Sunday bake off

I had half a cube of fresh yeast left from my Faschtewäje and since working with yeast is a piece of cake to me now, I thought I’d save myself the trip to the local bakery this morning. Instead I turned to Rachel Allen’s book ‘Bake’ for white yeast bread. You can find the recipe here.
It was really fun watching the yeast rise at all the different stages.
From this:

To this gooey mess:

To a proper dough:


And rising:

Make your rolls in all shapes and sizes and leave to rise again.

Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with toppings of your choice. I made rolls with flaxseed, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and a cinnamon sugar mix. That’s what they look like before baking:

And this after 20-25 minutes in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius:

Cinnemony loveliness!

And airy & light, too. I am chuffed to bits!




Oh boy oh boy, had I read that today’s recipe properly, I would not have done it in the first place!
Today’s recipe for Faschtewäje, a type of small bread typical for the Basel carnival, had me work on a yeast dough for bloody ages! It involves a total of 3h20 of resting the dough and in between you have to work it in different ways.
I won’t give you this recipe, it’s torture! There must be an easier one on the Internet somewhere. Just google Fastenwähe or Faschtewäje (see for example this recipe).
Mine started off with this (resting 20 minutes):

Turned into this:

Then this (resting one hour):

Were shaped into oval shaped buns and put in the fridge to rest for 1 hour 30 minutes:

Then shaped into the typical Faschtewäje form (and off resting another 30 minutes):

Brush with a beaten egg mix, sprinkle with caraway seeds and off in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 15 to 20 minutes.

Yummy Faschtewäje. Lots of work but worth the effort (once a year, max)!


Three Kings – or the attempt to conquer the beast!

Tomorrow is January 6, known as Epiphany or in Switzerland the Three Kings’ Day. January 6 is a Christian feast day when we celebrate the revelation of God as a human being in Jesus Christ. In Switzerland this day is celebrated with a Three Kings’ Cake. A bread made from yeast dough containing a hidden symbol of the baby Jesus, like a small plastic king or queen (in the store bought versions) or other things such as a small coin (in my Dad’s version). Whoever gets that slice of cake is said to be specially blessed. The Three Kings’ Cakes you buy in the shops include a paper crown.

If you have read some of my earlier blog posts you will have noticed that I have what must be described as a yeast-phobia. Maybe I am too impatient or read instructions not carefully enough but working with yeast does not work for me. All I get is flat, doughy breads and cakes. Apparently I am not the only one because when you Google “yeast phobic” you get over seven hundred thousand entries….

For me it’s time to conquer this phobia once and for all. But I cannot tackle the beast on my own. I need an experienced Three King’s Cake baker to help me out. And that’s how I ended up in my parents’ kitchen with my Dad. I have to admit that he will do most of the work and I will be a watchful bystander, taking notes and pictures.

The recipe we are using is from Betty Bossi, by their own description “the heart and soul of Swiss cooking for over 50 years”. I grew up with Betty Bossi cookbooks and love buying their kitchen supplies and gadgets, so I am not going to argue with that. The recipe is available on the Betty Bossi website (in German): ThreeKingsCake_Betty Bossi.

You need 500g plain flour, 1.5 teaspoons of salt, 3 tablespoons of sugar, half a cube of fresh yeast, which you all mix together in a bowl. Add 60g butter (soft), rind of half a lemon, 4 tablespoons of sultanas (we leave those out because my mom goes into projectile vomiting mode if she tastes sultanas) and 3dl of lukewarm milk. Knead for approx. 10 minutes then cover and leave to rise for 2 hours at room temperature.

Oh and I realized I need one of those kitchen machines. Badly!

Leave to rest.

Divide the dough to get 8 smaller and one larger portion. Form balls and arrange the largest in the middle and the 8 small ones around it. Oh and don’t forget to hide your baby Jesus symbol in one of the balls. Leave again for approx. 30 minutes. Brush with egg mixture (1 beaten egg) and sprinkle with decorating sugar.

Then off into the oven (preheated to 180°) for 30 minutes.

It is best eaten fresh but we will wait until tomorrow morning before we will eat it for breakfast. In the meantime I will spend the night dreaming that I will be queen for a day tomorrow. And you won’t see the end result until tomorrow because while the Three Kings’ Cake is baking in the oven I am off to watch the Three Kings with George Clooney.

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