They lend the Bavarian panorama its typical picture postcard idyll: Lots of cattle on lush green meadows and mountain pastures. Besides outstanding milk, Bayerische Rindfleisch g.g.A. (Bavarian beef PGI) in particular is highly regarded and popular far beyond Bavaria's borders.
- There are about 3.5 million cows in Bavaria. The German state therefore comes out on top in a national comparison.
- A distinction is made between milk, meat and dual purpose breeds, i.e. the cattle well suited to milk as well as meat production. About 1.22 million cows produce delicious Bavarian milk, about 1.9 million cows are reared for meat processing.
- Bavarian beef PGI is highly regarded due to its high quality and its outstanding taste. Only when the cow has been born, reared and fattened in Bavaria is the meat allowed be designated as Bavarian beef PGI.
- Bavarian beef PGI originates exclusively with the traditional Bavarian breed as well as grey, brown, yellow breeds and with the Pinzgauer and Murnau-Werdenfelser breeds.
Apart from its outstanding taste, it is first and foremost the certainty attached to Bavarian beef PGI which makes it so unique to the consumer: The certainty of having a full understanding of where the beef originates.
In fact, only those animals that are held, reared and fattened in Bavaria from birth and are not transported for more than three hours up until slaughter are awarded the label of origin "protected geographical indication" by the EU.
Bavarian beef PGI: This designation may only be assigned to selected, traditional breeds from Bavaria: Apart from the well-known and most widespread breeds such as grey, brown, yellow breeds, the old Pinzgauer breed and the now rare Murnau-Werdenfelser are among those breeds awarded PGI status.
Time and rest are crucial to Bavarian beef PGI: Cows are certified Bavarian beef PGI are given ample time to grow and fatten up in a natural way. Animals that are kept in a stable are given hay, corn silage, coarse grain and concentrate. The grazing animals also feed off very fresh grass and herbs on the meadows and Bavarian mountain pastures.
Transportation time to the slaughterhouse is not allowed to last for more than three hours in accordance with PGI regulations. The animals are therefore exposed to less stress which has a direct effect on the taste and quality of the meat: Physical exertion increases the stress hormones and impacts the pH value of the meat. If the pH value is too high, the meat may exhibit signs of DFD, in other words be either dark, firm or dry. If the pH value decreases too quickly after slaughter, the meat will in turn be pale, watery and structureless. The pH value of Bavarian beef PGI is not allowed to exceed 6.0. At this value the muscle tissue of the meat is able to produce sufficient lactic acid for consistent maturation after slaughter.
The maturation process begins directly after slaughter: Depending on its condition, the meat rests for five to ten days before it is carved. After that time the meat matures depending on the age of the cow, usually one day per month of life. The longer the meat is left to mature, the greater the decrease in weight, thereby creating a stronger and more intense taste.
The keyword associated with the special quality of Bavarian beef is transparency: It is always possible to carry out a check for PGI-certified Bavarian cow showing a record of its birth right up to slaughter in Bavaria.
Each cow in Germany is recorded in the national database immediately after being born and is assigned a personal identification number. The cow carries this number throughout its life: The special earmarks that are placed on cows provide information on the country/region of origin and its breeders. In addition, the earmark also shows the number assigned to the animal in the national database. In a matter of speaking, the earmarks are the ID of the cow and ensure comprehensive documentation.
About 12.7 million cows are reared in Germany with Bavaria clearly in first place with about 3.2 million cows in a national comparison. Bavarian cattle breeding enjoys a very good reputation internationally: Breeders treasure the high-level meat and milk yields of Bavarian cattle, consumer its quality and taste. No wonder therefore that Bavarian beef PGI is a top export, particularly to Italy and France.
The top breed in Bavarian beef production is the mottled breed, in other words the commonly seen white-light brown spotted cattle. In 1837, Max Obermaier and Johann Fischbach from Gmund am Tegernsee brought the famous Simmenthaler from Switzerland to Miesbach in Bavaria, the present-day centre for mottled cattle breeding.
