seitan is my motor



September 2014



Buchteln with three different fillings

gefüllte Buchteln |

gefüllte Buchteln |

It’s the time of the year when it’s still summer and already autumn.  If you cross the river Elbe in the morning steam rises slowly from the water. A layer of fog covers the hills but you know it’s gone in 30 minutes when the sun breaks through. The early morning and afternoon light is amazing, the sun sparkles through the trees and casts long shadows. Everything shimmers in a golden tone. But not every day is like this. Sometimes it rains for 24 hours and all you wanna do is stay in bed with a hot cup of tea. Or you start baking to warm you up and comfort you. Yeast baked goods are perfect for this. Sweet, warm, and soft rolls that you can definitely eat in bed if you don’t mind the crumbs.

Buchteln are of Eastern European and Southern German origin, they are a kind of dumpling or baked doughnut. There are stuffed and unstuffed varieties, but I like the stuffed kind most. I usually fill them with sea blackthorn jam, with is probably quite a Northern German thing to do. Sea blackthorn berries are bright orange in colour and very tart, they often grow along the coast but I have seen some here in Dresden, too. Sea buckthorn jam has a very unique texture and taste. It’s usually smooth, silky, and runny and it has a slightly tart flavour with a hint of honey, conifers, and resin. If you can get your hands on it you should try it, but any kind of jam will work here as well. In fact, I split the buchteln because I couldn’t decide what filling to use. I filled five with sea buckthorn jam, five with blackberry jam, and five with speculoos spread.

gefüllte Buchteln |


Buchteln (makes 15)

For the buchteln:
270 ml (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) soy milk
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
55 g (1/4 cup) coconut oil
420g (3 1/2 cups) flour
20g fresh yeast or 2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 /2 teaspoon salt

For the filling:
1 teaspoon of your favourite jam, nut butter, or even cookie spread per buchtel
(15 teaspoons in total)

Combine soy milk, sugar, and coconut oil in a small pot. Warm gently over low heat until the oil has melted. Let cool until luke warm.

Add the flour to a large bowl. Make a well and add the yeast (even if it’s instant). Pour the liquid mixture into the well and let sit for 10 minutes. Add salt and knead the dough well. It’s enough to knead this dough for 2-3 minutes. It should still be sticky and the gluten will continue to develop while you let it rest and rise. So don’t worry about it being sticky. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 18 x 28 cm square pan (7 x 11 inch) with parchment paper.

Knead the dough for one minute. By now it should be smooth and not stick to your hands anymore. If it still does, add a little bit of flour. Divide the dough into 15 equally sized pieces and roll each into a ball. Place under a kitchen towel, so they won’t dry out. Take one ball and shape it into a flat circle large enough to hold one teaspoon of filling.

Buchteln |

Fold over and pinch the edges, then carefully shape into a ball again. Place in the prepared pan, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. Cover with a damp kitchen towel again and let rise for another 30 minutes. bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with more sea buckthorn jam or vanilla sauce.

This entry was submitted to Yeastspotting.



September 2014



Frankfurter Kranz Doughnuts {Frankfurt Crown Doughnuts}

Frankfurter Kranz Doughnuts |

VeganMoFo and me are not getting along very well this year. Ironically I’ll have a lot of spare time next month, so maybe I should do my own private VeganMoFo then.

Last week I read a very interesting blog entry on The Span of my Hips. The Span of My Hips is a great blog about body image, feminism, health, fitness, and related topics. The article I am referring to here is about walking and about bodies. The author talks about how in general women are taught not to take up too much space. (Have you ever realised how differently most men and women sit, for example on public transport?) We walk differently, sit differently, and have very different perceptions of our bodies.

Quote from the article: “We wear shoes and skirts that limit our movement. We carry big purses (or even worse, clutches) that leave our hands full and/or our balance compromised. We walk and stand and sit in ways that minimize the space that we take up. We walk in ways that hamper our ability to shift quickly into action. We walk and stand and sit in ways that minimize our ability to feel the power of our bodies, and to defend them if needed.”

