Swiss Schlangenbrot (Grilled “Snakebread”)

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For the past 6 years, we have been spending a long bank holiday weekend in May in le Plateau des Mille Etangs (plateau of 1000 ponds) in the Southern Vosges in the region of Alsace, France. It has become one of the highlights of my year and has become an annual tradition of ours. 4-5 days are spent in a remote cabin in the middle of nature’s beauty with my family and the family of brother-in-law. It’s a paradise for children and adults and time is only spent on fishing, paddle boating, taking naps in hammocks, flower picking, reading, playing card games and of course cooking. This is a place where apéro starts as early as you want it to with a glass of Crémant or Cidre and almost every meal is cooked on the grill. This trip really marks the start of the warm weather and witnessing spring in bloom in this beautiful natural paradise is a privilege.

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Last year was the first time I was introduced to Schlangenbrot, which is a dough that is rolled out on a stick like a snake and is baked over an open fire. It is a very common dish to enjoy while camping because the dough is super easy to make and of course, you need an open fire to bake it. It’s as ubiquitous to the Swiss as s’mores are to Americans. This year, with the help of my lovely sister-in-law, we wrote out the recipe and added in fresh rosemary. Let the grill season begin!

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INGREDIENTS (approx. 6 bread sticks):

4 cups all-purpose flour (525 g)

1 1/2 cups warm water (300 g)

2.5 tsp dry yeast (7 g)

1 tsp salt (1 TL)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (1 EL)

6 sticks for baking

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place 4 cups of flour in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Make a well in the center of the flour and add in 2.5 tsp of the dry yeast in the center and add in 1/2 of warm water. Mix the yeast and warm water to make a sludge and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle 1 tsp salt in the perimeter of the flour.
  4. After about 10 minutes, add in another 1/2 cup of warm water to your dough mixture and start to mix with your hands. Add in the last 1/2 cup of warm water and 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Mix the dough with your hands until the flour is well incorporated.
  5. Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and knead on a flat surface for approximately 15-20 minutes until air bubbles start to form in your dough and the dough is smooth.
  6. Form a ball with the dough and place it back in the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel on top and place in a warm spot for at least 1 hour to rest. I let mine rest for 90-12o minutes.
  7. Once the dough has rested, finely chop fresh rosemary and fold it into the dough.
  8. Break the dough into 6 equal pieces and roll them out into “snakes” with your hands.
  9. Wrap each “snake” onto a stick and grill them over an open fire. If you have a grill over the fire, you can place them directly down on the grill or you can roast them over the fire like marshmallows.
  10. Make sure you turn the sticks continually to bake the dough slowly and to achieve a nice brown crust around the bread. Cooking times will vary due to the temperature of the fire, but make sure the dough is completely cooked through.
  11. Serve with extra virgin olive seasoned with sea salt and herbs and enjoy!

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