Monday, August 9, 2010

The 1925 Project: Wonder Dough

Back: Käse Kuchen, front: Streusel Coffee Cake

This is supposed to be a project for interwar recipes, but I'm going to fudge it a bit because my hot roll recipe comes from the 1950 edition of Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook. However, there are very similar recipes in my older cookbooks. I just prefer the layout and instructions in my copy of Betty Crocker.

This recipe really is for a wonder dough. You can, naturally, make hot rolls, but you can also make coffee cakes, cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, Stollen, Hot Cross Buns and more from the exact same recipe. This week I used 1/2 of the recipe to make 2 dozen rolls, 1/4 of the recipe to make a Streusel Coffee Cake and the remaining 1/4 for a Käse Kuchen, which is like a big cheese Danish. It's as much work to make half recipes as whole recipes, so I like to get a good return on my investment.

I make my Sweet Dough in the bread machine, but I've provided instructions for those of you without one.

Sweet Dough

1/2 cup water, around 100º Fahrenheit
4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 cups milk, around 100º Fahrenheit
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (approx.)

Bloom the yeast in the warm water for about 5 minutes, then pour into a large mixing bowl with the milk, sugar and salt. Stir to combine. Mix in the eggs and butter then add the flour, in two parts, stirring after each addition.

Turn out the dough and knead (adding flour if needed) until the dough feels like a baby's bottom (the best indicator--no kidding). Place in a greased bowl and cover until doubled (usually at least 1 1/2 hours).

After the dough has doubled, punch down the dough and let it rise, covered, until almost doubled again (about 30 to 45 minutes).

Hot Rolls
for 2 dozen

1/2 recipe Sweet Dough
approx. 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

After second rising, evenly divide the dough into 24 balls. Roll each ball in the flour to lightly coat. Fill two standard-sized, greased muffin tins with the dough and leave to rest, covered, around 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425º. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until rolls are nicely browned.

For a photo, please stay tuned for my next post, where I'll discuss two fried-chicken supper menus.

Streusel Coffee Cake
makes 8 slices

1/4 recipe Sweet Dough
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter, diced
1/2 cup chopped pecans

After the second rising, mix the raisins (if using) into the dough. Press the dough into a well-greased 8" circular cake tin. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in the butter as you would to make a pie crust then stir in the pecans. Sprinkle this mixture on top of the dough, cover and let rest about 25 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400º. Bake approximately 25 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Cool in the tin on a rack for about 10 minutes, then cool directly on the rack.

Käse Kuchen
makes 8 slices

1/4 recipe Sweet Dough
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup farmers cheese, neufchâtel, drained cottage cheese or ricotta (or other soft, unripened cheese)
1 cup prunes, soaked in boiling water then chopped
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

After the second rising, press the dough into a well-greased 8" cake tin. Set aside.

Stir together the 1/3 cup sugar, flour, farmers cheese, prunes and pecans. Make an indention in the dough (leaving a border) and spread the mixture into it. Combine the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon then sprinkle over the top. Cover and rest around 25 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400º. Bake approximately 25 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Cool in the tin on a rack for about 10 minutes, then cool directly on the rack.
More 1925 music:
"Say Arabella (What's a Fella to Do)" by George Olsen & His Orchestra with Billy Murray

Available at The Internet Archive

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Baking When You're Not "in the Money"

In this recipe (frosting included!) from 1933, I only used one egg and 5 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Because I buy organic butter and organic free-range eggs, this helps with my grocery bills!

Creole Cake

adapted from All About Home Baking (General Foods Corporation, 1933)

serves 12

1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups cake flour*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon hot cocoa mix**
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
about 3 1/2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee (I just refrigerate the coffee that's left after breakfast.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8x8x2 cake tin with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar, then add the egg and mix well. Alternate adding the flour and milk, beating after each addition. Add about 1/3 of each at a time. You can add the baking powder and salt with the flour and the vanilla with the milk. Pour batter into the cake tin and level out with a spatula. Bake 45 to 50 minutes in the middle of the oven until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cake in its pan for approximately 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cake is absolutely completely cool, mix up the frosting by creaming the butter and slowly adding the powdered sugar. Add the hot cocoa mix and salt and beat. Next, add the vanilla and beat again. Add coffee until the frosting is a good spreading consistency. Using your offset spatula, spread frosting over the top of the cake. Enjoy!

*This is the scoop method. The original recipe asks for 2 cups sifted cake flour. For more information, please refer to this previous post.

**Use a quality cocoa mix (like Ghirardelli or Godiva). Even though there is only a tablespoon of it in the frosting, it will be very noticeable!

Also from 1933, when many in America believed the economy was returning to a pre-Depression "normal":