There are nearly no good sides of being ill. But the flu that put me out of order beginning of December let me discover this terrific recipe and that is definitively a good thing. As I was dozing on the sofa the TV show “hier und heute” was running on TV. And with amusement – and bit of envy – I saw how the moderator nibbled one after the other of the beautiful cinnamon stars. His delighted face told more than hundreds of words how delicious they were- And so I put the recipe directly on my mental “to bake” list for Christmas. The recipe from Marcel Seeger was already downloaded and saved.
This weekend I was finally fit enough for baking cookies. And this recipe was on position one for testing. And after I eat the first cookie I knew why the moderator was so delighted. They are gorgeous, a new keep for my favourite list!
Like each year at this day in November I want to add a “can you believe this” when I write down the age of this blog. With now nine years the blog feels sometime like a mammoth in a modern time. And just like Micha I sometimes miss the gone days when the blog world was small and young and mainly add-free. I miss the times when every blog had its own blog roll. Past then I could spent hours surfing through the favourite blogs from other bloggers, finding new favourites while I travel through the sites. Nowadays my journeys are often interrupted as many blogs does not share their favourites anymore. Why I can’t understand but I moan about the lost connections and interactions. And I’m more then happy when I find a blog that stands out from the mass and which has a blogroll of its own. Then I will add it to may blogroll, for which I still care a lot. I keep an eye on it so it contains only active blogs (inactive but good blogs can be found have their own special blogroll). You can the blogroll on the left side when you scroll down a bit.
But enough from nostalgia! Another thing that I care a lot for is my growing collection of traditional bread recipes. I like the stories and memories connected with this breads. And so I continue to collect what I can found. There are so many little gems just waiting to be discovered! If you know one – please share the description with me!
A good example for connected stories is the Bertesgadener Stuck. It is a bread which stems from the traditional bread sharing with poor ones at All Souls day which can be found in many regions of south germany. The local custom in Berchtsgarden of “Stuck Betteln” (asking for stuck rolls) was alive until the 1920s. Around this time this custom was banned. But the stuck recipe was kept alive as the bakeries started to sell the rolls from September till Santa Claus day.
An intersting point of the recipe is fact that the unsweetened dough is well seasoned with cinnamon, clove and sometimes other spices. I added a bit of bread spice (coriander, caraway, fennel) but only so much to create a deepness in flavour. The sweetness stems from the added Zante currants. And once again the bread contains some rye – I find it interesting how many traditional sweet breads in Germany exists which are partly made with rye flour!
Since I discovered the Kieler Semmel for me, they rank very high on my personal favourite roll list. I love their tender crumb and the crisp buttery-salty crust with the slight hint of cinnamon. And so it was an easy decision what recipe I would bake at my course at the Brotzeit.
But the recipe vary a bit form the two recipes already published on the Blog: this time I use poolish as preferment and I had to use more yeast to compensate the short time window in the course. But I added a variant for more time below.
The dough of this rolls is rather firm and can be formed round easily. After forming the rolls need to be rubbed in a butter mix which works some fat into the seam. This prevents the seam from sticking and so the rolls open nicely in the oven. To get enough butter in the seam needs a bit of practice – and this can only be gained by practice 😉
Spelt is a favourite and so I was regulary asked if my Stollen can be baked with spelt flour, too. I answered “theoretically yes” and decided to bake a Stollen with spelt flour instead of wheat, too. I like to have a practical background for those answers.
The dough contains only minimal changes to the regular recipe: I used a mixture of sultanas and currants instead of raisins and I reduced the amount of yeast, too. And I replaced the wheat flour with spelt flour, of course.
After three long weeks of resting time we cut the spelt stollen for the first Advent. And it was as moist and mellow as a good stollen has to be. Maybe it is a bit more mellow then the normal recipe, but that was the only difference I recognize. The different spices are stronger then the slight spelt flavour and I doubt that I could tell the spelt and wheat stollen apart when blind testing. And so I can tell now with own experience: Yes, you can bake a spelt stollen!
I met Honigreingerl some time ago and they trigger my “Have to bake” reflex of immediately. They are small Austrian pastries which are filled with a honey and cinnamon mixture. In their crumb you can find many small openings filled with the flavour of honey and cinnamon.
