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Kuchen

Source: The Settlement Cookbook, Third Edition

The German word for coffee cake, Kuchen, is found often in this section of our book because many of the recipes are of German origin, contributed by the good cooks of Milwaukee.

Since the procedures for making those yeast-dough coffee cakes resemble those of bread-making, the General Rules for Making Bread, page 66, may prove helpful.

Kuchen doughs are more easily handled if chilled. When time permits this step, decrease flour by one-quarter to one-half cup. Let rise in warm room until doubled in bulk, then cut through with knife. Put dough in greased bowl large enough to allow for rising, grease top, and cover tightly. Chill for 24 hours. When ready to use, form into any desired shapes and add desired topping. Let rise slowly until double in bulk and bake.

Plain Kuchen Dough:
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 3/4 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of nutmeg
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
6 cups flour
1 egg or yolks of 2

Dissolve the yeast in warm water. To the scalded milk add the butter, sugar, salt, a little nutmeg and lemon. When lukewarm, add 1 beaten egg or the beaten yolks of 2 eggs; stir in the yeast and only enough flour to knead. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. Cover tightly and let rise until doubled in bulk. Cut dough down, form into desired shape and bake in a moderately hot oven (375 degrees F) until browned.

Plain Coffee Kuchen:

Make Plain Kuchen Dough, above, or Rich or Sweet Kuchen Dough, below. After first rising, spread 1/2 inch thick in shallow buttered pan. Cover and let rise again. Melt 2 tablespoons butter, spread over dough, sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts or with Crumb Topping (Streusel). Bake 15 to 20 minutes in a moderate oven, 350 degrees F.

Rich Kuchen Dough:
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1 cup warm milk
4 to 5 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Cream butter and sugar; add eggs, one at a time, salt, lemon rind, the dissolved yeast, warm milk and the flour. Knead until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise in a warm place, until doubled in bulk. Toss on board, form into any desired shape; let rise again and bake in a moderately hot oven (375 degrees F) until browned.

Sweet Kuchen Dough:
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 3/4 cups lukewarm milk
8 cups flour
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk and 1 cup of the flour and set aside to rise in a warm place. Cream the butter, add the sugar and the eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition; then add salt, lemon rind, the rest of the flour and yeast mixture, alternately. Mix well and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. Cut dough down and form into any desired shapes; let rise again and bake in moderately hot oven (375 degrees F) until browned.

Coffee Cake Ring (Yeast Krantz):
Prepare Rich Kuchen Dough, above, add 1/4 cup raisins; let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk. Divide into 3 or 4 parts, roll each part into a long strand; braid the strands. Form in a circle, or twist the braid to resemble the figure 8. Place in greased baking pan. Let rise again in a warm place and bake in a moderately hot oven, 375 degrees F, 1/2 hour or until well browned. Brush with beaten egg and sugar, sprinkle with a few chopped almonds. Return to oven to brown nuts slightly.

Kuchen Roll or Ring (Gugelhopf):
Kuchen Dough, plain or sweet
1/4 cup melted butter
Sugar and cinnamon
1/4 cup seeded raisins

Roll 1/2 recipe of Kuchen Dough 1/2 inch thick on floured board; brush well with melted butter, sprinkle well with sugar, a little cinnamon, add the raisins. Begin at one end and roll into a long cylinder. Place in a well-greased long pan or round form with tube in center. Let rise until doubled in bulk and bake in a moderate oven, 350 degrees F, until thoroughly done, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Nut, Spice or Poppy Seed Filling:

In Kuchen Roll recipe, instead of the filling of sugar, cinnamon and raisins, use Almond Paste Filling, Nut Paste Filling, Walnut Filling, Gingerbread Filling, or Poppy Seed Filling.

Swedish Tea Ring:

Use one third of the recipe for Kuchen Dough. When doubled in bulk, cut down and roll into an oblong sheet 1/3 inch thick. Brush with butter. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup each of raisins and blanched, chopped almonds. Roll like jelly roll, place on a large baking pan, bring ends together and pinch to form ring. With scissors, cut through ring from edge nearly to center, making a cut every 1 1/2 inches, turning each division upward to show raisins and nuts. Let rise until doubled in bulk. Brush with milk. Sprinkle with nuts, bake 1/2 hour at 350 degrees F, until brown.

