I have to admit that I don’t know much about Halloween. It has become very popular in Germany lately, mostly because companies and shops have been pushing it. When I grew up I only knew Halloween from US-American pop culture and I don’t think it would ever have occurred to us to celebrate it in any way. We didn’t celebrate All Hallows’ Evening, we kind of celebrated All Hallows’ Day or All Saints’ Day, which, of course, is the day after Halloween. “Kind of celebrated” means that we might have had a day off from school so we’d get the chance to go to Catholic mass. And a day later, on Reformation Day, all my Protestant friends would get a day off from school. Kind of funny that we’d remember the saints one day before the Protestants celebrate that there are no saints. Or something like that.
Saxony is the area where the Protestant Reformation started and the 31. of October is a civic holiday here. And while many bakeries sell bright Halloween treats, you will also find a local bake right next to them. It’s a yeasted roll made from a very light stollen dough, which is decorated with jam and powdered sugar. It is called Reformationsbrötchen (Reformation Roll). It’s shape is supposed to look like a Luther Rose, although a very sloppy version. I have to admit that I do not know much about this baked good, I looked up both its history and a recipe online and adapted it. Instead of zitronat (German for candied citrus peel) I used dried and ground clementine peel. And instead of regular all-purpose flour I used gelbweizenmehl (yellow wheat flour). Yellow wheat flour is something I discovered recently. According to the mill’s website this flour is an old wheat variety which has a lot of carotenoids. They give the flour a light yellow tint. It makes for very beautiful plain rolls:
I couldn’t find much information about this kind of wheat online, but from my experience I can say that although this flour makes beautifully golden baked goods, you have to get used to working with it. A dough made with yellow wheat flour will need much less water than a dough made with regular all-purpose flour. That is especially the case for unenriched yeast doughs, it seems. For the following Reformationsbroetchen I didn’t have to make a change at all. Which means that you should just go ahead and make them with regular white flour.
To make dried ground clementine peel – you can use lemons or oranges as well, but clementine peels dry much faster – simply peel a couple of clementines and let the peels dry. This works faster if you place them on your central heating or dry them in the oven at a very low temperature. Then all you’ve got to do is pulverise the peel in a coffee grinder. (Or just use a teaspoon or two of freshly grated peel.)
Wow, I just realised that this post is all over the place! You probably wanna know how the rolls are, right? They are fabulous! Lots of juicy raisins, a couple of chopped almonds, and the clementine peel make them indeed taste like a very light stollen. Plus they have fig jam in the centre and lots of powdered sugar.
- 500 g yellow wheat flour (or regular all-purpose, divided)
- 20 g fresh yeast (divided)
- 150 ml water
- 150 ml soy milk
- 100 g raisins
- 50 g sugar
- 50 g chopped blanched almonds
- 50 g margarine (softened)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried clementine peel (or fresh, or lemon zest)
- water for brushing
- 6 teaspoons red jam of choice
- powdered sugar for dusting
- To make the dough, place half of the flour in a large bowl.
- Crumble 5 grams of fresh yeast over the flour and add the water.
- Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Knead everything into a stiff dough and let rise at room temperature for 5 hours. (Or over night in the fridge. If you use the fridge, let the dough come back to room temp before proceeding.)
- Once your dough is ready, combine soy milk and raisins in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat immediately.
- Let cool to room temperature, then stir in remaining yeast and sugar.
- Stir until yeast is dissolved.
- Add the soy milk mixture, the remaining flour, chopped almonds, margarine, salt, and dried clementine peel to the prepared dough and knead until all ingredients are incorporated and the dough is smooth.
- Place in a bowl, cover, and let rest for 45 minutes.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle, about 36 x 48 cm.
- Cut the dough into 12 12×12 cm sized squares.
- Brush the corners of each square with a bit of water, then fold each corner into the centre and press down gently. Transfer the squares to two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Cover with clean kitchen towels and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Place 1/2 teaspoon of jam in the centre of each roll.
- Place 1 baking sheet in the hot oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Repeat with the other sheet. Let the rolls cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar. Serve on the same day.