What is it?
This German specialty is a kind of sausage loaf.
How is it called in German?
“Leberkäse” or “Fleischkäse”
“Fleisch” is the German word for “meat”.
Cultural Background Story
Karl Theodor, Elector of Bavaria
He reigned as Prince-elector and Count Palatine from 1742, as Duke of Jülich and Berg from 1742 and also as prince-elector and Duke of Bavaria from 1777 to his death. He was a member of the House of Palatinate-Sulzbach, a branch of the House of Wittelsbach.
Elector Karl Theodor brought his own butcher to Bavaria with him over 200 years ago. The butcher created these tasty sausage loaves from hacked up pork and beef, which were then baked in bread forms.
The original Bavarian “Leberkäse” didn’t contain any liver (Leber), which is still the case today. This wasn’t the case outside of Bavaria, where there were stil guiding principles in place from the German food book for meat and meat production that stated that “Leberkäse” had to have a certain amount of liver in it.
Some argue, that the name “Leberkäse” originally came from the addition of liver to the recipe. But the name actually goes back to the old German stem “Lab” meaning loaf and “Kasi” meaning “mass”.
German Sausage Loaf
It looks like a pink meatloaf with a golden crust and is made from ground meat and a special spice mix.
Eaten warm as a main meal or snack and as cold cuts for “Abendbrot” (German dinner) – the classic from Bavarian cuisine is literally on everyone’s lips.
It is especially loved cut into finger thick slices and served warm in a crispy bread roll. The “Leberkassemmel” is one of the most popular lunch ideas for on the go.
Step-by-Step Video – Coming Soon!
German Sausage Loaf (Fleischkäse - Leberkäse)
- 2.5 pounds ground pork
- 2 pounds lean ground beef 93% Lean/7% Fat
- 1.5 pounds pork belly alternative: bacon cured thick cut in case you can´t find curing salt
- 4-6 cups crushed ice
- 1 tbsp. curing salt i.e. Prague powder or Insta Cure, NOT Morton Tender Quick
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1 tsp. white pepper
- 1 tsp. ground marjoram
- 1 tsp. ground thyme
- ¼ tsp. cardamom powder
- ½ tsp. nutmeg powder
- ¼ tsp. ginger powder
- ¼ tsp. mustard powder
- 1 tbsp. baking powder or cutter process aid or phosphate
- 1 tbsp. corn starch
- 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 onion
- Place the frozen ground meat about 2-3 hours before you want to use it into the fridge to slightly start to defrost it. The meat should NOT be completely thawed, it should be still semi-frozen to the point that you are able to cut it.
- Cut the pork belly into small slices or cubes, add them to a freezer bag and place them into the freezer until the slices begin to freeze slightly.
- In the meantime, add ice cubes to a food processor and pulse into crushed ice. Add the ice to a bowl and place it into the freezer.
- Chop the onion and the garlic roughly and add them to the food processor and pulse them finely.
- Add the chilled pork belly to the food processor and pulse again to a smooth consistency.
- Add the mixture to a stand mixer bowl with a paddle attachment.
- Cut the semi-frozen meat into smaller chunks and add them slowly to the stand mixer and blend on medium-low to a smooth consistency with a kind of a shininess that indicates a successful emulsion.
- Check the temperature occasionally and add crushed ice in case the temperatures raise over 55F.
- Slowly add the curing salt while blending.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 F and add about two cups of water to an oven safe dish.
- Add the sausage loaf mass to 3 small bread pans. Make sure to fill the pans tightly. Use a spatula to press the mass down.
- Even out the top first with a spatula and then with wet fingers.
- Clean the rims and slash the tops with a few diagonal cuts to a diamond shape.
- Bake for 20 min. at 200 F.
- Raise the temperature to 320 F and bake for another 45 to 60 min. or until the top is golden brown and the core temperature reaches about 165 F.
There are several recipes using “Leberkäse”. One popular dish is “Strammer Max”, a slice of “Leberkäse” served on a slice of bread and topped with a fried egg.