This is a traditional recipe from a region called Sauerland in Westphalia, a part of Western Germany where I live. In earlier times, this potato dish was actually a meal for the poor because it’s made mostly with potatoes, and they wouldn’t need many additional ingredients.
A typical side dish would have been sugar beet syrup or applesauce and pumpernickel, a regional type of black bread. These sweeter items would balance out the savory taste of the cake.
Today, things have changed. The potthucke has become a popular recipe for local specialty restaurants to serve, offering different variations and presenting it as an almost gourmet food.
What is there to say about the strange name for this item? In the old days, the potato dough had to cook in the oven for several hours. It was “sitting in a pot” – and this is what the name potthucke is all about.
You won’t need a cooking time as long as the people who were cooking with charcoal did, but a bit of preparation time is necessary (approx. 1 to 1 ½ hours) because you will be working with both raw and cooked potatoes. They will be mixed with some bacon, onion and eggs that hold everything together.
In the end, you will have a savory type of cake/bread that you can cut into slices and may serve with a fresh green salad and sour cream. If you want to make it distinctly German, have a cold beer and cheese pairing with it, too!
After giving this savory cake a try, make sure to explore our equally German baked onion tart recipe as well. You’ll love it!
I remember when my town held a potthucke festival back in 1997. Everyone was invited to stop by and have a slice of this local specialty. Since then, this traditional delicacy has been underrepresented in my town, but sometimes it still makes an appearance at an annual gourmet festival.
If you ask me, this is far too seldom. Sharing this recipe can help to give it an international comeback. Why not try it out?
The recipe is for a 10-inch loaf pan, and a drier, more mealy variety of potato works best.
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Photos by Nina-Kristin Isensee, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Nina-Kristin Isensee
Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.