Apart from the mottled breed, other typically Bavarian breeds also developed at that time: The Allgaeuer Braunvieh, a uniformly brown to grey cow with a light edged black mouth feels right at home in the bleak mountain and alpine regions. The Franconian yellow breed is easily identifiable by its monochrome yellow to reddish coat. The meat from these animals has a high sensory meat quality, being both marbled and exceedingly tender. What is more, the meat from the Pinzgauer stands out due to its marbling, succulence and taste. The chestnut-coloured, robust cattle was among the most widespread breed in the entire territory of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Murnau-Werdenfelser cattle are one of the oldest cattle breeds in the world and have become a rarity. They are deliberately bred in Murnau and the surrounding region in Bavaria.
Beef is one of the key sources of vitamin B12. This vitamin is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system, promotes the metabolism and the formation of red blood cells. The deliberate indulgence in beef contributes to a balanced diet.
Even the best piece of beef will disappoint if it is not handled properly. So, what is the best way to keep meat at home? Tips from the expert:
- The general rule is: The beef should be touched as little as possible with the hands and always stored in a cool location. Germs and bacteria may form if exposed to the warm air. The ideal storage place: your fridge.
- Ideally, beef should be shrink-wrapped by the butcher. Once air-tight, it can be kept in the fridge for up to four weeks and allowed to mature.
- Do not cook beef immediately after cooling: Leave the meat for a few minutes so it can reach room temperature. Any germs or bacteria that might arise during this short time are destroyed during cooking.
There are countless ways to enjoy beef: Traditionally as a roast, delicious soups, from the frying pan or directly from the grill, as a hearty ingredient in salads, hot or cold as roast beef, culinary imagination in traditional and modern cuisine knows no bounds.
Regardless of whether you are new to cooking or a professional, prepared in the frying pan or on the grill, a beef filet steak turns out best if you abide by a few simple rules.
The key to preparation, both in the frying pan and on the grill, is the heat: The meat must be cooked at extremely high temperatures but shouldn't be allowed burn! The pores close and the meat remains succulent, a crust forms, the meat turns brown and delicious roast aromas are created.
When preparing beef filet, it is recommended to take smaller though thicker slices (1.5 to 3 cm) as they remain more succulent during cooking. Note: Always flavour the meat after cooking! Salt dehydrates the meat and it turns dry during cooking. Pepper and other spices and herbs may burn due to the high temperature.
Have you already tried it? Instead of using conventional salt, try using coarse sea salt, and instead of conventional black pepper, try a mix of red, green and white pepper which lends the meat a special flavour.
Cooking in the frying pan
Heat the pan to a high temperature before heating some oil in it for a brief moment and then add the meat. Sear the meat for two to three minutes on both sides but avoid burning it! The edges should also be seared for about 30 seconds. Then place the pan with the meat in the oven for five to ten minutes at a temperature of approx. 100 degrees Celsius and allow the meat to draw so the meat juice can be dispersed again.
Cooking on the BBQ
Just as with cooking in the pan, heat is critical when cooking on the grill. But be careful: A grill is much hotter than a conventional frying pan. Cooking is a lot faster but the meat can also burn just as quickly and not be palatable. Place the beef filet directly on the hot grilling grate (you don't need oil or other fat) and allow it to grill for two to three minutes on each side. After that, the meat must also be allowed to lie on the grill: Allow it to draw in aluminium foil in a lukewarm oven (approx. 100 degrees Celsius) for five to ten minutes.
Tastes vary: Some people like their steak nice and rare, others prefer it well done. So, how do I know whether my meat has been cooked? The essential thing here is: Never cut the meat during cooking as this will cause it to lose juice and become dry. The pressure test is a sure method to determine the cooking point: To do this, carefully press the meat with your index finger and note the softness or hardness of the meat. Then compare this degree of hardness with the pressure applied if you press the fingers of one hand separately together.
- Thumb and index finger = raw
The meat sags a lot: The crust is very thin, the meat underneath is still raw, the juice bloody.
- Thumb and middle finger= rare
The meat sags somewhat: The crust is crispy, the meat is delicately pink and only the middle is still raw.
- Thumbs and ring finger= medium/a point
The meat sags just a little: The crust is crispy, the meat is light pink throughout.
- Thumb and small finger = well done
The meat hardly sags at all: The piece of meat is roasted completely.