ZWIEBACK – Mennonite Double Buns

| April 8, 2015 | 2 Comments

Zwieback - butter buns for supper

Zwieback – Mennonite double butter buns

All About Zwieback

Zwieback, as described by Norma Jost Voth in her book, “Mennonite Foods & Folkways from South Russia Volume 1”, are considered by the author to be the hallmark of Mennonite cooking. The history of Zwieback goes back to the early 16th century in the Netherlands. In Mennonite communities, Zwieback were always served at special occasions – weddings, funerals, family celebrations and of course at “faspa” – a light Sunday supper served with a bit of cheese and cold farmer’s sausage or ham slices. Add some homemade mustard and a special pickle to this and it is a veritable feast.

 Zwieback accompanied Mennonites in the 18th and 19th century as they moved from Europe to Russia and to the Americas. In North America, baking Zwieback was part of the Saturday ritual in many homes and became a necessary skill that mothers passed on to their daughters. Zwieback that sat properly on the plate with one small bun on top the larger were a source of pride to the young home maker. When the smaller ball of dough slid off the larger one and ended up baking on the side of the larger one, these were sometimes called “lazy Zwieback”.

Zwieback has two possible meanings – two buns baked together or “twice baked”. Zwieback left over from Saturday baking were oven roasted on the third day until they were a golden color and totally dry and crispy. Our Oma called these dunkers. The grandkids enjoyed them dunked into a cup of coffee with lots of milk. A benefit of these “twice baked” buns to the early Mennonites was that they would last indefinitely.

In America, many are familiar with the term referring to thin golden rusks or biscuits fed to babies when they are teething and to the ill to help settle their tummies when nothing else will stay down. That is not what I am referring to today. The Zwieback that I am referring to are soft, rich, buttery double buns made by pinching off one ball of dough the size of a tennis ball and then a smaller ball that is pressed into the larger ball. Some bakers will push their thumb into the top of the bottom ball into which they then press the smaller ball.

The aim is to have a Zwieback where one ball rests on top of the larger one, so that when they are pulled apart there is an indentation in the bottom half for a generous slathering of butter. When the Zwieback are large, some people cut them apart and make them into a sandwich. Why not include a basket of Zwieback at your next dinner party?

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups scalded milk

3/4 cup butter

1 tablespoon active dry  Quick-Rise yeast

1 tablespoon salt

6 – 8 cups flour

METHOD:

  1. Scald milk (heat until thermometer reaches 130°F or 55°C on kitchen thermometer). Add butter and stir until the butter is melted. Let cool until lukewarm.
  2. Mix 4 cups flour with salt and yeast (if using the Quick rise yeast) in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Using a whisk, add warm liquids and mix with the whisk or wooden spoon until mixture is fairly smooth. (This step can also be done using a large stand mixer using the paddle attachment.). The dough will be very sticky.
  4. Now switch to a wooden spoon and beat,  gradually add enough flour to make a smooth, soft dough, about 2 to 2 1/2 cups.
  5. Knead on a floured board using a bit of flour on your hands until dough is soft and smooth and elastic.( For step 4,  if using the stand mixer, change to a dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.)
  6. Place into a greased bowl. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm place until doubled in size. About 1 hour.
  7. With well buttered hands, shape into double buns and let rise under a tea towel until you have formed all the buns. Then you’re ready to bake one tray at a time at 400°F for about 15 – 20 minutes. Cool on cooling rack if family and  friends don’t steal them first.

This recipe should give about 3 doz. beautiful Zwieback.

Note: The Quick rise yeast shortens the prep time considerably (since you don’t have to start the yeast first using the traditional method). If you prefer to use traditional yeast, dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 package or tablespoon dry active yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water and set aside until the other liquids have cooled and are at room temperature. Add the liquid softened yeast to the other liquid ingredients and proceed as per the recipe.

ZWIEBACK – Mennonite Double Buns

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 3 cups scalded milk
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon active dry Quick-Rise (instant) yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 – 8 cups flour

Instructions

  1. Scald milk (heat until thermometer reaches 130°F or 55°C on kitchen thermometer). Add butter and stir until the butter is melted. Let cool until lukewarm.
  2. Mix 4 cups flour with salt and yeast (if using the Quick rise yeast) in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Using a whisk, add warm liquids and mix with the whisk or wooden spoon until mixture is fairly smooth. (This step can also be done using a large stand mixer using the paddle attachment.). The dough will be very sticky.
  4. Now switch to a wooden spoon and beat, gradually add enough flour to make a smooth, soft dough, about 2 to 2 1/2 cups.
  5. Knead on a floured board using a bit of flour on your hands until dough is soft and smooth and elastic. (If using the stand mixer, change to a dough hook for step 4 and knead for about 5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.)
  6. Place into a greased bowl. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm place until doubled in size. About 1 hour.
  7. With well-buttered hands, shape into double buns and let rise under a tea towel until you have formed all the buns. Then you’re ready to bake one tray at a time at 400°F for about 15 – 20 minutes. Cool on cooling rack... if family and friends don’t steal them first.

Notes

Note:The Quick rise or instant yeast shortens the prep time considerably (since you don’t have to start the yeast first using the traditional method). If you prefer to use traditional yeast, dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 package or 1 tablespoon dry active yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water and set aside until the other liquids have cooled and are at room temperature. Add the liquid softened yeast to the other liquid ingredients and proceed as per the recipe.

http://www.bestbakingrecipe.com/zwieback-mennonite-double-buns/

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Category: Breads & Buns

Comments (2)

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  1. Great recipe. I’ve never had luck baking breads, but do love them. These sounds wonderful.

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