Bundt Kuchen (Kuchen Ring Dough):

Part 1:
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1 cup flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk and flour. Mix well and let rise in warm place.

Part 2:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
Grated rind of lemon
A little grated nutmeg
2 1/4 cups flour

Cream butter, add the sugar, eggs, one at a time, lemon rind, nutmeg. Add yeast sponge (Part 1), and remaining flour. Grease a fluted pan with center tube (a Bundt form) with soft butter. Decorate bottom with blanched almonds. Place dough in pan, let rise until very light, bake 45 to 60 minutes in a moderate oven (350 degrees F).

Rich Bundt Kuchen:
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
4 cups flour
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
8 eggs, separated
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1/8 teaspoon salt

Proceed as in Bundt Kuchen, above, but separate the eggs and add the beaten whites last.

Icebox Bundt Kuchen

Part 1:
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1 cup flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk and flour. Mix well and let rise in warm place.

Part 2:
1 cup butter
12 cups granulated sugar
Grated rind of 1 lemon
3 yolks of eggs
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour

Cream butter, add sugar. Add grated lemon rind, salt and the egg yolks, one at a time. Beat until very light. Gradually add the ingredients that have been prepared in Part 1, alternately with the flour. Cover, place in refrigerator overnight. Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll 1/2-inch thick. Spread with Almond Paste, below.

Part 3 - Almond paste Filling:
3 egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup grated almonds
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat egg whites stiff; add sugar, almonds and cinnamon. After spreading on dough, above, roll like jellyroll. Work quickly to keep dough cool. Place in greased Bundt form. Let rise 3 to 4 hours in a cool place. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees F.

Almond Paste Filling:
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup almonds, blanched
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1 egg, slightly beaten

Cream butter and sugar, add grated almonds, lemon rind and only enough egg to make a paste.

Nut Paste Filling:
3 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups grated nuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat egg whites stiff; add sugar gradually. Fold in the nuts and vanilla extract.

Walnut Filling:
2 cups grated walnuts
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup syrup or honey

Mix nuts and sugar, add enough syrup or honey to make a paste.

Gingerbread Filling:
5 1/2 cups flour
2 cups molasses
2 tablespoons butter or goose fat
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup warm water

Place flour in bowl; make cavity in center. Add molasses, butter or goose fat and baking soda dissolved in the warm water. Mix well and beat thoroughly about 20 minutes. Pour into buttered bread pans and bake in a moderately hot oven, 400 degrees F, about 1 hour. Will keep for months in a dry place.

When dry, grate and use as a filling for Spice Kuchen.

Poppy Seed Filling:
1 cup black poppy seed
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey or syrup
1/2 cup chopped almonds
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon chopped citron
1/4 cup seedless raisins
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tart apple, grated

Grind poppy seed and boil with milk and all other ingredients but apple, until thick. If not sweet enough, add more sugar. When cool, add apple or 1/4 cup currant or raspberry jelly or jam.

Prune Filling for Pie or Kuchen:
1 pound prunes, boiled
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Stone and rub boiled prunes through colander. Mix well with juice, sugar and lemon. Use to fill turnovers (Kipfel) or coffee cakes, or as a filling for two-crust or open-faced pies.

Crumb Topping (Streusel):
1/2 cup flour
2 to 4 tablespoons butter
5 or 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Almonds

Mix first 4 ingredients by rubbing well with the finger tips, until small crumbs are formed. Add a few chopped or pounded almonds. Sprinkle over any coffee cake that has been brushed with melted butter.

Nut Custard Glaze:
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons cream
Sugar and cinnamon
2 tablespoons almonds, sliced or ground

Beat the yolk slightly, add the cream, mix well, spread over top of Kuchen, sprinkle thickly with sugar and cinnamon, and add the almonds. Let rise and bake. Use also with fruit kuchen, dripping it over the fresh fruit before baking.

Custard Glaze:
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk or cream

Mix well and use as above.

Apricot Glaze:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 pound dried apricots
1 cup water

Add sugar to apricots and water and cook gently until tender and thick. Strain through fine sieve. Bottle while hot. When ready to use, dilute with water. Use to glaze coffee cakes, or to glaze open fruit pies or tarts.

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