Hermann Cake's revival in the Café Wunderbar
Hermann, also known as lucky cake, lucky bread and Vatikan bread, is a sourdough made from wheat flour, which contains lactic acid bacteria, yeast and a little milk, vegetable oil or water. The dough is the basis for the so-called Hermann cakes. The special thing about it is that the preparation for the yeast dough multiplies through feeding and remains stable at the same time. This is due to enzymatic reactions of the yeast fungi that alter the dough. A similar enzymatic reaction can be observed in Kombucha.
By nature, such sourdough preparations have been known since ancient times (fermented milk and flour, possibly with the addition of honey). In German-speaking countries, the name Hermann(-dough) has been known since the 1970s at the latest. However, nothing reliable is known about the origins of the name. Usually one receives the dough from friends or acquaintances together with instructions, which are summarized in a text called Hermann letter. The origin of this custom is also unclear, but it originated at the same time as the German peace and ecology movement around 1980 and was passed on as a chain letter.
A similar dough is known in the USA under the name Amish Friendship Bread. The name Friendship Bread goes back to a sourdough bread of the Amish, who distributed this bread to needy people. However, the sweet cake recipe is not an invention of the Amish. The Hermann dough is a less sweet variant of the American recipe, adapted to the Central European taste.
Every now and then, the Café Wunderbar offers sweet and hearty cakes made out of Hermann. Just come in and find out what we made of one of his sibblings ... or get the dough and instructions from us to grow your own Hermann.