Saturday, April 11, 2009

Rohrnudeln (can you say that?)- - Bavarian Hot Cross Buns

I've been seeing a lot of recipes for "Hot Cross Buns" all over Food Blosphere. I got to thinking-- my D.N.A. roots are deeply embedded in Germany-- Bavaria, to be specific. I saw a similarity to the sweet dough for Hot Cross Buns (an English Easter tradition) to a German sweet dough recipe. My mother's first cousin, Ursula, introduced me to her recipe for "Rohr Nudeln" a few years ago. I asked her for the recipe, which she gave to me from memory-- in metric measurements, no less.

These are a family tradition. Called "Rohrnudel" (pronounced like ROwA-NOODEL) is a sweet yeast dough, almost brioche like.  Filled with jam, these are divine served warm with a cup of coffee or tea. They are very addicting and much easier to make than you would think.

Whenever I bake these (and I'm getting better at it, each time), my boys are really happy. They love these, and I confess, so do I! I did my best to convert her measurements, and to apply her instructions--and then I tried to make these my own way. Here's how I made them:

The ingredients are simple-- milk (I used 2%), butter (I used unsalted, this time), eggs, vanilla sugar (I make my own by sticking used vanilla beans in sugar, in a jar), yeast and flour. Oh, and jam of your choice. I had leftover peach jam from making Tyler Florence's Ribs Sauce.

Tip: I soaked my eggs in a bowl of very warm water, to bring them to room temperature.

I decided to use my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. I used the dough hook, but later realized, it's best to start with the paddle to mix first (duh). Then, switch to the dough hook...

As you can see, the dough is not super thick, as in traditional bread dough. I mixed the dough for about 3-4 minutes. What's important, to me, is to have the milk and melted butter warm (about 105F) but not screaming hot-- I don't want to kill the yeast. I use Fleishman's Rapid Rise Yeast that I buy in a jar and keep in the fridge. It's never failed me.

While the mixer is going, I turn my oven on to about 200F for a minute or two, then turn it off. I prefer to let my dough rise in the oven, free from drafts.

I just love my dough doubler. I bought it on the King Arthur Flour website. After setting this in my warm and cozy oven, I set the timer for 45 minutes...

Yes!! I love working with yeast! Now, it's time to shape the rolls. Set extra flour right by you, because the dough can be sticky to work with:

Now the real fun begins, because I'm still working on my technique for shaping rolls. Again, this dough is very soft to work with.

I added about 1/4 cup more of this flour to make it workable, gently folding and kneading with floured hands. Then I cut the dough into nine pieces. If you are afraid of butter, then cover your eyes.

I melted 3 Tbsp of melted butter with about 1/4 cup of sugar and whisked it together, on the bottom of my baking dish. Now, it's time to shape the rolls, and set them into this buttery concoction...

I flatten a piece, and put about 1 generous teaspoon of jam in the middle...

What work for me is to pull a corner of the dough, and then fold it over, and repeat this four times, then twist it closed. Place these, seam side down, into the baking dish (with the melted butter & sugar).

I am critical of my own work, so I noticed that my pieces weren't all even. That little one on the left? Mine! All mine! I covered the dough, and set my oven to 350F. Once the oven reached 350F, I popped the rolls into the oven for 30 minutes-- and cleaned up and ground my coffee beans.

Hello, my pretties! I added a little more melted butter. Why not? Plus, it makes them photograph much better.

How long do you cool these? About 15 seconds! Believe me, these smell fantastic! The only crosses on these are the ones that I learned in Catholic School-- these are sinfully good. Forgive me. The melted butter and sugar gives a wonderful crust to these. Just enjoy them. There is no way to lighten these up, calorie wise. Just enjoy them.

Baker's rights-- I get the first taste...

Ursula, I love you! I always have, since I was a baby...but this is wonderful!

Unabashedly, I went in for that small piece...the one I said was mine. Oh, this was my SECOND helping.

This Easter, I am remembering a time when my mother and I strolled through the streets of Bad Reichenhall and Salzburg Austria. The hand decorated Easter Eggs and the bakery and chocolatier displays are simply amazing. Easter has always been an important holiday for our family-- it makes me miss my mother.

My mother (right) and her first cousin, Ursula, on her confirmation day, circa 1946.

Blessed Easter to all of you!  A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.


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Monica H said...

I am making these for sure! Maybe tomorrow morning!

A blessed Easter to you too.

Mike and Melaine said...

um, lush! i would also use peach jam since it is my fave! also, i will have to wait until after Passover, since yeast is not allowed in our home during this time! shalom and love to you! and....... Happy Easter too!

unconfidentialcook said...

These look so good, and that peach jam...well...perfect!!! said...

What a wonderful post!Hope you wont mind but I'd love to direct Foodista readers to your site, just add this little widget here and you're all set to go :)Happy Easter!

Stacey Snacks said...

Austrian pastries are the BEST.
My great grandmother was from Austria.....I love the nuts, chocolate and yeast breads.

I've never been good with yeast, can you make me some?

The Caked Crusader said...

Wow - your buns are such a beautiful shape! (and I don't say that to just anyone!!!!)
These look terrific

Elyse said...

Bavaria has brought us such fabulous food influences! These hot cross buns look absolutely fabulous. I love that they hide a bit of a treat inside. How delightful!

Donna-FFW said...

This looks absolutely wonderful, a true treat, and a nice special tribute.

Maris said...

These look so good and peach jam sounds perfect. As I read blogs this morning I can't help but wonder why I DIDNT make these this year!

Nana said...

Oh My Word! Can't wait to try these for Easter. Peach jam - my favorite. Sweet bread. Heavenly!

Art By ASM @ It's In There said...

My husband is obsessed with this one strawberry preserves that we first discovered at Cracker Barrel but our grocer also sells it. So I bet I would really have one over my husband if I made this with his favorite preserves! Thank You for sharing! I am going to make these soon. I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog. I am a food blogger to. I join yours, hope you will join mine. Take Care!

Warmest Regards,

Anonymous said...

Have made these 3 times and absolutely LOVE THEM!! The only problem is that once they are cool enough to eat, I want to eat them all! INCREDIBLE!!