Sunday, January 16, 2011

baking ingredients in Switzerland

The Christmas baking rush inspired me to gather all the "baking in Switzerland" information in one place.

Ingredients you can find, but what's it called?
  • baking soda: aka Natron, available at any grocery, in packets near the other baking ingredients
  • baking powder: aka Backpulver, available at any grocery, in packets near the other baking ingredients
  • cocoa powder: aka Kakaopulver. Don't buy the similarly packaged version with sugar (aka Zucker) unless you are planning to make hot chocolate.
  • molasses: aka Melasse, but make sure you buy it at a Healthfood store, aka Reformhaus. Do not use the Coop Melasse, which is pretty disgusting. Only very dark "blackstrap" molasses is available here, so if you want a lighter flavor, substitute honey for part of the molasses. You could also substitute honey for all the molasses, but obviously the flavor will be different.
  • sweetened condensed milk: aka Kondensmilch gezuckert, with light blue packaging. Available at most groceries near the coffee creamers or boxed UHT milk
  • evaporated milk: aka Kondensmilch ohne zucker, with dark blue packaging
  • canned pumpkin: available for a short time around Thanksgiving at Globus, Jelmoli and some Coops. 
  • chocolate chips: most groceries carry some sort of chocolate bits near the baking stuff. You can get real chocolate chips from some of the Kosher groceries. You can also order them online. Or like most of us, simply cut up a chocolate bar.
  • semi-sweet chocolate: most regular chocolate manufacturers (like Frey & Lindt) make a chocolate bar called "Cremant" which is about 55% dark.
What you can't find (easily) in Switzerland:
  • vanilla extract: make your own or use vanilla sugar (substitute about 1 tsp of the sugar in your recipe for vanilla sugar). You can buy it at El Maiz but its very expensive. Friends have reported that the vanilla paste available at Migros and Coop is a good alternative as well.
  • brown sugar: make your own or order online. Don't get fooled the the wide range of "brown" sugars you'll see at the groceries. These are unrefined sugars that haven't been bleached white, but they are not soft like US brown sugar. Your recipe will miss the extra moisture. Occasionally you'll see Billington's Molasses Sugar at Jelmoli, Globus or Coop and this is real soft brown sugar. But it can be pricey, about 6sfr for 500gr.
  • pastry flour: not available, order online or import
  • cake flour: not available, order online or import
  • bread (high protein) flour: not available, order online or import. Or buy some Vital Wheat Gluten and add 1TB per cup of flour, which is what I do now.
  • unsweetened chocolate: not available (I've heard of one source, but I haven't verified it). For each ounce of unsweetened chocolate, use 3 TB unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 TB butter or oil.
  • jello: available at El Maiz, Jelmoli sometimes, and the Kosher grocery on Waffenplatzstrasse.
Here are a few CH online shops where you can find US food items:
American Market
Taste of America
Taste of America

I'm sure I missed a few things, so leave a comment if you think of anything else that should be on this list or have another source that I've missed.


Astrid said...

Wonderful list Tanya, thanks! About vanilla extract, Migros and Coop have some fabulous vanilla paste in a small jar, next to the vanilla sugar and baking powder. It is not exactly the same as extract, but can be used in the same way. This stuff is really strong, and so good I often don't bother with a vanilla bean when it's called for by a recipe.

tobiaslinder said...

Dear expat chow
Thank you for your info on the ingredients. For a while I ordered the vanilla extract from the King Arthur shop but for a few years Migros has now something called "P√Ęte de Vanille" (vanilla paste) in stock which completely fulfills my needs.

Abaker said...

Awesome, thanks for doing this!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Tanya, great blog, really enjoyed it! I found unsweetened chocolate squares at a shop in the Niederdorf in Zurich called Schwartzenbach. It is a really great shop, you feel like you have travelled back in time. The chocolate was in a little glass case that the sales lady had to open with a key!!! Too funny what the Swiss protect!!!! Anyway, it is near the end of the Niederdorf (the Hauptbahnhof end). They also have neat things that you can't get elsewhere, and good dried cranberries, holiday specials, etc.

Tanya D said...

Yes, I heard you could get unsweetened chocolate at Schwartzenbach but I also heard it was pricey. How much was it?

Michelle said...

Before I forget I wanted to ask if you've seen any flaked/sweetened coconut? I've seen the "freeze-dried" kind by the nuts. Any suggestions?

tanya said...

Michelle - I've never seen the flaked sweetened coconut here. I've imported mine from the US to make coconut macaroons. Perhaps the expat food online shops here have it. I don't have a good substitute for it.

Anonymous said...

Just moved here and so glad I stumbled across your blog. See that you posted oatmeal (rolled oats and steel cut) on some of your entries and was wondering if you could kindly tell me where to buy that? Not sure if I can use Museli the same as Quaker Oats? Many thanks.

Tanya D said...

Re: oatmeal. You can get rolled oats and quick oats at most groceries, including Migros and Coop. It's called Haferflocken. It's not the Muesli (which usually has other grains and sometimes dried fruit and nuts) but usually right next to it in plainer packaging. Good luck and welcome to Zurich!

deepa said...

Hi is lemon extract available in coop or migros? if so which brand is better and under what name should i search for it?

Tanya D said...

Hi Deepa,

I'm sorry for such a late reply. I've only seen Lemon Aroma (available everywhere), but I'm pretty sure it's quite different from what Americans think of as lemon extract. Lemon Aroma is much less strong and typically you pour in the whole little bottle, not just a few drops.

At Real in Singen, DE, I saw Lemonschale (lemon peel) in several packaged forms, which would probably be a more concentrated flavor than lemon aroma.

You can buy real lemon extract for 8.90 at this online swiss shop:

Of course, you could make your own lemon extract with vodka. Check this blog:

Happy baking!

- Tanya

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