ingredient in krupicová kaše which is basically a Czech version of cream of wheat. Many recipes also add it to potato dumplings.


    In the article on Czech flours, there was a link to 'Shopping for Czech foods in the USA.' For ex-pats, this kind of information is gold. If you want to replicate a taste found abroad, this is really useful information.

    A few days ago, a friend dropped off a center-cut pork roast. This is a person who likes to cook fresh meat. This caste off was previously frozen, defrosted for two days and now she feared it was bad. It was perfectly fine and contributed by my wish for a Czech meal. I seasoned it with salt and pepper, seared it in a oven-suitable pot, sprinkled a heavy coating of caraway, chopped onions and added water. To reduce evaporation, I put a layer of wax paper as a film above the roast. It cooked for less than two hours at 350 degrees in the oven, turning once.

    When I asked about what kind of gravy to make for this roast, I was informed natural gravy. They cautioned to make sure the meat fit snuggly keep it closed to reduce evaporation or loss of those precious juices. Sure, some suggested beer instead of water, but beer is not something I regularly keep.

    What I should have done first was make dough for bread dumplings, because they needed one or two hours to rise. Consequently, I made potato dumplings using Wondra instead of flour, because that's seems to be what Czechs abroad do.

    While sauerkraut with bacon seemed to be what was preferred. I went with what I itched for: sweet-sour red cabbage.

    Dinner soon will be some beef with a rich mushroom gravy and bread dumplings. I could probably enjoy the gravy without the dumplings. The dumplings need the gravy, oh I cannot wait.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #2 - December 22nd, 2019, 9:33 am
    Post #2 - December 22nd, 2019, 9:33 am Post #2 - December 22nd, 2019, 9:33 am
    Interesting. I wonder if those correspond neatly to any of the Polish flours. If you go into Shop & Save's Polish aisle, you will see a bewildering assortment of various flours sold in 1 kg bags; some of the bags I know, like rye, spelt, graham, etc., but they also have an assortment of styles like luksusowa ("luxury") and various ones named after places, etc. I've never been able to figure what they all are out.

    I did a quick google search, and I did find this post on a forum about some of the Polish flours, but it doesn't have detail regarding protein levels or anything like that.

    Main types of wheat flours:

    - mąka poznańska, typ 500 - recommended for dough for noodles, pierogi, pizza, for sauces (as densifier);
    - mąka luksusowa, typ 550 - recommended for dough for yeast cakes and fried cakes;
    - mąka tortowa, typ 450 - recommended for dough for sponge cake or sponge cake with fat;
    - mąka krupczatka, typ 500 - recommended for shortcrust pastry and "półkruche" (shortcrust pastry with cream, egg whites and baking soda), "ciasto parzone" (steamed dough/pastry???) and maccaroni

    - mąka wrocławska, typ 500 - recommended for dough for yeast cakes, puff pastry (ciasto francuskie) and rough-puff pastry (ciasto półfrancuskie), pancakes, soups and sauces


    Digging a little further online, it seems mąka krupczatka is what many say works for Czech dumplings, in addition to the Wondra substitutions, or a 50-50 mix of Wondra and AP flour. It looks like a lot of the Czech language recipes use polohrubá mouka (half-coarse flour) and, from what I can tell, mąka krupczatka should be a direct substitute for that.

    Hmmm... a little bit of experimentation is in order, though I'm not 100% sure Shop & Save sells mąka krupczatka. It's not a name I recognize, but it's also not a name that I would have remembered had I seen it.
  • Post #3 - December 22nd, 2019, 11:18 am
    Post #3 - December 22nd, 2019, 11:18 am Post #3 - December 22nd, 2019, 11:18 am
    The variances in Czech flour was startling.

    In the Soviet Union, there was only wheat flour available during this era. I wonder if this would still be true now.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #4 - December 22nd, 2019, 10:40 pm
    Post #4 - December 22nd, 2019, 10:40 pm Post #4 - December 22nd, 2019, 10:40 pm
    Bread flour has too high a gluten content for most Czech recipes. The closest comparison in America is Wondra, or even a cake flour. All purpose works in a pinch because it stands in the middle as far as gluten content. Whole wheat behaves differently as well.

    This comment reminded me that European AP flour has a lower protein content than the AP flour we encounter. I recall reading this lower protein content was why quick breads (banana bread, for example) are not found in Europe.

    White Lily flour has a lower protein content than the AP flour we buy locally.

    Canadian Robin Hood brand flour was another the Czech's seem to like. They pictured a label where it stated on the package, "Best of Blending Flour."