And not to mention, we always try to be tiny. How many woman you know are on a diet? How many do constantly tell you they want to lose weight? They moralise their food, separate it in good and bad. (And we seem to have an obligation to properly look after ourselves.) For many women eating cake is not a pleasure. It is something bad, something “naughty” and it makes them feel “guilty”. That cake has written “You will gain weight” all over its frosting. It’s not “clean food”, it’s not “healthy”, it’s not “whole”,  it’s full of “empty calories”. People fear that they will most definitely end up taking up too much space once they’ve eaten such an evil food.
If you ask me everybody deserves to eat cake. And I wish people would try not to scold themselves for it. You don’t have to explain yourself, you don’t have to tell me that you are definitely going to try this recipe once your diet, detox, no sugar experiment is over. Yes, it might be loaded with buttercream, yes, it doesn’t have as many nutrients as kale and you can’t juice a cake. But it’s pretty, it’s tasty, and after all it’s just cake and it’s fun to make it, decorate it, and eat it. It’s just food.

When I made a list of cakes to bake for this year’s Vegan Month of Food I also added Frankfurter Kranz to my list. It’s a layered sponge cake topped and filled with buttercream, and sprinkled with caramelised nuts. It’s wonderfully rich and sugary. But it’s also a lot of cake. And even if you like sugar and fat as much as I do it can be too much. So I made these miniature cakes in my doughnut pan instead, telling myself that this format change would result in less cake. Of course it didn’t but the doughnuts are pretty, they keep well in the fridge for a couple of days, and are a fantastic party contribution. And I bet your co-workers won’t say no to them either. I admit that they are a bit complicated to make and things might get messy with all the coconut oil based buttercream (melts easily) and the nut sprinkling. It’s a decadent cake and I don’t mean decadent in the sense of “naughty” and “empty calories”. It’s decadent because it will steal a lot of your time. But if you are like me and this is something you really like to do in your free time then it is a great project.

A note about the brittle nuts (Krokant): These skinned, finely chopped, and caramelised hazelnuts. They are available in most supermarkets here in Germany, but if you can’t get them they can be easily made at home. (I would recommend to use skinned nuts.)


Frankfurter Kranz Doughnuts (makes 12)

For the doughnuts:
180 g (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar
120 g (1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons) softened refined coconut oil
320 g (2 1/3 cups)  all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
240 ml (1 cup) soy milk
1/4 teaspoon ground vanilla

For the buttercream:
150 ml soy milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150 g (1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons) refined coconut oil, room temperature
100g (1 cup, sifted) powdered sugar

redcurrant jelly for stuffing (strawberry is fine, too.)

For decoration:
250 g (8.8 oz) hazelnut krokant (brittle nuts)
Maraschino cherries, if you can find vegan ones, canned cherries, or fresh blueberries

To make the doughnuts:
Grease a 12-hole doughnut pan and preheat the oven to 190°C (327°F).
Cream together sugar and coconut oil.
Add flour, baking powder, salt, soy milk, and ground vanilla.
Beat well until the thick batter looks smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.

To make the buttercream:
In a small pot combine soy milk and cornstarch. Whisk until the starch is dissolved, then bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil or one or two minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. Whisk in vanilla.
Beat together coconut oil and powdered sugar.
Once the cornstarch mixture has cooled to room temperature carefully beat it it into the coconut oil mixture.
Pease note that if your two mixtures are not at room temperature, everything will curdle or turn into a liquid mess.

Remove the doughnuts from the pan and cut them in half lengthwise. Spread the bottom half with a thin layer of jelly. Spread the top half with buttercream. Please note that due to the use of coconut oil the buttercream will melt easily. You can place it in the fridge for a short time if this happens. You can also place the doughnuts in the fridge as soon as you’ve spread them with buttercream.

Put the two halves together and carefully frost with buttercream. Again, if it starts to melt, place the buttercream (and maybe the doughnut you’ve been decorating) in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

Try to sprinkle as much of the krokant on the frosting as possible and place the doughnuts in the fridge while you fill  a pastry bag with a star tip with the remaining buttercream. Decorate the doughnuts and top with a cherry or blueberry. Store in the fridge but remove about 30 minutes before serving.