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Best Bread & Breadstuff Recipes

For Pennsylvania Germans (Dutch), baking is art. It begins with the early settlers. Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking from AlansKitchen.com They make their own yeast, use whatever kind of flour is available, and bake in primitive ovens! In those early days, bread and soup are often the only food, so the bread had to be good.  Even in those primitive conditions, they expect bread to be crisp, golden on the outside, soft, and moist inside.  Their saying is if they found holes in the bread, "the baker is in it."

Bread Recipes:

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For those Pennsylvania Germans, Friday becomes baking day.  Their folklore considers Friday a luck day. What better day to make baking day, than the lucky day.  More importantly, tradition places certain rules about bread that include:

  • You never place bread upside down on the table or the family will quarrel.

  • You never place bread on its sides or the angels will weep.

  • When a family moves, you send a bread loaf with a broom ahead to ward off homesickness.

  • When you move, you carry the dough trough into the house before anything else to assure the family of food.

  • When you start yeast, you put the names of three capable women into the pot to make sure of perfect bread.

  • You keep the homemade yeast in the "stoz crock" on the kitchen shelf and stir into the flour at night. Then the dough is set to rise. Early in the morning, you knead the dough, shape the loaves, and carry them outside to the bake oven.

During the pioneer days, the bake house is plaster masonry, with a tile-roofed shed across the front. This protects the baker and loaves from bad weather. Shelves ranges down the sides of the shed for the loaves as they came from the oven. They elevate the oven for convenience. They construct the oven with brick, and the door is iron.

Early in the morning on baking day, they build a cordwood fire inside and allow it to burn furiously until reduced to ashes. Using a "Kitch," they shovel out the ashes, and swab the oven floor with the Huddel Lumpa, and they are ready to bake.

They transfer the loaves with a paddle-shaped, long-handled Schiesel to the oven's bricks and the baking begins. Usually some wood ash stuck to the bottom crust, but they consider it a way to improve the flavor of the bread.

While the bread baked, they made their pies and cakes. When the bread came out and the loaves were cooling, the pies went in. As the heat of the oven slowly dwindle, they place trays of fruit inside to dry. By the time the bake oven cools, they fill the shelves with golden brown bread loaves, an array of sticky buns or a crumb-covered coffee cake, and many more baked goodies.

The tantalizing baking aroma pulls the children to the bake oven. There are little pie shells filled a little milk or molasses and a touch of spices produced Flitche. They devour them with zest and now it is their duty to carry the loaves, pies, and cakes into the farmhouse.

Modern kitchen stoves make baking easier. However, the amount and variety of baking done is still impressive. However, you find there is more to bread dough than just the bread to Pennsylvania Germans. With a twist here and a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon, they produce the most luscious poppy-seed rolls, cinnamon buns, "Deutsch" cakes, and the like, that you can imagine. 

Fruit-filled, crumb-topped, hot and buttery, these confections cross the border between bread and cake so wantonly that it is hard to classify. You discover "cakes" enclosed in pie crust and they are rolled or twisted. To the Pennsylvania German, the word "cake" means many things.

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