    Protein per per 30 gr (1/4 cup)
    Wondra - 3 gram protein, 10%
    Robin Hood AP and Easy Blending (which appears to be a Wondra equivalent) - 4 gram protein, 13.3%
    White Lily - 2 gram protein, 6.6%
    King Arthur Flour
    - All-Purpose Flour: 11.7% protein
    - Bread Flour: 12.7% protein
    - White Whole Wheat Flour: 13% protein
    - Whole Wheat Flour: 14% protein
    - Self-Rising Flour: 8.5% protein
    - Italian-Style Flour: 8.5% protein
    Swans Down cake flour: - 2 gram protein, 6.6%

    I found this comparative chart on flours across many countries.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #5 - December 23rd, 2019, 10:46 am
    Post #5 - December 23rd, 2019, 10:46 am Post #5 - December 23rd, 2019, 10:46 am
    I stopped by that Shop & Save today, and they did have both the Polish mąka krupczatka, and the Robin Hood flour (the Robin Hood flour was in the Polish flour section, towards the left of that aisle--one of the left-most flours.) I'll have to pick up some Wondra, as well, (which Shop & Save did not have) and do a test soon. It seems to me the big difference in Czech flour is the coarseness of the grain. The mąka krupczatka definitely has something akin to a very fine semolina-like grain to it, and not the dusty/powdery grain of AP or bread flour. From what I've been reading, it seems the hrubá mouka is coarser yet for knedliky, but a number of Czech language recipes I found call for polohrubá flour, so it seems both can be used, I guess depending on the texture you want? I'm curious. I found this Youtube recipe where the cook is using the coarse flour, and you can see how when it's tipped from one bowl into the other that it has an almost fine sandy texture to it. The mąka krupczatka is like that, but I assume even more finely ground.
  • Post #6 - December 23rd, 2019, 1:34 pm
    Post #6 - December 23rd, 2019, 1:34 pm Post #6 - December 23rd, 2019, 1:34 pm
    Binko wrote:The mąka krupczatka definitely has something akin to a very fine semolina-like grain to it, and not the dusty/powdery grain of AP or bread flour. From what I've been reading, it seems the hrubá mouka is coarser yet for knedliky, but a number of Czech language recipes I found call for polohrubá flour, so it seems both can be used, I guess depending on the texture you want? I'm curious. I found this Youtube recipe where the cook is using the coarse flour, and you can see how when it's tipped from one bowl into the other that it has an almost fine sandy texture to it. The mąka krupczatka is like that, but I assume even more finely ground.

    I watched the video a few times. I recall buying something in Moscow that had a grainy quality similar (if not the same) seen in this video. I used it like cornmeal to sprinkle underneath pizza. I didn't have another other use for it nor saw anyone else using it, either.

    I look forward to the outcome of your experiments.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #7 - December 24th, 2019, 9:08 am
    Post #7 - December 24th, 2019, 9:08 am Post #7 - December 24th, 2019, 9:08 am
    Why do Czechs eat carp for Christmas

    Plus a link to Christmas carp recipes
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #8 - December 24th, 2019, 11:27 am
    Post #8 - December 24th, 2019, 11:27 am Post #8 - December 24th, 2019, 11:27 am


    Also traditional in Poland (though we personally never do carp at our Christmas Eve dinner, as nobody really likes it), and it was traditional in Hungary when I lived there as well. In fact, the days before Christmas, you'd find vendors on the streets with a container of live carp that they would freshly process for you for your holiday meal. At least that was the case in the early 2000s.
  • Post #9 - December 24th, 2019, 11:38 am
    Post #9 - December 24th, 2019, 11:38 am Post #9 - December 24th, 2019, 11:38 am
    My Czech friend (who now lives here in Chicago) tells me that growing up, one Christmas tradition in her home town was that a live carp was released into the town's indoor swimming pool, and that the local children would jump in and try to catch it. Apparently, it was a big deal catching the fish and a real honor for the family that ended up with it. She never liked carp much, though and typically makes svickova for Christmas dinner.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #10 - December 24th, 2019, 3:57 pm
    Post #10 - December 24th, 2019, 3:57 pm Post #10 - December 24th, 2019, 3:57 pm
    The Polish nurse at the doctor's office knew already all my new-found knowledge: she was aware the Czech's have raised carp for 700 years. She also keeps a carp scale in her wallet from Christmas Eve dinner.

    For her family, she serves a symbolic amount of carp, because they prefer salmon.

    In Moscow, too, there were many who had carp, too, for New Years (Christmas in the Orthodox church overlap).

    When my Dad and I had carp in Moscow, we cooked it West Lake style from a Chinese cookbook. I think I need to dig up that recipe to make sometime soon. I recall I had no fresh ginger, though I had some candied.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast

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