Aah, our final entry of Bread Week. What did you think? Did you try any of them yet? Any catch your eye? I'd love to hear what you thought. And don't forget, Pancake Week is coming up in March (always the week before Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday.)
So here is Heffen Kranz. It tied the Dessert Club first vote, with the Irish Spelt and Chocolate Hazelnut. I had never heard of this German specialty before so I don't have much to say about it. Except it was really good!
Dessert Club member J.M. says, "Make sure the read the "notes" under the Heffen Kranz bread. This is a heritage recipe that they were trying to re-create, so the notes are helpful."
Heffen Kranz (print recipe)
4 teaspoons yeast (2 packs)
Milk, about 1 pint or more
1 tablespoon sugar
3 pounds flour
1/2 pound unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons anise seed
Melted butter, to taste
Sugar, to taste
Cinnamon, to taste
Chopped nuts, to taste
1. Mix yeast in ½ cup warm milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Place flour in a bowl and create a well in center and fill with milk-yeast mixture; set aside until light (forms sponge-like substance). Cream together butter and sugar; add eggs 1 at a time; add salt. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture, add remaining milk and anise seed and beat well (it will be a sticky dough). Let rise (about 1 hour, won't rise much), beat down and let rise again (about 1 hour, won't rise much).
2. Divide dough in half (use buttered hands). Divide each half into 3 parts, braid and place each loaf on large greased cookie sheet (it will almost double in size as it bakes). Let rise 25 minutes. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 25 minutes. Test by inserting toothpick, it'll come out clean when done (loaves will be dark).
Yields 2 loaves, each will serve about 10. Serve with whipped butter.
Tester's notes: The 3 pounds of flour called for is about 11¼ cups. Our tester found that adding only ½ cup milk to so much flour doesn't make a "sponge-like substance," but the dough will work fine once you add the creamed butter and sugar and the rest of the milk.
Whipped Butter for Heffen Kranz
¼ pound butter, room temperature
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon cream or full milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, fresh ground
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Whip together butter and sugar until light (add drops of cream if needed). Add vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix.Recipe from Dessert Club member J.M.