Original the Honigreingerl are baked in a slightly higher form, but using a muffin tin and brioche forms work good as well. The dough is made with ten percent spelt flour like I used it in the Butterzopf recipe, as this makes rolling the dough easier. The other components of the dough are the “usual suspects”: Biga, some egg and butter – a guaranty for a fluffy crumb and good flavour. And so are my homemade Honigreingerl: a golden crust and a very fluffy crumb filled with the flavours of honey and cinnamon – a divine treat!
The first version of the Kieler Semmel was already catapulted into the first ranks of my personal best of list of blog recipes. And I planed directly to make a second version with preferment. And took me a while to come back to this plan but finally I bake them. I choose a preferment which enhance the gluten structure, a sweet starter or its cousin, which is made with commercial yeast – a Biga. And I opted for diastatic malt as I wanted to make the crust very crisp. This makes the recipe unsuitable for a cold overnight proof – a reason why I always shied away from diastatic malt before – a mistake as I knew now! The crust gains a lot through the enzymatic processes due to the malt, it is crisp but easier to bite at the same time. I get a better volume and fluffiger crust then the last time, too.
Helga, a reader from Kiel, suggested some changes in the form and gave me some advices on the intensity of the cinnamon flavour. I decided to use cylon cinnamon, which has a more subtle and complex flavour then the warm, but more acerbic and blunt flavour of Cassia. I added one gramm to the butter which yields a slight cinnamon note. If you prefer a stronger cinnamon taste I would double this amount.
At the end, I have not to emphasise that I’m in love with this rolls, have I? They are maybe the most perfect rolls I bake (until now)!
When Petra bake Jodekager last year, I realized that it has been ages since I bake the very similar Brune Kager. I couldn’t find my old recipe and so I read different swedish recipes to reconstruct it according to my memory. It is a kind of gingerbread which is made with a light syrup. And as I read the labeling of this light syrup in the supermarket some weeks ago and learned that is just made of glucose and invert syrup, I went directly for my homemade Invert syrup instead. This knowledge is really useful as I have always invert syrup in the pantry for making ice cream!
The Brune Kager made with Invert syrup turned out as good as I had them in my memory: thin, crisp and so delicious!
Christmas time can be a hectic time as well. To makes things easier, I like to have desserts that can be prepared in advance. Like this little mousse cakes, which can be prepared one week before time and then wait patiently in the fridge for their great day. You just have to remember the night before to take them from the freezer and defrost them in the fridge over night. The next day, they just have to get a little cocoa dusting and their dried apple star decoration and they are ready to be served.
With almond sponge, Cinnamon Mousse and a core of apple curd they are light and delicious end for any festive meal during Christmas time! And if you like to keep life even more simple, then skip the sponge and fill the mousse in little glases. This tealight holders have the perfect size!
My second contribution for the pumpkin buffet was a pumpkin ice cream. I used the recipe for gorgeous Marzipan ice cream which I served last Christmas as blue print. And like this ice cream the pumpkin ice cream is very creamy and keeps this creaminess even in the fridge. It is the Invert syrup, which makes it is soft. To balance the sweetness of the pumkin, I added a little bit of buttermilk. The mixture of spices is similar to pumpkin pie spice, but with some tonka bean to add a touch of special. The ice cream fits well into the Christmas time with its flavour of cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Its bright yellow brings a bit of sunshine into the dark, grey days!
I have to warn you: the next posts will be sweet ones! It is partly due to the Christmas time and partly due to sweet things I made for two Ph.d. defence parties in the institute. And I will start with one of those recipes. It was part of the pumpkin buffet we whipped up for one of my former colleagues who is a pumpkin lover. This year, writing and defending her thesis kept her away from enjoying the pumpkin season and so we decided to cook everything with pumpkin for her. We had baked pumpkin, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie and a savory pumpkin tart and I made pumpkin ice cream and baked Pumpkin chocolate cake and pumpkin fritters for her.
The pumpkin fritters are very much my own style as I worked with yeast instead of baking powder. A bit of sourdough gives them a deeper flavour, but this is optional. Turned either in powdered sugar or cinnamon and sugar they taste best when still warm. But even the next day they are still a treat!